Saturday, October 30, 2010

A history of United Motors and 2 The Xtreme

The Scooter Maven recently started reconnecting with his past.

I was doing the math in my head and if I counted how many years I've been in the industry I would have to go back to 1995 when I would stop by my fathers repair shop on 12th street, before I started college a new company opened up next to his store called Jincheng Motors USA. It was run by the Villegas family out of Colombia which were assembling Chinese motorcycles and wanted to expand into the USA. Eventually Jincheng would become a company known as United Motors. Around that same time I met someone named Rob Van Winkle who opened a scooter shop next to his bike shop on Lincoln Road on Miami Beach. It was called 2theXtreme and many of the vehicles they rented and sold were provided by my father. One of the brands we rented was a newly formed Jincheng Scooter by UM.

When I was doing research for the US market for a company named Malaguti out of Italy the sales manager for Jincheng / United Motors asked me to check out the Gainesville market for them. See the attached article from the Alligator from 1999.
In my market reports to Malaguti I visited several town from Atlanta to Orlando getting feedback, seeing what Aprilia USA was up to at the time and I got back to everyone who would pay or would listen to my calculations, it didn't hurt that I was working for SONY MUSIC at the time so I traveled to every single top college market from FSU and USF to get music to the college radio stations. So I could produce my market site studies and at the same time get paid ( needles to say the MIC reports were incomprehensible to anyone outside the USA.) My biggest prediction was that I Gainesville would one day be one of the top ten scooter markets in the USA and despite my calculations being off by seven years I was correct. At the height in 2007/2008 there were over 14 stores in the Ocala/Gainesville area. All it took was for gasoline to go up above $3.50 a gallon.

Shortly thereafter I was offered several jobs with, EA Sports, College,, and several other websites. I also looked into the Music Industry and despite getting some awesome job offers with little or no money ( lots of perks ) I passed. A few months later every single one of the companies I just mentioned fired their entire marketing departments, after Sept 11th Sony cut its college marketing department and so did EA Sports, all my friends were gone. The dot com crash ended many of the marketing companies I knew or had worked with and when you're starting out maybe it was a good idea I went left instead of right.

United Motors as a brand is now gone in the USA having closed in Feb 2010. At their height they sold to close to 300 dealers across the country and the last few years expanded into big bikes by buying from S&T Motors / Hyosung. They still manage the brand by charging importers for the branding rights straight out of the factories in China. The family also continues to do well in Colombia while working out of Miami without a warehouse.

I just reached out to Rob aka Vanilla Ice, he's doing extremely well and I'm hoping when he gets back from his new tour he has time to hang out and do an episide of 2Xtreem TV with the Scooter Maven. It's great to see him make a comeback after all these years. He's huge in Europe and Australia. We used to race up and down South Beach on Scooters, it would be fun to do so again.

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