In a year when Kawasaki relocated its entire U.S. HQ, celebrated the AMA Pro Flat Track titles (GN1 and GN2), had the editors at Field & Stream choose MULE PRO FX as their Best Of The Best, among a host of other accolades, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) also celebrated 50 years of operation in America.
Fittingly the 50th party coincided with an open house just before its dealer meeting in Palm Springs last fall, so MPN crashed the party and scarfed the ice cream and birthday cake!
Kawasaki sold its former SoCal facility to Bixby Land Co. in Irvine for just under $44.3 million (roughly $168 per square foot) and signed a 15-year lease on a 200,000-square-foot space. A far cry from the former meat warehouse in Chicago where American Kawasaki Motorcycle Corp. was originally founded in March 1966. Today, KMC’s annual revenue tops $1.6 billion and there are approximately 480 employees and more than 1,500 dealers (including Jet Ski, Outdoor Power Equipment and powersports retailers).
While it was great to see the heritage proudly on display in the lobby (including the historic fridge from the old race shop), the big news for dealers came after the party as KMC announced a new consumer financing relationship with Citi Retail Services. The agreement announced at the dealer meeting gives KMC dealers another financing option for their customers and officially kicks off February 1.
“Citi Retail Services will be a great fit for Kawasaki,” explains Senior VP, Sales Operations, Bill Jenkins. “This new revolving credit program offers Kawasaki dealers multiple options for financing customers on all Kawasaki powersports products, accessories and apparel. We are confident that with the combined strengths of Kawasaki’s industry leading products and Citi’s vast consumer retail finance expertise, our dealers will experience retail success.”
In addition to the new financing options, Kawasaki is looking to enhance the retail experience with the Kawasaki Enhanced Showroom Elements (KESE). “We’re thrilled about this new program as it’s an excellent way to unify our dealers and help to bring the excitement of powersports inside the showroom,” says Jenkins. “We’re confident this initiative will help drive sales and get more people enjoying all of the exciting new products Kawasaki has to offer.”
KESE creates a distinct branded area within dealers’ showrooms; it allows customers to easily identify and locate Kawasaki products and their respective segments on the floor. It also quickly informs and educates customers on Kawasaki products. The KESE look also matches the style and design elements of the new HQ.
Here’s to another 50 years for the Green Team!