Triumph’s 2009 North America Sales Top 10,000
At a conference in Orlando, Fla., Triumph Motorcycles told dealers the company sold more than 10,000 units in 2009 in North America, the result of what it says is one of the smallest sales declines among OEMs in a market that shrank nearly 40 percent.
“There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about Triumph’s motorcycles and what the brand represents,” says dealer and chairman of Triumph’s U.S. Dealer Council Mike Hendry. “Triumph has shown us a clear and exciting growth strategy for the next three to five years that is energizing the dealer body.
In November Triumph organized a dealer council to optimize sales and service for its more than 170 dealers nationwide.
“The Dealer Council that Triumph recently initiated is providing real-time market feedback and a great opportunity for the dealer body to advise on local market knowledge, allowing Triumph to better implement these future plans,” Hendry adds. “The Triumph dealers are all really excited about what the future holds this is our time.”
The storied marquee is also expecting the sale of its 100,000th unit since returning to the North American market in 1995; that year, the company sold just 1,332 units in North America. The company added 23 dealers to its North American network in 2009.
Yamaha Canada Names New President
Yamaha Motor Canada Ltd. (YMCA) has named Hank Fujita president. Most recently, Fujita served as manager of corporate planning at Yamaha Motor Company; before that, Fujita served as assistant to the president, sales and marketing at YMCA.
“I am very excited to be back in Canada,” Fujita says. “Yamaha Motor Canada is full of talented and enthusiastic people, and I look forward to working with them and their dealer network to maintain our position as leaders in the Canadian motorsports and marine industries.”
Fujita is replacing Tom Osugi as president. Osugi is returning to Japan to serve as general manager of overseas marketing within Yamaha’s Parts and Accessories Division; he spent five years at YMCA.
“I very much enjoyed my time in Canada,” Osugi says. “I developed great relationships, met some wonderful, hard working Yamaha dealers and was part of some record breaking sales years. But now it is time for me to make a change. My experience in Canada is one that I will never forget.”
Drag Names New Sales Rep
Benny Harwell is Drag Specialties’ new regional sales representative for the Pacific Northwest. Harwell has spent more than four years with Drag representing the distributor in San Francisco’s Bay Area.
Ridley Motorcycles Files for Bankruptcy, Assets Purchased by Investor
After a Dec. 29 Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing on the part of Ridley Motorcycle Company (RMC), its manufacturing plant, parts and intellectual property were acquired Feb. 16 by 2 Wheel Ventures LLC, according to court records and a press release.
2 Wheel Ventures has acquired “all necessary intellectual property rights, tooling/fixtures, parts inventory and manufacturing management software/hardware systems,” along with key RMC personnel, according to the release.
RMC co-founder Jay Ridley attributed his company’s troubles to high debt leverage. According to bankruptcy trustee Lyle Nelson, Ridley reported assets of about $400,000 and total debt of about $2.5 million.
“The past two years have been extremely challenging for our industry,” says Ridley. “With the rapid growth Ridley was experiencing in 2005, 2006, and 2007, the company over leveraged itself in order to meet demand for its products. When the credit market began to crash in 2008 it was almost impossible for the company to overcome its debts.”
The two companies have been partners since 2007 when RMC licensed 2 Wheel Ventures, an intellectual property investment fund, to market its apparel line; in 2009 the agreement expanded to include RMC’s parts and technical help.
Ridley said 2 Wheel Ventures will bring to market products RMC was not able to introduce, according to the Feb. 22 release.
“The Ridley brand stands for non-traditional motorcycle innovation,” he says. “Not only was Ridley focused on the models it became famous for, but there are also hundreds of innovations that were never introduced to the market. Our intentions are to finalize development on those technologies and bring them to market while continuing to service and support the thousands of Ridley motorcycles already on the road.”
2 Wheel Ventures will continue to reorganize RMC’s assets and provide parts, reconditioned pre-owned Ridley motorcycles and technical service to Ridley owners, dealers and service centers. 2 Wheel Ventures is uncertain whether it will resume production of Ridley motorcycles.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy calls for liquidation of the debtor’s nonexempt property and the distribution of proceeds to creditors.
AMA Pushes Against Monument Designation
The AMA objects to an Obama Administration preliminary plan to designate about 13 million acres of public land as National Monuments through unilateral action within the Department of Interior (DOI), action that could cost taxpayers about $2.4 billion dollars.
The AMA found the plans in an internal government draft not intended for public release.
“As the nation’s largest organization advocating for the rights of America’s estimated 20 million motorcyclists, the AMA is delivering the message that any measure to restrict our right to recreate responsibly on public land must be considered in the light of day,” says AMA vice president for government relations Ed Moreland. “It is government’s responsibility to protect our lands for the people, not from the people, and that requires an open and fair venue for public discourse.”
Areas in the plan include Utah’s San Rafael Swell, Montana’s Northern Prairie and Nevada’s Heart of the Great Basin, among several others. Protection of unique flora, fauna, natural history and ancient landmarks, among others, are cited as reasons to protect the areas.
All of the acreage would be in the West. Other affected states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
Yamaha to Increase U.S. ATV Production
Looking to increase responsiveness to market needs in a nation that has the highest demand for ATVs, Yamaha Motor Co. will increase its U.S. ATV production by transferring capacity from Japan, according to a Yamaha release.
With the exception of a few ATV models, virtually all of Yamaha’s ATV production will be moved to Newnan, Ga., and will be overseen by its U.S. subsidiary with headquarters also in Newnan. The move is scheduled to begin in early 2011 and be completed by 2013. Yamaha believes the move will also “optimize manufacturing capacity and improve productivity.”
A Yamaha representative could not provide an estimate of how many jobs the move will create in Newnan, though he did say it will “have a positive impact on the local economic community.”
U.S.-based Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America currently produces ATVs with 250 to 421 cc engines and will continue to manufacture golf cars, personal watercraft and SxS vehicles. The production transfer will increase the facility’s lineup to include ATVs with up to 700 cc engines.
“We are pleased to have this additional ATV production transitioning to . . . Newnan, Ga.,” says Mike Martinez, Yamaha’s U.S. general manager of ATV and SxS operations. “We expect this transition to have a positive impact on the local economic community and provide worldwide recognition for our state-of-the-art facility and its ability to produce durable and reliable off-road vehicles.”
LeoVince Teams with Hookit.com and Shopatron
LeoVince USA has launched an online rider sponsorship program on Hookit.com that will utilize Shopatron to send local racers and their dollars back into dealerships.
Hookit.com, formerly known as SponsorHouse and Loop’d, is a social networking site for action sports athletes. It specializes in linking members with sponsorship opportunities, brand insider programs, development and product deals, according to its website.
LeoVince is offering its Corsa II and Corsa III amateur sponsorships to riders through Hookit.com. Sponsorship orders will be placed through Shopatron, allowing dealers to recapture these normally lost sales. LeoVince says it is the first manufacturer to have sponsorship orders placed through Shopatron.
“Since sponsorships are typically lost revenue for dealers, it was the perfect opportunity to again show ‘We’re on your side’ is more than a motto to us; it is an operational statement,” says Tim Calhoun, executive vice president of LeoVince.
“Brands have traditionally pulled sponsored sales out of the retail channel and fulfilled them directly,” says Mark Grondin, senior vice president of marketing for Shopatron. “Using our unique retail-integration model, the sales can be made by the brand and transferred to retailers who can fulfill them and up-sell/cross-sell for additional revenue. With Hookit integrated, we can drive sponsored sales from hundreds of thousands of athletes directly to their local dealer. This is a win for all parties involved, including the athletes.”
Manufacturers who offer online sales can integrate Shopatron to direct these sales to dealers. After a customer “checks out” a sale on a manufacturer’s site, Shopatron sends the order to the nearest dealer with that product in stock for order fulfillment. The order is either shipped or picked up in-store, and dealers can then engage the customer for up-sells and future service, for example.
To learn more about Shopatron, visit ecommerce.shopatron.com.
MIC Launches Multimedia Campaign to ‘Stop the Ban’
The Motorcycle Industry Council has launched a website, www.StopTheBanNow.com, to assist powersport enthusiasts in voicing support of an amendment that would exclude youth ATVs and motorcycles from lead content laws.
At the site, users can join the ‘Stop the Ban’ texting campaign, send pre-written letters to Congress, e-mail Congress, call representatives or make a video to send to Congress.
MIC hopes to stop the ban through a categorical exemption of youth ATVs and motorcycles from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act through House Resolution 1587, or grant the Consumer Product Safety Commission authority to do so.
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Custom Chrome Preparing for 2010 Push
Distributor Custom Chrome (CC) kicked off Easyriders’ 2010 V-Twin Expo with a bang, unveiling three custom bikes from top industry builders and letting the crowd know of its ambitious 2010 plans.
CC president and CEO Holger Mohr told gatherers of the return of his company’s national dealer show set for March 12-14 in Morgan Hill, Calif., for which there are about 70 vendors signed up. This national show follows years when CC held regional shows. Mohr also detailed CC’s international ambitions; CC Europe will hold a dealer show March 27-28 in Mainz, Germany, and Mohr says his company is the only distributor with dedicated offices in Asia.
Mohr also helped debut three custom bikes the company had made for the show. The showstopper turned out to be a reinforced stainless steel-design by Kris Krome Cycles made for NHRA’s Tony Schumacher. “Custom Chrome’s been bringing the new products to the market, and we wanted to be a part of that,” Krome said.
For more photos from 2010 V-Twin Expo, visit tiny.cc/pBOWv.
S&S Cycle Takes New Upgrades Approach
At the 2010 V-Twin Expo, S&S Cycles reps recommended dealers concentrate on helping customers fix the bike they have and take an incremental approach to upgrades.
The engine company’s Bruce Tessmer stressed dealers offer easy-to-install parts when helping fix units to keep cost at a minimum. As for upgrade packages, Tessmer said dealers should remain conscious of the customer’s budget and offered four S&S packages dealers might present to customers.
First in its suggested upgrade package are bolt-on intake and exhaust parts, which Tessmer said offer good improved performance for low cost. Next, customers could add custom cams and push rods, which are both relatively easy to install, he said. If customers have a larger budget, S&S big bore kits can boost engine size to 97 or 106 cubic inches for $725. If a customer wants even more, S&S now offers CNC porting for ’99 and up big twins, with an approximate two-week turnaround.
Insiders Agree Customer Service is Tops in Marketing
With dealers everywhere searching for ways to better market their business, insiders at the 2010 V-Twin Expo agreed top-notch customer service is paramount for gaining and retaining customers.
It’s obvious customer service is required to retain customers, however, Randy Aaron of San Diego-based Cycle Visions said dealers must remember word-of-mouth marketing is crucial to gaining customers, especially during a tough economy. “When someone wants to get their Harley fixed, they don’t look in the phone book they ask their buddies” where one can expect valuable service, Aaron said.
Phyllis Williams, who with her husband Boyce operated California’s Accessories Unlimited, said the principal dealer’s attitude is most important in readying a dealership each day for positive customer service. If a principal is in a foul mood, it trickles down to the rest of the staff and can sour buying experiences.
Scott Cook, who operates Eastside H-D in Bellevue, Wash., said reaching out to different industries is necessary in “getting new eyeballs at your store.” One option is to host car shows, which he said is a great way to get new gearheads in one’s parking lot. Reaching out to the action sports industry is also desirable since that demographic already shows a liking for speed and fringe activities, he adds.
MRP Adds Armadillo
Martin Racing Performance (MRP) has added Armadillo scooterwear to its product line. Look for Armadillo in booth 1113 at Dealer Expo, taking place Feb. 12-13 in Indianapolis.