Monday, September 20, 2010

Scooter Market in state of Flux in the USA

Scooter Market in state of Flux in the USA

We'll last week Dealer News published the most up to date report on the US scooter market for 2009 and 2010. By far the best report of any industry trade and probably the best collection of charts info outside of the MIC. The good thing about the firm behind these reports Power Products Marketing is that they actually get the info from the customs entries and analyze how many units were imported. This is free under Federal Law, the issue is no magazine these days will pay to get this info since its pretty costly, so most industry people just estimate or use MIC numbers, even the MIC sends a letter out and asks the Chinese importers to volunteer this info. More than likely you get some foreign secretary who is a factory employee from China here on a tourist Visa working in a warehouse somewhere in Texas and they will grab the MIC paper and throw it in the garbage can. One could only hope and pray NHTSA and DOT would wake up and put some requirements like in Europe where all this becomes public record and then industry people would know exactly what is going on. So the only reliable info comes from people who buy the customs entries like this firm.

Again, great article, but it failed to mention the numbers each importer imported, the quantities taken over by customs, and in detail all the companies that have closed. In retrospect these issues are just as important as say a leaky gas tank on new Benelli X50s which nobody seems to be mentioning. It also failed to mention MRP and how we took over 7 of those companies listed. It's like a dealer who wrote me last week asking me what I thought of Vento? Where have you been the last three years, the company went out of business. This is the main reason because magazines love taking their ads, giving them booth space at the Dealer Expo, but when Vento ( FILL IN THE BLANK ) United Motors, TANK, Cubik, Xtreeme Scooters, or whoever goes out of business they don't report on it. They also don't report on where dealers can go to get the parts they need to avoid getting A - SUED, B - SUED, and C - SUED. For any dealer that had a lemon law lawsuit in Arizona MRP not only was a lifesaver but we held the line, shipped parts by air, and helped a bunch of people that otherwise would have to have given money back to consumers. So this info is just as important to get out to the dealers as the ads and all the advetorials out there. ARTICLE ONLINE

The 2009 year was an effective one for reducing the number of distributors involved in the market, and 2010 seems set to continue the trend. The market appears to be in the midst of a shakeout where those distributors who have OEM backing or sole rights to distribution are more likely to survive and the distributors who shop around each year for the best deals but can’t support their product are dwindling. Now I think this is the best summary of what happened and in my opinion we still need more companies to get out of the market. Especially the ones taking money from unsuspecting dealers. There was a point where dealers could afford to have brands without warranty, without parts support, that didn't comply with lemon laws, EPA, but not anymore. Ask any dealer that got a fine for Roketa product in California or any Tank dealer that had to return money because they sold a "NEW" Scooter with a warranty in a state where you become liable for the warranty if the distributor closes. Dealers have to be smarter, faster, made out of stronger materials to survive and thats where MRP comes in. This new market requires that stores repair everything to survive, no longer can a Vespa dealership outside of NYC or Chicago tell customers "Sorry we only fix Vespa" you have to become more like the shops in Madrid or Milan where the customer says can you fix this Keeway and the dealer says "YES" thats the market we are now in and with MRP you can do that.

Just to over the Dealer News article I think the best quote was:
The days of small-scale operations -- importing a couple of containers and retailing them at flea markets or by the side of the road -- are being consigned to history; the scooter market is maturing. Parts support has been an important issue for Chinese and Taiwanese makes, and in these times when consumers are careful with their hard-earned dollars, the ability to receive service and parts support could mean the difference between a getting a sale or not.

MAN WHAT HAS THE SCOOTER MAVEN BEEN SAYING THESE PAST TWO YEARS? I'm glad Dealer News finally put it in the magazine.

Stay tuned as the market becomes factory direct. TGB and others will have a hard time returning to the market unless they do it themselves, the world of easy credit is gone, no longer will car dealers be importers, its not the battle of the OEMs direct in AMERICA.

No comments: