Monday, February 28, 2011

Q&A with Josh Rogers at Dealer Expo 2011


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uV6HpjiIR0
North Americas ONLY Scooter Magazine ( Support Scoot! http://www.Scootmagazine.com ) This is part of the Q&A with Josh at the Scooter Session Dealer Expo 2011 The Future of Scoot!

Q&A with Josh Rogers at Dealer Expo 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI22ZT7mTp0

CF MOTO looking at buying Malaguti Italy?

The Rumor in Italy is that Ducati has passed and CF MOTO is the main possible buyer and if no investor is found on March 4th the region will have to step in to stabilize the Italian brand.

This is a follow up to this blog posting:
http://martinracingperformance.blogspot.com/2011/02/italy-in-crisis-are-americans-and-cheap.html


The real problem it seems is the same thing going on in America. The entitlements, retirements, and extra expenses the Union ( don't call them socialists ) in Bologna demand. You can't just fire someone. To fire someone at Malaguti it can take you two years. So imagine trying to fire someone's cousin who doesn't show up for work, you have to pay him out. Even the Chinese are having a hard time understanding how it works in Italy. Over at the factories in China there are lines of people camping out waiting for someone to get fired. In Italy the process can take years. So nobody wants to hire permanent employees they just renew temporary contracts that cost more because of the liability full time employees represent.

So CF MOTO is still in the running? It will be interesting to see if its true or if they are just waiting to buy the brand in liquidation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doToyGMEFjs


The list of companies in crisis in Italy or that have closed is pretty bleak:
Comex,
Masiero (already closed),
Verlicchi, (done)
Kettle (in liquidation)
Electroplating (in liquidation),
RCM & Moto Morini (in bankruptcy and to auctioned off by next April 13, 2011 Odds are Silvio Berlusconnis brother will buy it for $5 million and assume no debt )
Marzocchi and Malaguti (both in desperate need of investment / investors / partners / and with deadlines to find them)

From:
http://www.ilrestodelcarlino.it/imola/cronaca/2011/02/27/465695-malaguti_rischio_chiusura_danno_intero_territorio.shtml
"The additional problem - Papignani accurate - is that for every worker in this factory in Castel San Pietro there are five that are part suppliers, and therefore the closure of Malaguti undermine done a thousand of jobs mainly in the area Imola, where there are companies and craft supplies metal mechanical parts of the plant castellano.

Home Depot now in Powersports Business killing mom and pop stores

Home Depot now in Powersports Business killing mom and pop stores!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h82tF9I1wmI

We'll time to get signed up. My local Home Depot started selling UTVs. Wouldn't surprise me if they start doing ATVs next. Chinese UTVs.

Meanwhile the mall is selling Artic Cat ATVs and UTVs ( made by Kymco mostly ) at Outdoorsman World. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usDOTH7fmwg


Sears is selling Baja Motorsports ( you know really quality service and parts at Sears for Scooters right? ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU-EePXBX8Q


Pep Boys like always continues to flood the USA with more Hammherhad, Baja, Ebike, Razor and other models ( always the least expensive model in anyone's lineup )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e6EMQ_z36Y



How can this help the small retailer except for making them a service center that get's paid less and less each year. Obviously, we need these service agreements to stay in business, but how do you keep the legitimate brands alive while still benefiting from all the service on the big box retailers. It's a question only the dealers can answer. I know you can't stop this, its just a sad state of events.

What's next Supermarkets?

Oh wait they already do that in Europe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsaR7Vlnpik


MRP is the leading wholesale only scooter parts supplier in the USA.

We sell parts for scooters, gokarts, buggies, and small ATVs. Visit us at http://www.mrp-speed.com for more information on the best scooter parts from the leading brands Polini, Malossi, Scooter Ninja, Bando, Dr. Pulley, Innova, and our in house brand MRP.

MRP now has parts for Chinese ATVs including Dirt Bike Parts, dirt 4-stroke/2-stroke stock and performance parts. MRP has the largest Selection for Chinese & Asian Scooter Parts period. Wholesale Scooter parts, Parts for Dirt Bikes, Parts for Chinese ATVs, Parts for Chinese Off-Road Kart, Parts for Buggies. All the major Chinese brands. Parts for all the major scooter brands including parts for Vespa, Aprilia, Malaguti, Benelli, Italjet, SYM, Honda, Yahama, Kymco, Suzuki, Eton, TGB, PGO, Genuine, Peirspeed, CF Moto, Qlink, Zongsheng, Daelim, Hyosung, JCL, Diamo, Zhennong, Flyscooters, CPI, Dinli, Apex, DDR, Jonway, Joyner, Roketa, Dazon, Tank, engines including the GY6, QMB139, Chinese 4strokes, 2 strokes, Minarelli, JOG, and much much more. If you need scooter parts call us we have the largest selection of scooter parts available in the USA http://www.mrp-speed.com.

Highest Gas Prices in Miami Florida $3.75 Feb 27 2011

Scooter Sales are going up thanks to $3,75 gas in Miami. It's funny how my videos from 10 months ago called it.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImLujsgozVE

Cheapest gas range I found in a 30 mile area.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG1ozlQrtO8


Prices on gas one week ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJItwA8BoDc


The cost two weeks ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFzf10BeqNU

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Italy in Crisis. Are Americans and Cheap Europeans to Blame?

The flag is falling on the Italian town of Bologna.

Unless investors ( probably American ) come to the rescue of Bologna not much will be left. What they need is American style marketing, management, and new efficiencies ill afforded by the traditional nepotism found in Italian motorcycle companies. They need new blood quickly.

It's a shame more companies can't be run like Ducati who has managed to survive the economic downturn and actually increase it's market share. Then again companies like Piaggio are on the stock exchange and are making more money from third world countries so they have managed the downturn better no matter if 50% of the dealers have closed in the USA.

Bologna is and will always be one of my favorite cities. One of the best college town. One of the few that proudly show pictures of American GIs liberating the town square as you walk into the plaza the first time. It's a town that's 100% Italian, but gives you 100% pride in our country when reading about its history. If your into Motorcycles then its the mecca of scooters and big bikes.

Inexpensive Chinese scooters and motorcycles are quickly taking over the European marketplace. Even Honda and Yamaha have notice losses in their shares of the market. However, those that have been affected the most have been the European brands.

The list of companies in crisis or closed is pretty bleak:
Comex,
Masiero (already closed),
Verlicchi, (done)
Kettle (in liquidation)
Electroplating (in liquidation),
RCM & Moto Morini (in bankruptcy and to auctioned off by next April 13, 2011 Odds are Silvio Berlusconnis brother will buy it for $5 million and assume no debt )
Marzocchi and Malaguti (both in desperate need of investment / investors / partners / and with deadlines to find them)

Malaguti has just gotten a notice from the local regional managers. Segretario Fiom - “se non trova entro l'anno un acquirente va verso la chiusura dello stabilimento da 180 occupati senza parlare della strage che ci sarebbe nell'indotto, anche a Imola” - "if you cannot find a buyer within a year we will close the plant. Bye to the 180 full time employees ( 200 plus part timers in the summer ) not to mention the carnage that there would be in related, even at Imola." Basically, stop asking for so much money (supposedly upwards of $22 million and take less for a cash partner. I'm sure if you have some backing you could get a controlling share for less.

Anyone have $10 million?

Let me borrow $10 million and I'll go do it myself. I think we could pull it off right now. I'll help you. Anyone looking to invest, you put US style management, marketing like Jim Viola had for Ducati USA in the late 90s and early pre-2003 era and you got yourself a Hollywood made brand. Move all marketing to LA. Bring back the Booty in Malaguti!

Seriously, make the cheap 50cc units in Asia. Keep the Maxi line in Bologna just like Piaggio Group did with Zongshen/Piaggio and Aprilia/Jincheng scooters. Keep the Vespa brand in Italy and license the name to third markets. Stop putting the Malaguti name on crap like ATVs and dirtbikes. Stick to what you know and what's profitable.

This is a historic low for Italian manufacturing. If people spent less time trying to find out who Silvio stuck it in and spent more time caring about "Made in Italy," they wouldn't be in this problem.

Italjet came back from the dead. The company is still in Bologna. Maybe not as big as it used to be, but the brand is known all over the world. I have no doubt Moto Morini, Malaguti, Marzocchi, will all come back.

We just don't want them to be purchased in liquidation.

Last I checked Mahindra & Mahinda of India, CF MOTO, Kymco, were all interested in Malaguti. Ducati would be the right partner as well, but nobody is going to jump in now, they all want to wait for the best price.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The AutoMoto Dealer Expo visit 2011


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K8m-ISZCJE

Specs on their units. Make sure to visit the website for more info. We should be getting one shortly for a test drive and review. www.theautomoto.com

Great guys, make sure to give them a call. Tell them the Scooter Maven blog sent you.


Dealer Show 2011 Highlights

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5bH_DAECI

Highlights from Dealer Expo 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDmPgy43LfA


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCWZ9XYBGuQ



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1OHVzWlpEQ


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y--5w6HZaVE


Free Drinks! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUlFKdnR0Ac


See you in 2012!

Where to find Kymco Parts?

We just had a dealer ask us where they can buy Kymco parts? I have a full list on our web catalog.
http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/d83097ef#/d83097ef/26

Question and Answers Dealer Show Scooter Session Part 4


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLdL3KMIGiw
More from the Dealer Expo 2011
Question and Answers Dealer Show Scooter Session Part 4

Dealer Expo 2011 Session hosted by Josh Rogers of Scoot! Magazine and the Scooter Maven. For the best source of parts on the net for your store ( Wholesale Only )
visit http://www.mrp-speed.com


The way to make money is parts. Watch this informative series of videos to help you the dealer stay in business during these troubled times.

You say you sell scooters and you're wondering how you can survive, much less make a profit?

Watch our videos to find out more. How to make money from Orphaned brands.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The cost of the future! Oil going up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFzf10BeqNU

NEW CPI TAIWAN LINEUP ARRIVING AT DEALERS 2011

CPI has always had some hot scooters...

Since 2010 dealers and riders have been waiting for the brand to come back to the states. Wait seems almost over since the newest CPI units have arrived. I have it on good word they go on sale in a week or so.

What can you expect from the brand? Check out the new Aragon and 2011 Oliver models!

BEHOLD!




OZ in need of protection

Good article on the dangers of riding scooters without protection.


I've said it before. On South Beach Florida the stores don't care if you wear Flip Flops. People loose toes all the time, what type of person rides a motorcycle in Flip Flops it's like you're asking to loose a toe. Down in OZ the rise in scooter sales seems to be spawning the same problems we face in the US. The need for gear.

This is why this is the top Armadillo Scooter Wear market. http://www.armadilloscooterwear.com




http://www.blacktownsun.com.au/news/national/national/general/scooter-drivers-given-dressing-down-on-failure-to-wear-safety-clothing/2086895.aspx
Scooter drivers given dressing down on failure to wear safety clothing
STEPHEN OTTLEY
25 Feb, 2011 03:00 AM

SCOOTER riders are putting fashion before safety and choosing high heels over leather boots, and motorcycle experts say their reluctance to wear the right clothing may be putting them at risk of serious injury.

Scooter sales have soared from about 1000 in 2001 to more than 10,000 last year. But though most riders are new to two-wheel transport, the law requires only that they wear a helmet.

Rob Smith, the manager of the riders' division at Motorcycling Australia, said scooter riders should be wearing the same safety gear as a motorcycle rider.

"There's an unfortunate mindset that comes with the term scooter," Mr Smith said. "It conjures up thoughts of a toy, something benign. I think of them as automatic motorcycles. Whether you fall off a motorcycle or a scooter at 60km/h, the result is the same. Any time you expose bare skin to the road, the outcome is obvious."

However, Wensley Carroll, a scooter rider and salesman, rejected the suggestion that riders need better protection.

"You ride your bicycle down the road at 60km/h with no brakes, no engine and [a very narrow] tyre on the road only wearing lycra," Mr Carroll said.

"Scooters are not motorcycles. They have less power and they are sitting higher, so riders' reaction times are quicker because they can see further ahead."

Rob Colligan of the Motorcycle Council of NSW said the government could not mandate what scooter riders should wear.

"The issue is, what is the proper protective clothing? What is right in Sydney in winter is not going to be suitable for summer.''

A spokesman for the Australian Medical Association, Dr Brian Owler, said the consequences of falling off while not wearing proper safety clothing were serious.

"At some point there has to be owner onus. You have to assess the risk you are taking."

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Scooter Session Dealer Expo 2011 Learning Experience Part 1-5

I will be uploading Josh Rogers part 1 of the presentation shortly. He talks about passion. He talks about drive, motivation, and love. People that want more than just a me-too shop. He talks about not spending time with the "Time Burglar" and making sure you can create a shop people want to hang out at.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqe_IXxHyW8


I will upload those later. For now you have the Scooter Maven who will tell you where we have been, where are at, and where the market is headed in the next few months. Mark my words my predictions from 2010 are coming true. Our market is unsustainable. We cannot sell bikes for less than the cost of production. Consolidation is upon us.

Now gas is going up and a surge is likely to happen. How did we get here as a scooter industry? Why are dealers allowing parts and vehicle distributors to walk all over them? Sell direct? Destroying dealer margins left and right? What can we as dealers do about? Those are the topics the scooter maven covers in these three episodes.

For the best source of parts on the net for your store ( Wholesale Only ) visit http://www.mrp-speed.com


The way to make money is parts. Watch this informative series of videos to help you the dealer stay in business during these troubled times.

You say you sell scooters and you're wondering how you can survive, much less make a profit? Joel Martin has the answer for you. Sell repair service, repair service, repair service. That's the message Martin delivered to dealers Friday in a Learning Experience seminar, "Maintaining a Profitable Scooter Shop."

To learn more watch the following videos from the class:


Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPCDzY-4DLA


Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZBe7L1nvX4


Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug2umpl9Miw


Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLdL3KMIGiw


Part 5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uV6HpjiIR0



We will post Part 6 and 7 Shortly.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

China Panel failed to tell the factories we will enforce the rules or else....

I know some of the players that were invited to speak at the China panel. I think they are more than diplomatic when it comes to telling it like it is.

Joe Delmont is a great reporter. I know Tim and the MIC pretty well. Gary Sargent is one of our top dealers. So it comes as to no surprise that they would be on such a high profile meeting. I was surprised that I couldn't attend, but that's because I would have mentioned things like lawsuits, dealers loosing their money, EPA, and given true stories. It's hard to be in a room and not bring out the dirty laundry when there is smog as far as you can see. It's like the future LA from Blade Runner without Harrison Ford or James Edwards Olmos. Just the dinner scene full of Chinese guys selling stuff on the street.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S23SH_6850o


I think you should call it like you see it sometimes.

At least if you are going to have a panel telling people how to sell in the USA. I had to learn to keep my mouth shut a few times because some people abroad don't like it when you say something that is very direct. Like "Sir that is a copyright infringement!" That's hard for someone like me because I think you just say things as they are. My best story is when I went to a factory and I noticed they were emptying oil on the street, a block away there was a farm. Across from the oil dump there was an old man fishing. That fish was probably going to be his dinner and unless you love BP oil not a pretty site. I told the owner he was going to give everyone in the village cancer. Needless to say he didn't like it, but we never purchased his brake parts either.

So this weekend I think they should have been direct. Maybe even gone over some lawsuits that were public record. Maybe talk about the wrongful death suits involving Dinli ATVs and why they are no longer sold in the USA. Bill from Peirspeed was there he would have gladly talked about it or distributors that try to set up other distributors while their agreements are still in force. These things are kept hidden from the dealers, the distributors, and others involved in the industry. They are public record, there is no censorship here except the corporate sponsored censorship at the show. So if you have a great opportunity like this tell them like it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L1oSU0Vi2c


When you visit a dealer in Asia you will notice most of it is transportation. They don't have "Lemon Laws" that are enforced, nor trademarks that anyone really cares about. It would have been smart to have a lawyer on the panel and tell them what these suits could cost them. We should also have gone over the list of the Chinese companies that have been shut down by the EPA and what that cost was. My friend who attended the session basically told me it was glazed over. Again very diplomatic.

We can take diplomacy for only so long. We've been very diplomatic the last few years. I mean we have a few reasonable requests like - Sir, please don't bankrupt the world.
Sir, please stop pirating my CDs.
Sir, that's not your Stealth Bomber that's my design. You get the point.

I believe we need enforcement at the Dealer Expo. This year I walked away thinking it should have been called the Chinese Dealer Sell to Everyone Expo. They allowed the Chinese to sell directly to the public, I witnessed dealers buying imitation helmets. I know some writers and industry people will tell me "well that's just the consumer speaking, they have the buying power, dealers will buy wherever they want" I disagree. We need more regulation, and more enforcement.

If EPA really cared they would crack down even further. Two guys walking around enforcing the laws really doesn't make me feel too secure. Below is the Dealer News story.

Business Seminar Helps Chinese Manufacturers from http://www.dealernews.com/
By Joe Delmont

Panelists’ Message: U.S. Consumers Want Quality and Value


INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 21, 2011)— Chinese manufacturers Sunday received several tips on how to successfully sell powersports vehicles and equipment in the United States. The seminar here was put on by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and Advanstar Communications for Chinese exhibitors before a packed house at this year’s Dealer Expo.

Attendees heard from government and industry experts about what it takes to successfully sell powersports equipment in the U.S. market. Presenters included representatives of Sargent’s Motorsports Groups, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Dealernews magazine. The program, entitled, How To Successfully Sell Powersports Vehicles in the United States, was moderated by Paul Vitrano, executive vice president of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA).

The key messages delivered by panelists were:

* QUALITY PAYS. Attendees were told that American consumers value quality over cost and that they are willing to pay more for a better product.
* OBEY THE RULES. Panelists, especially representatives of the CPSC, emphasized the importance of following U.S. government rules and regulations. “Government agencies balance their responsibilities of helping businesses with protecting consumers,” Vitrano said, “and they lean toward protecting consumers.” Penalties for breaking the rules are stiff and expensive, attendees were told.

Joe Delmont, contributing editor for Dealernews, told the audience that it’s important to build a brand, not simply try to export products to the U.S. under many different names to be sold by many different distributors. “That’s a prescription for failure,” he said.

Delmont, who provided a checklist of things to consider in looking at the U.S. market, told the audience that to gain 5% market share in a specific segment for a new China brand might take three years and cost as much as $300 million.

CPSC representatives Tanya Topka and Justin Jirgl described in detail the process of working with the agency that has been set up under the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). A key regulation developed by the CPSC under the law calls for action plans to be approved by the agency before a company’s ATVs may be sold in the U.S.

Gary Sargent, Sr., and Gary Sargent, Jr., have been selling and servicing powersports equipment in their Portland, OR. dealership for more than seven years. They emphasized the importance of building quality machines and backing them with quality parts.

Gary Jr., who runs the dealership’s service operation, told attendees that he prefers to use more expensive, quality parts on a repair job and be confident that it won’t fail.

“I want satisfied customers,” he said, “not unhappy customers who come back because a part failed.” JD

Dealer Expo copycats never win. Watching a knockoff get served at the show.

So this year I had the experience of witnessing firsthand something pretty common by US companies as they develop brands that might be successful. I saw a brand with huge demand, and directly across the isle the COPYCAT.

Yes, it happens.

I know because imitation is the best form of flattery. In this business the moment I pickup a new supplier or a new brand I have dealers and competitors write emails to the factories saying “hey I can buy more than he can, or we can do this,” it’s amazing. If it’s a loyal friend or a company they forward it to me. If they’re not I’ve come to the conclusion it’s better to work with people that don’t tend to screw you. It’s amazing how many dealers, distributors, and people you meet in this business that try to do this. I’ve actually purchased people in bankruptcy opened up their notes, filling cabinets, and found the emails, details, about copying what The Maven does. You see someone with ambition and you try to take from him what he's doing. So this ridiculous story should come as no surprise to anyone on the distribution side.

Now let's get something straight I will work as an expert witness or industry expert when needed for a case, consulting issue, I've been on all sides of this game. I worked at a dealer, an importer, distributor (attorneys always call asking for an expert.) As time goes on I've been on dealer vs. distributor cases, distributors vs. dealer cases, but I've never seen the start of something that was this straight up wrong. A company with the "cojones" to tell and email dealers that they have something that looks the same, but clearly isn’t. What I've come to realize in this industry is that most Chinese companies are not accountable. They think there are no repercussions. Dealer News had to put on a big meeting this past weekend to explain to them that there are consequences because many of them continue to get sued for copyright infringement, wrongful death, and false advertising. It goes on and on. Click here for Dealer News story: http://dealernewsblog.com/2011/02/21/business-seminar-helps-china-manufacturers/

Trade publications, trade shows, and industry councils are powerless. By the time DOT investigates a company they probably have no assets so the investigation goes nowhere. They just close.

Same happens when someone sues them. These companies just close. Hopefully these guys get the message, because what they are selling isn’t just a copycat, I thought it looked dangerous. Bad wielding, an importer reputation for selling crap, and the audacity to display across from the people they are copying.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xScu8zNpkEQ


So this weekend, I finally meet the designer Scotty from CCW. He’s done a great job, top of the line bikes. He’s got some big plans for the US. If you watch the video below the PIT Motors / CCW booth was packed, so packed people said I have no idea where you guys are. They couldn’t find the booth because we always had crowds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hG3sGOaInI


I love people with aspiration. If you are going to dream go ahead and dream big. Why settle in life? Why say I want to be like everyone else. Again, someone with an idea will get imitated. So on one side I have to say “hey you did an awesome job, better than anyone else so far.” On the other hand it’s an uphill battle since you will have to be ever vigilant and enforce your designs.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nargKO-8-Hs


The Heist is in my office and everyone wants to ride that thing. I’m taking it to Hooters next week and I guarantee at least 30 people will come and talk about it. It was a hit at SEMA this year and they asked us to bring more so other exhibitors could customize them. So after all this success it’s sad to see this happen. I mean it upset at me to end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cu8UxvTRRw


CCW is headed by a young 30 year old designer who dreams big. He's designed lots of products for several industries and has been exhibiting at the show for a few years. I was more than impressed with his concepts and he knows the manufacturing process extremely well. I've been trying to get something going with his distributor, when all of a sudden we see a complete knock off exhibiting two booths down. I had the fortune to witness them served with papers. They managed to upset quite a few people and in typical Chinese copycat fashion they acted like they had no idea and left the booth. The American employees didn’t know what to do. The knockoff had a similar frame but everything else on it was done on the cheap. As a matter of fact the frame looked pretty unsafe. I opened my CCW bike for the first time last week so I can say I am not a dealer nor a retailer for them just a fan. Right out of the box it looked awesome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ3CPTk5mTg


These Suncrap bikes looked like they were made at a junk yard factory, but that's besides the point. I mean I don’t know what these people were thinking they must have been fed antifreeze in their baby milk or something because it was just downright pathetic. The point is the show let's people exhibit any junk they want. This is part of the downward spiral the industry is on. You build a China pavilion bigger than anything at the show, you fill it with companies trying to sell dealer direct and consumer direct and you wonder why exhibitors don't want to display. You wonder why American companies get smaller every year and why nobody of any quality wants to exhibit.

Not to mention I saw Polaris walking around ready to drop the hammer on RZR knockoffs right next to us. The list goes on and on of what we saw this year. China and Taiwan have taken over almost the entire exhibit area. Exactly the reason why companies like Kymco don’t exhibit anymore. They don’t want to deal with the tire kickers comparing a Kymco 500cc to the latest Chinese 400cc scooter.

The scooter session was the reason I went this year because there is little return on the show. Consumers sneak in. You have people without actual retail locations coming up to you saying “ I repair bikes at home I want to drop ship, can you help me?” If I was as greedy as some of these guys I would say yes, but instead I point them down to the competition who has no qualms about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EwTtqFfu-8


It was pretty sad to see dealers walk around looking at the Suncrap booth at a model which was clearly a rip-off of something CCW has worked so hard on. They don’t even look the same so it upset me even more when some ignorant store owner would come and mention it. It was comparing Apples and Turds. Look sir I drive a Porche you cannot come into my office and tell me your beat up Kia is in the same league. It’s not an elitist thing it’s just a fact. There is a right and a wrong in the universe and it’s not that hard to see sometimes. This company was sending dealers pictures of the Heist before the show and then showing this piece of Suncrap.

I kind of felt bad for the US employees of this company. They took the papers they were given. They probably knew, but had to say things " I had no idea my Chinese bosses didn't tell me anything, they said we designed it " I mean why put people in those situations? My favorite was the guy who said “I need a paycheck.” So do I, but I don’t go about it ripping off a new design and sending emails that use someone else’s design.

I will post more videos shortly.

Goes back to why Indy is loosing it’s appeal. Where were the organizers in all this? You not only have a diminishing return on investment, but you have a show that has been completely taken over by fly-by-night companies. Small US distributors have to pay money up front and spend money to exhibit only to see bigger brands get booth spaces for free. They need to fix all this.

It was also pretty sad to have the auction going on at the same time as the show. Dealers were there to look at products not buy the liquidations of their fellow dealers. It just goes to show the world we live in. It was like feeding hamburgers to a bunch of cows. It’s just absolute cannibalism of the clients we make a living off. Add the Chinese copycats and it’s no wonder the show gives people a headache these days.

If I was the dealer show I would make sure they warn these guys next year because if I got to know the CCW people they will come down on these Chinese copycats pretty hard. They will probably get shut down or booted out next year.

I’ll make sure to be there when it happens.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htmf07g26vw


To meet the people behind PIT visit them at: http://pitmotorsltd.com

CF Moto big plans for US

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o-CIsJW6SM&sns=em

CF Moto USA had one of the best displays at dealer expo 2011. I've been following them for quite some time. First the company had its first real official dealer meeting. I couldnt stay since I was busy teaching the scooter session with Josh Rogers but I had my people there and it seemed like it went better than expected. Matt Clayton has returned in full force with some big plans for the company and the senior factory management has completed the transition they needed to run a smoother operation.

I believe like every company they overexpanded too quickly and set up some less than optimal dealers. Some of these guys are clearly too small to buy the Z6 or any offroad products. This is a similar situation to many emerging brands like Kymco. You have to split the base in two offroad only, full line, and scooter only to grow. As you grow beyond the small scooter dealers how do you grow the brand? Some of the dealers they selected originally were also Baron dealers or price point dealers so Matt has his work cut out for him.

Still the company has some of the best engines, one of the few Chinese brands everyone wants to have, and associations with top European companies like Ducati Energia, MS, Malaguti Italy and more. CF is also a big engine supplier to higher end karts, UTVs, and scooters for other companies. They are also factory backed 100% now so unlike many of the private label guys they won't be going belly up anytime soon actually they will grow.

My question is how do they expand in a smaller market? get more floorspace in the showrooms? and phase out the less than desirable stores that only buy on price?

The price point Chinese only shops are what kills the brand.

To grow they have to go market by market and evaluate what the plan is. CF Moto is also one of the very few guys that really have liability insurance, epa, third party testing, and best of all parts. MRP is also one of their partners.

I've invited Matt to be on our panel at SEMA this year. He was there from the start, he's in the most important market in the country, and has experience working with Chinese management that is only here to make a quick buck and the guys that want to build a real brand. CF got him back for a reason so we hope this time they listen to his plans. I know 2011 will be a big year for CF so let's see what happens and I wish him all the best.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oil prices surge 6% on Facebook Unrest!

Oil prices have surged 6% today as more Middle East countries have taken down Facebook or as it is known in Saudi Arabia the great "Satan." Libya took down the internet and look what is happening. Didn't they learn from Egypt what happens when you can't watch Hulu?

It's funny this weekend at Dealer Expo I was telling dealers to watch out because the Scooter Armageddon was coming this summer. Companies liquidated all their scooters and parts and now sales will surge again. The roller-coaster of the American Scooter Industry is back again.

We should all cash out this summer because sales are starting to rise.

It's a shame it took an Arab revolution to accomplish all this, but I don't hear any Powersports Dealers complaining. The rise in the cost of gas will save the US scooter industry.

Feedback from Dealer Expo 2011 Class

Been getting a lot of emails from the show.

One of the best was from Claude Nolen so far:

I really did enjoy the seminar you guys hosted. I told Josh (Josh Rogers from Scoot! Magazine) that I though it was interesting how on the first day when he asked "why do we sell scooters?" the reasons provided by the audience were really just profit oriented. On the second day when he asked that question, my buddy (Jeff from Maplewood Scooters in STL) started things off with "because we love scooters" and from then on it was a whole different vibe.

= I think was true, first day I was the rehearsal. We plan on doing this again pretty soon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqe_IXxHyW8


Josh brought me to tears. He's right about some stores needing to close. I cannot believe how many stores don't know the names of these brands. Overall A+ Mikey B

= Yup. He was good. He has more passion than most people and is a straight shooter. He's usually right about things so when I ask him for advice he'll tell me exactly how he feels about a subject and I tend to listen to him for that reason. On the stores closing I thought it was interesting to see most stores that attended had been open less than 3 years and didn't know who TNG, CPI, United Motors, Diamo, Italjet, Beta, Malaguti, or any of these brands were. Tells me we have a ton of uneducated dealers out there. How can you run a scooter shop and not know the market you cater to?

We have a group of dealers that think in modern terms ignoring all the main brands that outsell them. To stay in business that has to change.

"John -

The only problem with the service idea on cheap scooters is the repair bill can quickly exceed the money a customer is willing to pay to repair a cheap bike. If he paid $699 for the bike and the repair is going to cost 2/3 of that price you might get stuck with it. Unless your shop rate is $10/hour."


= The point was as New Scooters 4 Less pointed out on Day 2 is that you can buy cheap ( they said a student left one for $50 because he wouldn't pay for repairs ) and in the case of other dealers they use them for parts. So either way it's a win win for everyone.

Malaguti in Italy looking for Investors

It's been a rumor I mentioned on the blog several times before. I sincerely love this brand. If I had the $20 million they need I would fly to Italy and put the deal together myself. The secretary of Emilia Romagna region in Bologna Fiom Bruno Papignan states in this interview "We are focusing our maximum attention on the Malaguti situation," clearly since its one of the major employers in the area.
http://bologna.repubblica.it/cronaca/2011/02/21/news/crisi_alla_malaguti_si_muove_la_provincia-12705700/


Several companies have expressed interest like Mahindra from India, CF MOTO, Kymco, Ducati, among others but from what I hear they are all waiting for the asking price to go down. Let's see what happens.


Back in 2003 when Italjet went bankrupt it was a major hit to the industry. They came back and are finally re-organizing, but its not the same as all the manufacturing jobs they had before. Nearby in Bergamo Polini basically makes everything in Taiwan now. La Perla underwear ( one of my favs ) also makes a ton of stuff in Asia now so it would only make sense for Malaguti to get an Asian partner.

In my opinion if they can't merge with their sister company Ducati or be forced to by the region then their design firm Engines Engineering should be the next logical step. It would only make sense for Mahindra to acquire them and consolidate themselves in Italy. It can either work perfectly or be a disaster the way the Benelli / QJ merger turned out to be at first. So let's see what happens.

I'm hoping for the best here because its a shame to have witnessed the slide of Italian manufacturing in the last ten years.

BMW to enter with EV Scooters and New C1 coming to the USA 2013

So some news from the show.

Despite all the rumors my friend with the German firm claims there are "big" plans for the international scooter market. Gas prices, the push for EV, and a higher end buyer that wants an automatic unit means BMW can no longer avoid entering this side of the Powersports Industry. The original BMW scooter is now something of a collectors item in Germany so it makes sense they would want to do this right and bring something to the market that nobody has seen before.



So it seems two versions of the C1 are coming to the US at some point in 2012 or 2013. They will only be entering with the Maxi line. It goes on sale in Europe first in 2012. Once it hits the market in Germany and Italy it will roll out in the export markets including the US. I don't know all the details, but they should look like the prototype they have been displaying.

It's been a few years since they had the original BMW C1 that never made it to the states. Since then Adiva, Diamo/LS, a bunch of Chinese companies have tried the top roof concept. I did meet some guys at Indy that are doing quite well with a similar styled Trike with a top from the AutoMoto, really cool guys I will write on them later.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scooter Session was best class at Dealer Expo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqe_IXxHyW8


Above is a short preview of the class. I will be posting this once I get a chance. So many couldn't attend it seems there is demand for another class which I am trying to get Scoot to do again. CF MOTO has already agreed to sponsor it because the new marketing manager Matt Clayton is probably one of the most forward thinking guys in the industry. So more on when that class will take place shortly. Hint....it might be in Vegas soon.

So it turns out both days we had some of the highest numbers of dealers attending. In the audience we saw several industry people including Phil and his staff from Scooterworks - Genuine Scooters, Michael Lee from Piaggio, Doug from Tomos USA / Sym China, Ryan from BKD China, writers for the trades from MPN, Cycle Trend, SIMMS Marketing ( thanks Jon ) even Joe Delmont from Dealer News who wrote this great piece on the main page of Dealer News.com http://www.dealernews.com/dealernews/Dealer+Expo+Update/Service-is-key-to-scooter-shop-profitability/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/708431?contextCategoryId=48447


I just got five emails from dealers asking about the brands that are not supported by the industry and where can they get the list. Scoot Magazine has a great article and the list we will be sharing it with dealers.

It's funny because the night before I asked industry professionals and they told me they didn't know how many Diamos or CPIs were sold in the USA. The truth is very few people have these numbers and MRP caters to the orphaned brands. One of the main points of the class was a scooter is a scooter. Every scooter is someone's first scooter and they want parts just like everyone else. Yes, any company can get you some generic engine parts, but most of the time they don't have what makes the bike run and essentially we are not helping the dealers with what they need. That's where MRP steps in to help the dealers.

So if you never heard of GMI, SMY, FYM, Mondial, Strada, Vento, UM then you are missing out on repairs and helping people. The market for Genuine, Kymco, and Vespas are limited. Jonway sells more units in the USA than the Taiwanese companies combined, but get non of the publicity because it's not as glamourous. I used to be a scooter snob myself who only preached "Ride Italian, Ride Malaguti," but the truth is to stay in business if you can't beat them join them. Repairing everything is the key and the stores that don't listen end up closed. If you want to make money this summer, talk to the Scooter Maven.

Lessons from Dealer Expo 2011

Dealer Expo is over.

I was on fire this year having conversations with some very interesting people night after night until 3am.

A couple of random thoughts from the show before I write my full report.

AN INDUSTRY UNDER SEIGE 2011

*The Scooter Session with Josh Rogers was a great experience. The second day brought people to tears. When I watch the video from day two its like I was a different person. I thank everyone that attended and Joe Delmont @ Dealer News for writing that great review in the show Daily. It makes everything I've done the last 10 years worth it.

*Crude prices rise over 4% as protests in Libya, Iran, Iraq and other key oil producers heightens worries about supply disruptions over the weekend. However the real focus was costs for many of the dealers. They really need to focus on quality so we don't have a repeat of 2008.

*When I asked the audience who was United Motors, TNG, CPI Taiwan, Eton, Adly, TGB, Vento, Malaguti, Andretti, Benelli the responses in the room were only one or two hands. New dealers getting into the industry don't know the brands and most of the stores that attended the classes got in around 2008. That reinforces what I said "From the original 150 dealers I set up in 2000-2005 for Malaguti only 22 are still open in the USA." The turnover in this segment of the Powersports Industry is extremely large.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

From the Dealer Expo - Service is key to scooter shop profitability

Service is key to scooter shop profitability
A big thanks to Joe Delmont for sitting in on the class.

You say you sell scooters and you’re wondering how you can survive, much less make a profit? Joel Martin has the answer for you. Sell repair service, repair service, repair service. That’s the message Martin delivered to dealers Friday in a Learning Experience seminar, “Maintaining a Profitable Scooter Shop.”

“Service is what is going to keep you in business,” Martin said. “Seventy percent of dealers turn away this business.” Noting that many Chinese brands do not provide repair services, Martin said it’s a void that can be exploited.

Don’t worry about matching them on selling price, he told dealers; rather, provide the repair services that many retailers avoid. “Many Chinese factories sell consumer direct and bypass the dealer. You cannot win, so stand out. Change the plan. If you can’t beat the Chinese,” he told the audience, “join them. That means fixing the scooters they sell.”

Few scooter sellers can give service or are willing to invest the time in finding correct parts for a customer, he said.

While urging scooter dealers to put more emphasis on providing repairs, warranty service, and other services for scooter owners, Martin offered a couple of interesting tips about ways to develop more service and repair business.

One way, he noted, is to advertise service for so-called “dead” brands -- those that are no longer sold in the U.S., such as Vento, United Motors and Adley.

“Advertise that you can get parts for those scooters; people want to fix their scooters, and they will respond.” (Martin is president of Martin Racing Performance Corporation (MRP), a supplier of scooter parts for many Asian and European brands.)

Another way, he said, is to get signed up as a service center for big box retailers such as Pep Boys that sell brands from China, Taiwan and Korea. “They all need service,” he said. “Are you set up as a Baja Powersports, Sam’s Club or Aaron’s service center?” he asked.

Then, remember to follow up. “Scooter dealers need to stay in touch with riders. Follow up in a month, two or three. Invite them back. Offer to check the bike for free.”

In addition to placing a new emphasis on repairs and service, Martin told dealers to increase the comfort level of their shops for scooter owners. “Provide an environment that makes riders say, ‘Wow, that’s a cool shop. I don’t want to just buy there, I want to hang out there.”

For example, get yourself an espresso machine. “Fifty espressos a month won’t make much money,” he said, “but it can add $2,000 in revenue a year.”

– Joe Delmont

http://www.dealernews.com/dealernews/Dealer+Expo+Update/Service-is-key-to-scooter-shop-profitability/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/708431?contextCategoryId=48447

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

United Motors not at Dealer Expo 2011 but you can still buy the parts!

One of the big changes at Dealer Expo this year is UM. United Motors had a display or some type of display almost every single year for the last 15 years.

If there dealers are looking for stock parts for United Motors Brand of scooters they have to go no further than MRP. MRP acquired all these parts and now we have the manuals as well as the parts on our website.

COME BY THE MRP BOOTH AT DEALER EXPO 2011 SO YOU CAN SIGN UP TO BUY PARTS FOR UNITED MOTORS SCOOTERS.

Simply use the dealer pdf files to look the OEM part number up. Add UM- to the front of the number and we can help you find them. http://www.martinracingdealer.com/WSWrapper.jsp?mypage=Manuals.htm

A few things you need to know. Several of the OEM scooters from pre-2002 days were made by Jincheng, later the Xpeed series by CPI and Wangye. The dirtbikes were Zongshen, and later all the scooters and Motorcycles by Hyosung.

MRP has in stock the United Motors Matrix 150-XX 150cc QMJ157 GY6 4-stroke Scooter Parts not just the generic parts, but also plastics, accessories, and original engine upgrades. Some of the parts are not generic and certain models can only use UM molds such as the GP1, Matrix II and Matrix 180cc. These parts are only available from MRP!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP-4e0uJs3E


MRP also has parts for the Hyosung made M250i aka the United Motors Xpeed 250i 250cc 4-stroke scooter. These manuals are also on the MRP website in the link above.

The United Motors ATV 450 was also made by Hyosung and these parts are being added as well.

Zongshen 125, 150, and the 200cc dirtbikes imported by UM. No problem those parts for the dirtbikes already on our website.

Http://www.mrp-speed.com is the place to look up the manuals and get the parts for these scooters. No other website can offer the UM brand of parts like we can. We have relationships with ZMD / Zongshen and many of the United Motors suppliers and we continue to buy from them including CPI scooters so we can get you the parts you need.

MRP has original parts for United Motors private label Hyosung bikes and scooters. These are parts made by the OEM Hyosung in Korea and China and sold in the USA under the United Motors name. We are adding them to our website and offering them to our MRP dealers, we are using the same part numbers as Hyosung, the numbers they printed on the parts at the factory to make it easy for US dealers to buy these.

Consumer and Dealers can now use the MRP repair manual section to look up parts for all 40 models formerly imported by United Motors of America from the Moontrax 50cc kids Quad all the way to the Hyosung 250i Ms3 called the Xpeed 250i by UM. Included are the private label unit motorcycles including the 650cc Hyosung and 450cc ATVs. The manuals along with 150 other PDF files are available at the MRP website http://www.martinracingdealer.com/WSW...

MRP is not an agent nor is it affiliated with the companies mentioned in this video. It is a third party solutions provider. All trademarks, logos, markings, are owned by their respective owners. Parts are sold as is where is and are manufactured by their respective OEM.


"Our intent is to provide dealers with an online source of
OEM PDF files they can use to order the correct OEM parts from MRP and to have a resource for legitimate brands that left the market," commented Kerwin Vega the MRP sales manager. He further went to comment " Companies like United Motors were in the US market for over 15 years, Dealer Expo exhibitors for over 10 years, over 50,000 units on the road, plus GE sold over 2,500 United Motor motorcycles and scooters at the NPA auctions in 2010 meaning stores still have plenty of bikes on the floor."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1nSPOW9Qrs&feature=relmfu


In addition MRP has OEM manuals available for stores for
TNG -- CMSI Scooters, QJ, Benelli, Andretti, Cubik K, Powersports Factory, Vento, Diamo LS Motorsports, Italjet America, Malaguti Italian Scooters, Linhai, Pit Motorsports, MH, Xtreme Scooters, CPI Taiwan, CF MOTO, Daelim, Hyosung, Zongshen, Keeway private label units. There are also engine repair manuals, charts, information on tire sizes, spark plugs, and much more.

Privately held United Motors of America ceased its US operations in February 2010. The company continues to operate in Colombia and other parts of Central and South America. MRP purchased the inventory and assets from the banking institutions that held the liens on the company, MRP is not responsible for any warranties, liabilities, or consumer issues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN1pQMJvH3Q&feature=relmfu


Dealers click to download these PDF manuals at: MRP / United Motors:
http://www.martinracingdealer.com/WSWrapper.jsp?mypage=Manuals.htm

MRP is the largest third party scooter parts distributor in the USA many of our parts are made by OEMs but we are not the OEM. MRP is not affiliated with Piaggio USA, Inc. or Piaggio & Co., S.p.A. Hyosung Motors America HMA, S&T Motors, Hyosung, Diamo USA Inc, TNG Scooters CMSI, CPI Scooters, Malaguti Spa, United Motors of America, Keeway North America. Andretti, Benelli, Powersports Factory, RX Loncin Lifan Linhai Zongshen Wangye MS UTVs and CPI Taiwan, Athena, Malossi, Turbo Kit, Innova Tires, Duro Tires, Vee Rubber, Duro, Bando, Gates, Powerlink, Posh, Maxxis, Namura, Scooter Ninja, Slipstreamer, NCY, Koso, are all names owned by these respective brands and not affiliated with MRP.

Any parts purchased at auction or bankruptcy are sold as liquidation items and in no way shape or form are sold as part of the original manufacturer network of sales. MRP is an aftermarket reseller, we are not an agent of any other company and sell compatible parts in many cases manufactured by OEMs as an outside channel.
MRP is not an agent nor is it affiliated with the companies mentioned in its videos or website. The names of the brands are merely used to explain compatibility or the company that manufactured them. For example "for use on a Malaguti scooter or manufactured by Malaguti." That means the part is an original part made by Malaguti Spa of Italy and sold by MRP or is a part sold to be used on Malaguti vehicles made by another party, all Malaguti original parts come in the original Malaguti packaging and were not produced nor made by MRP. This applies to all the parts sold and distributed by MRP.

MRP is a third party solutions provider. All trademarks, logos, markings, are owned by their respective owners. Parts are sold as is where is and are manufactured by their respective OEM. MRP is not affiliated with Piaggio USA, Inc. or Piaggio & Co., S.p.A. Hyosung Motors America HMA, Diamo USA Inc, TNG Scooters CMSI, CPI Scooters, Malaguti Spa, United Motors of America, Keeway North America. All these names and trademarks belong to their respective owners. Bertoni licensed "Vespa eyewear" is sold and distributed in the USA by MRP. MRP is not affiliated with Piaggio USA, Inc. or Piaggio & Co., S.p.A. Vespa is a Registered Trademark of Piaggio & Co., S.p.A

We got the Parts for you Shop! More parts for your scooter than anyone.

More parts for your scooter shop than any other company in the USA! Stop by our booth at the Dealer Expo and sign up today.

MRP BOOTH 5865
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAWSR2kdLG0


EASY TO FIND NEXT TO PEIRSPEED ( MADASS ) - CULTURA SCOOTERS - PIT MOTORS CCW ALL NEXT TO US WE ARE IN THE NEW VEHICLE SECTION OF THE SHOW.

Stop by and check out all the new bikes and get signed up with the largest WHOLESALE only parts company there is for scooters. If you want parts for your scooter you came to the right place! http://www.mrp-speed.com

What makes a dealer a dealer when the internet is taking over?

We'll be talking at the show about what makes a store a store. What is a dealer really? Why do we need stores?

I'm re-posting my concerns on drop-shipping, suppliers in Asian selling on Ebay, and the reliance of the business on online sales.

First off Online cannot give service. Hence why shops like Super Centers sign up local dealers to be approved discount "installers." Most stores charge customers more for buying things on Ebay if they have to install them, makes sense right? Signing up for one of these programs kills your profits. You do all the work and get non of the profit.

Most dealers don't have time to work on a site so they buy a pre-made site like PSN or from a cookie cutter company, but these only work if you promote them. If you feature the same parts as other companies with the same applications how is your site different? There is also a new supply side experiment where consumers buy from the OEM, the OEM auctions the client off to the dealers, and the dealer with the item at the lowest price gets the client. This kills the margins to the dealer.

You see where I am going with this all the trends kill the margins at the dealer. THE STORE GETS SCREWED!

Next up Drop-shipping online. YES, it works. However, in the motorcycle industry it can only work if there is growth and the dealer invests. What is drop-shipping?
it is defined as supply chain management technique in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock, but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in all retail businesses, the retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price.

Drop shipping also eliminates some duplication of effort, since only one warehouse will pick, pack and ship the product. This approach can reduce total inventory management and shipping costs. These cost reductions can subsequently reduce the price to the consume

The drawback is you have to have minimums. If you let people have a drop shipping site with no mechanical experience, no investment, all you are doing is diluting the value of your products. More drop-shippers DO NOT EQUAL MORE SALES.

It's like Leo Vince selling on Ebay and consumer direct. Yes, the Ebay direct and old inventory sales have dramatically increased for them, but do they help the dealers? Does it really increase exhaust sales? Does changing distributors every two years really help the brand grow or are you cannibalizing one sale for another? I don't have the answers but it's one trend in the business.

I think if you have too many drop shippers all selling Homogeneous product all you do is dilute the brand, the dealers, and push the market down. You also make MAP policies impossible to enforce.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLnQL-GaHpg


So you need to have Requirements, Minimums a store needs to meet for them to be considered a DEALER. The first one should obviously be sell only to retail locations and second to someone that can help consumers with tech issues. If every time someone buys something retail on a site the consumer calls the distributor at some point the distributor will ask himself why he needs that guy working from home in his garage.

Small stores can benefit from drop-shipping but they should invest in stocking, knowing the product, and giving support. Then there is MAP. They need to make sure the enforce the MAP policies.

MAP Policies and why you should care:
Minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policies. Some companies cares, most these days don’t. You should find out who you are talking to at the show. Also, if you have a distributor that owns physical stores and an online store that sells direct can he really enforce them?

1. I have a terrible time enforcing MAP, so do most people. This is the truth. You have to trust people. I get an email from one dealer complaining about another, you investigate, you ask him to change his website. It changes for a week and next month he does it again.

2. So MAP is there, but is it enforced?
Thanks to the internet riders are shopping for PG&A on a national level, raising the competition for all dealers. So the Internet does affect you. They don’t care about your costs, your family, your employees, and I hate to say it but even the nicest customer will bad mouth you online if he feels you gave him a bad price. This is the reality of the business. I’ve seen emails from consumers to dealers saying “If you don’t lower the price I am going to trash you on the message boards.” What to do in this case? Some dealers budge and even sell at cost. If you know me, you know I would say offer him a compromise, if he doesn’t agree. Loose the sale. Sometimes it’s better to loose the sale than to compromise your business.

Suppliers:
This is the only industry where smaller repair shops have gotten used to the Ebay mentality. They call another dealer and say I need to buy a throttle cable for a Honda. The guy answering the phone has never done business with him and he’s already asking for a significant discount. Immediately he tells him he can buy it cheaper in China or from another supplier. Now this is all true, but we have to meet minimums to qualify.

Let’s get something straight, we’re not meant to do business with everyone. To be a member of Sam’s Club you have to pay a yearly membership. That’s a good business strategy for them because over 50% of their profits are from the membership fees. You don’t like it, go elsewhere.

Second. Requirements.
WPS, Tucker Rockey and several other big name distributors have looked the other way in recent years selling to people working from home and not checking to see if the dealer closed and some guy still buys and drop ships all day despite working from his house. As the industry contracts this was a necessary oversight as distributors looked the other way. Minimums and complying with requirements are about to come back. The sales reps are visiting dealers again and shutting down fronts and people selling from their homes because they have come to realize it kills their traditional dealers. Distributors and sales reps that don’t enforce this are only asking for pain. The truth is several distributors have been on expansion mode for years just cannibalizing each others sales and killing the dealers.

Parts Unlimited never budged on this. You still have to buy the $5k minimum a year and it’s worth it from every dealer I talk to. Even if you have to compete with Dennis Kirk and other issues, you still need it.

The scooter industry is in shambles. Most distributors don’t care who they sell to and will sell retail all day long. Most exhaust manufacturers in the USA sell more on EBAY than they do to dealers. The respectable ones have dropped WPS, Tucker, even PU and started focusing on direct sales to the public because it’s more profitable than selling to the dealers. That’s the sad reality. This is all in the endless circle of pain caused by the deterioration of the OEM = Distributor = Dealer = Consumer chain. Now it’s factory in China selling on EBay, Pro-Summer working from home drop shipping (in his mind a garage with two scooters equals a business), and the Dealer trying to import scooters and batteries on his own to save a few dollars. This is also quickly coming to an end as EPA sends out fines.

However, parts suppliers especially ones in Asia have no respect for traditional supply lines anymore. They hire agents, they set up fake companies. It is growth at any cost. They sell to WPS, PU, Tucker and others and find ways to sell around them. Nothing personal it’s just the way they do business. Still these techniques invalidate any marketing or hard work our industry does. It’s like all the fake Joe Rocket and Moose items you see on Ebay. It kills the livelihood of people in the business.

In the last ten years not a month goes by without some story of a dealer trying to go around a supplier contacting the factory in Italy, a third party, or a parts manufacturer to buy direct. It’s so common that dealer’s think they are being cute when in reality it just costs you points with your suppliers. If you support you brands they will support you. This leads me to my final point today supporting the brands.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmayLBdH3bc&feature=player_embedded

Dealer Expo a look back 11 years


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psNsq2HDm2w

A look back at the Dealer Expo booth from the last few years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5p2ae9lYWM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5p2ae9lYWM


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN7GBg9XzQA&feature=fvsr

Vinny Di Martino and Cody Connelly (formerly of American Chopper on the Discovery Channel) stopped by the MRP booth to sign autographs with the team from 2Xtreem TV.

Do we have parts? We have more than anyone right now. MEET US AT THE DEALER EXPO


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAWSR2kdLG0

The show is upon us in 2 days!

MRP will be there. Make sure to stop by our booth at the Dealer Expo.

This year it's pretty important that you attend. The industry is changing every single day. A lot of brands have left the market. I think the Dealer Show will show that this year more than any other year, but never fear we are your source for parts. http://www.mrp-speed.com more parts than anyone in the industry.

Come to the Scooter Class sponsored by Scoot! Magazine

This roundtable discussion on “Maintaining a Profitable Scooter Shop” will be hosted at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, by Josh Rogers, co-publisher and vice president of marketing for Scoot! Magazine, and Joel Martin, president of Martin Racing Performance http://www.mrp-speed.com

The roundtable will discuss current and forecasted sales for imported scooter brands from Europe and Asia. The presenters also will provide tips on how to sell unique brands, ensure parts availability and provide seamless parts and service support for customers. Rogers and Martin promise an extensive Q&A session with the audience.

Industry guests will be in attendance.

Located at Room 131
Friday, February 18
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Maintaining a Profitable Scooter Shop

Saturday, February 19
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Maintaining a Profitable Scooter Shop

FIND OUT MORE AT http://www.DEALEREXPO.com

Dealer Expo significant for who is not there and what they don't have

Dealer Expo significant for who is not there and what they don't have!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyEf-twW_58

As we head out to the dealer expo the show this year is really about two things. All the companies that aren't there because:

A they closed
or
B they are about to close.

I think this is going to be a wake up call for many stores. They survived, they cut expenses, they cut employees, but then they get to the show and they lost suppliers. Meaning they have to find all new brands to carry.

There are several companies on the verge of leaving the market and as we move into 2011 we are finally escaping the great fall of 2009-2010 for the industry. I think its important for dealers to know where they can get parts for these brands. You can get cheap Chinese generic parts anywhere, but few places have the variety of brand specific proprietary parts like MRP. You can't buy Malaguti or Aprilia parts from a generic retail website that sells less expensive Chinese parts, you can't buy ZMD or CF MOTO parts which are not generics on these sites. So come to the place that has it all for European and Asian bikes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJItwA8BoDc


So many dealers will be left scratching their heads as they look for their suppliers. Some stores especially the seasonal ones won't know some suppliers closed.
http://www.mrp-speed.com is the largest source of brand name scooter parts now in the US. Don't miss out our booth at the 2011 Dealer Expo this year.

The price of gas is also a factor. Rising gas prices will hopefully lead to higher sales.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFzf10BeqNU

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2 days to go for Dealer Expo

Only 2 more days to go for Dealer Expo. Make sure to come meet with us.


We are right next to Peirspeed / TGB and PIT MOTORS in the New Vehicle Section at the show.

MRP IS NOW BOOTH 5865 AT THE DEALER EXPO 2011 MAKE SURE TO COME VISIT US



MAKE SURE TO ATTEND THE 2011 SHOW IF YOU HAVE A SCOOTER DEALERSHIP OR ARE LOOKING AT OPENING A NEW DEALERSHIP THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE

Highlights of the 2011 Dealer Expo

* All exhibit areas open Friday – Sunday, February 18-20, 2011

* Indiana Convention Center renovation/expansion complete – all exhibits in one building

* Enhanced educational programs, including business, product, safety and entertainment features

* Full implementation of marketplaces on the show floor – 13 product and lifestyle exhibit areas designed to enhance the attendee experience and allow our attendees to make the best use of their time at the show

MORE INFO www.DEALEREXPO.com

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dark Blue Malaguti Yesterday Scooter on the way to work


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hvc9rweyVU
This is a 2005 Dark Blue Yesterday scooter, I see the rider on the way to work every now and then. Great way to start the morning. He's had it for over 5 years, it looks brand new. If you have a Malaguti scooter we still import the parts for the US market you can find all the repair manuals and the parts for Malaguti scooters at http://www.mrp-speed.com check under repair manuals. We have every single Malaguti part available to us and if not in stock we can special order it for your dealer. To find out more about Malaguti visit http://www.malaguti.com


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLtqpgsV3vU



Malaguti is an amazing brand, but due to the slide of the dollar, and the rise of Malaguti product the company had to cease operations back in 2005 for the USA. They've been around since 1930 and they are still going strong in Italy, sadly in markets where scooters sell solely on price they cant compete. Also, Malaguti doesnt manufacture in Asia yet like Aprilia or Piaggio so its impossible for them to compete with less expensive models, its all still assembled in Bologna which is a huge factor right now. Back to the yesterday...it's an amazing bike, it was the best selling Malaguti model in the USA and has a cult following. We sold a ton of them. The whitewall tires and classic look have often been imitated but back in 1998 it was the first to hit the market with all these neat features and cool colors like beige, pink, baby blue....

Malaguti Yesterday Specs:
Single cylinder 2 stroke engine - 49,2 cc
Electric and kick-starter
Forced air cooling system
Automatic choke
Electronic ignition
Automatic transmission by V-belt speed variator
Automatic centrifugal dry clutch
Oval choke carburettor
Reed-valve intake direct the crankcase
Lubrification by automatic mixing pump with separate oil tank
Automatic vacuum fuel tap
High-resistance tubular steel frame
Big capacity petrol tank: 9 litres
Dry weigth: 79Kg.
DIMENSIONS
max length 1700 mm
max height 1050 mm
max width 685 mm
seat height 765 mm
wheelbase 1168 mm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7qSmhQmWFg

For parts you can visit our website http://www.mrp-speed.com and click on repair manuals. Click on find your nearest dealer and they can order the parts for you. the Malaguti Yesterday is no longer imported into the USA, but it remains the best selling Malaguti scooter in America. Loved by many it was the first of many new retro styled scooters to hit the market. Fantastic sales between 2000-2005 the Yesterday remains one of our favorite scooters.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

non-newtonian fluid for your jacket!


non-newtonian fluid for your jacket! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5_n6bOuXkY&feature=related

Will bring some for the dealer show, First Gear also had a tub last year that was bigger than ours so I have to bring more of this stuff to the show.

Parts for European Scooters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRE8Ky0_478
Looking for Parts for Malaguti?
Parts for Benelli?
Parts for Beta Scooters?
How about Derbi parts? or Italjet America? Italjet USA? We have the largest selection of Chinese and European scooter parts in the USA.

You won't find this selection of European scooter parts anywhere else. If headed to the Dealer Expo this year make sure to stop by our booth to talk about how we can help you repair more European scooters. From racing upgrades to accessories we are here to help you.
http://www.mrp-speed.com

Stocking up the store, parts for your scooters!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibrU7fJkPUU

Stocking up the store, parts for your scooters!

This year were going to the Indy Dealer Show and we've noticed that the market has changed from years past. The norm in the industry for brands such as Kymco, Piaggio, Aprilia, Malaguti was that when you signed up to be a dealer for a top tier brand you would have to buy from $1,000 to $5,000 in parts and accessories. What we've noticed at the dealer show is that more and more dealers seek brands that have no buy in.

Basically, they can become dealers for a Chinese brand by buying 2 scooters and no parts whatsoever. They then rely on JIT - Just in Time from the distributor for all their parts needs. This has actually lead to consumers getting less service as well as having to wait on parts ( because there is no way any Chinese distributor has 90% or more fulfillment in the parts department ) having purchased several as they closed I can tell you the number is closer to 70% on warranties. Chinese brands by nature have no P&A requirements, no insurance requirements, no marketing requirements, just the idea that you need to buy more units. This flood the market unit mentality is one of the reasons many stores closed during the downturn the last few years.

So dealers have less money for parts, they stock less, Chinese distributors focus on the factory unit sale mentality which is to push units at lower prices. The truth is for a healthy market dealers need to focus on P&A which is what keeps most companies and dealers open when there are slow unit sales like 2008-2010. When you have a unit sale mentality you leave yourself open to stores that only buy one or two units and can't or won't give good Parts and Accessories service on the brands they sell. Our outlook is different by stocking upgrades, accessories, and OEM parts it will help you sell more and give better service. If the Chinese supplier you are buying units from doesn't offer these items we are here to help you.


Now back to the Dealer Expo. What I have noticed is there are more tire kickers, this is the term that applies just like the consumer shows where people walk in to look, but don't buy. More dealers go to the Dealer Expo and they all claim they will buy there or call you the following week after the show, but the ROI - Return on Investment for the cost of the show is lower and lower for all exhibitors to the point where major companies don't go anymore. As a matter of fact the trend is to forget the store altogether and focus on Ebay or direct to consumer sales. It's a cycle that continues to get worse. So my opinion is look we are here to help you to stock up on the parts for scooters that you need as a dealership to stay profitable. MRP has been at Dealer Expo 11 times and we've come to the conclusion that the show is more about education since smaller shops don't buy the way they did before. It's about making connections so we are there to educate the same way we are helping with the classes, information sessions, and going to the OEM symposium on Chinese companies. Our message is clear. Parts and Accessories can be profitable despite a reluctance form smaller shops to carry them.

We can make suggestions the Chinese companies won't. We can offer you the largest selection of Chinese, European, and Korean scooters. We are the only company in the US for many of these brands such as Daelim or United Motors that have left the market. So if you have questions about how to increase P&A sales, how to stay profitable, come meet with us at the show and we will show you how to do it. Don't wait until the show to get your yearly order in, by phone or email MRP will help you get the right combination to keep your store profitable all year long. If you need repair parts for your scooter store the MRP is your one stop shop for all your Asian scooter parts!
http://www.mrp-speed.com

New Velocifero? Finally? CPI scooters back at Dealer Expo?

There is a rumor that the new Velocifero from Italjet might be at the Dealer Expo this year. I always thought it was a cool looking scooter, I must have been 18 when I saw a picture of Oasis riding around on them.

Is America ready for Italjet?

Also the new 2011 CPI units will be at Dealer Expo. I get about five calls a week about CPI scooters, when will they come back etc.... maybe we'll find out at the show.

Is Mercedes-Benz eyeing two-wheelers finally?

I had heard this rumor before. This is the same trade magazine that also talked about the possible Malaguti/Ducati then the Mahindra possible buyout of Malaguti. This article also mentions what happened when Renault tried to make scooters. It's funny because Mahindra actually purchased the engineering design firm in Bologna down the street Engines Engineering SpA the company that designed the @ for Honda, several Yamahas, and helped with Italjet at one point. Still, this online magazine is always on the money.

Bologna is still in the news these days ever since China's Qianjiang Group Co. Ltd ( makers of Vento, Diamo, TNG, Yamati, BMI, GMI, and a big supplier of parts for scooters to other OEMs ) purchased Benelli back in 2005.

It doesn't surprise me that Mercedes might be looking at another European brand or snooping around to see what is happening over at Ducati. Audi and Mini want to get into electric scooters in the next two years. BMW is set to get back into scooters why not Mercedes?

See article at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshowpics/7467038.cms

A letter from California good way to start the day

One of our repair shop clients handled a lot of Tank bikes since they were near the warehouse before they closed. This client had a major hearing before the board for something that really wasn't their fault, they really believed they could get warranty parts on a new Tank bike. It took us only 10 emails of pictures back and forth but we miraculously found it. Nobody is perfect, we all try our best. The rider wasn't at fault, the store wasn't at fault, and honestly we weren't perfect either it took us 3 tries to get the guy back on the road, but we found the part and it was a happy ending. We saved the store from having to buy the bike back and loosing money when they were barely hanging on.

I do have to point out that the shop has made money by taking trade ins, selling used scooters, and repairing everything they can. However, new bikes you have to provide warranty and in states like California, Arizona, Texas Lemon Laws really protect the customers so you have to be very careful. Most distributors close up shop, but we still provide support even for bikes we imported back in 2000. We are also continuing support for brands that have left the market like United Motors so it's good to see someone get's what we do.

Johnny, thanks for all the support. We hope to see Mike the new service manager at Dealer Expo.

======================================

I won’t make it to the Indy this year. Last year I missed the booth because we only went for one day. Now I’m leaving the store.

Wanted to thank you for helping us with the trade in Malaguti issue we had in Sep without the new title we would never have sold the bike.

You kept me from loosing my job thanks to the letter you wrote on Tank scooters and finding the parts we needed for the DMV hearing. It was $2k in fines and solving that complaint kept the owner from going crazy on me for that piece of crap bike. Tank never had parts and left us out to dry with the lawsuit when they closed. I saw the article you wrote in the magazine about it and I knew it was about us.

The owner of the shop has been doing this for a decade and he will likely be selling the business if 2011 isn't much better, but we all appreciate what you did. The California economy has gone from bad to worse and people look for any reason to sue even on a cheap scooter. We carried several brands of Chinese scooters that have all left or shut down in Cali, nobody knows anything about all these names and companies that disappear the fact that you had parts for a 2005 Tank was a real game changer. This is my last week, I was lucky and found another job. Just keep doing what you’re doing. The new guy Mike has the MRP number on speed dial for the scooters. Keep Riding!

You have my permission to post this on your blog.

Johnny Kasoulek
WSCC, California

Friday, February 11, 2011

Groupon won't work for the small dealer

Groupon is touted by many as a win-win situation for both merchants and consumers.

The Question of the day was - Do you think we should use Groupon to improve sales at our store and scooter website?

I strongly believe the answer is no.

I think for service sectors and maybe even the occasional oil change it works.
For 99% of small scooter dealers or motorcycle shops it will be a death sentence and can backfire on you. If I was going to do a Tattoo removal it would totally make sense. For example www.drtattoff.com recently ran a Groupon ad and it was a huge success for them. They built brand awareness, people used the coupons, and most clients purchased more services. They are the best known removal service in California. However, for a motorcycle store I put this right down at the level of the Chinese discounters who tarnish and destroy this industry because the majority of what we sell is not a service. Using Groupon for a scooter or motorcycle store can push margins down to the point where you cannot make a profit.

The value in a social coupon is foot traffic or people visiting your site. For a new coffee shop it's great, but for a shop selling motorcycles you can't give all your profits away on new bikes or accessories. I'm not a retailer, but the internet is gradually eroding all customer loyalty as consumers search for the next deal. This type of mentality is already prevalent in the Powersports Industry at all levels. Yes, I am being critical of both the store and the consumer but let's face it people will go where they get the best price, not the company that treats them better. Store owners will overlook if the distributor sells consumer direct, and consumers will overlook if its a store they don't care for all for the best possible deal. To save a few dollars they will buy from the Devil.

If WPS has a tire for $20 this week and Parts Unlimited sells it for $25 most dealers will go to WPS this week despite the fact they might miss getting points from PU for their end of the year bonus. The same applies with consumers, but with Groupon the value to consumers is bigger than the value to the small business. The House always wins, but the shop might not further eroding any loyalty and in the case of a motorcycle shop its my opinion they can't afford it. Groupon will make money up front, but the bike shop will loose it long term.

Groupon takes half of the total coupon sales. So while customers may be getting a great deal at 50 percent off scooter tires, merchants are actually losing 75 percent of what they’d normally make on the sale. If you have a new scooter store in town this might work, but doing it long term could run you into the ground. It's not for everyone. Now if you have a new scooter rental program then yes, the coupon might be a great way to let people know you have a service, but for actual goods you could end up loosing money.

Running a promotional campaign with 50 to 75% cost can be easily absorbed by larger stores such as Dennis Kirk, but for small local merchants the cost can break the piggy bank. Consumers win by getting some really great deals on services and merchandise and businesses win because they increase traffic for their stores. It should be the perfect formula for success, but in reality the Groupon model has been less than kind to many merchants and in my opinion will not work for 9 out of 10 dealers. Simply put our volume and foot traffic is too small.

Then again if you have a coffee shop inside your motorcycle dealership or other services like bicycles you could benefit from groupon, but offering helmets, jackets, gloves or any material thing half off will kill the business altogether.

I feel that this discount mentality in consumers is prevalent in our industry as well. Stores tend to buy from every new Chinese importer offering the cheapest scooter that comes out. This a disease that is spreading to the Powersports Industry in general top down and bottom up. Everday it infects more companies. To the point where well known exhaust brands now make $150k to $300k on Ebay deals bypassing dealers and distributors. California scooter companies despite the new EPA crackdown continue to post new scooters for $799 on Ebay.

So if everyone discounts and OEMs sell directly it affects the dealers, distributors, and any growth in our business by attacking the direct client. If anyone has noticed there has been a huge swapping of major distributors like WPS / PU the last few years by exhaust brands, now most brands are going consumer direct. What's worse they don't care who they sell to. Distributors are dropshipping for "Stores" based out of basements for people who can't stock and don't have a showroom who then offer discounts off regular dealer price. So what hope, what incentive is there for the small shop owner?

This disease that Pro-summers and the industry has allowed will lead to the death of small businesses everywhere. As long as every scooter shop owner continues to buy from distributors that stab you in the back and sell direct you are putting a knife into a legitimate small business. What happens when the distributor sells using Groupon and the end user can buy an exhaust at below dealer cost? What happens when more buzz is needed and EBAY for old merchandise isn't sufficient? What happens when the consumer only buys online for the merchant with the Groupon coupon? It just seems to me we are headed to a future where there are no margins.

As long as they sell to people that don't have stores it will lead to a further decline of the industry. If the next step is distributors like exhaust makers and major online retailers using Groupon then the profits are gone. You won't read this in the trades and they won't call it like it is because of fear of the few remaining advertisers. It just seems that we are headed in this new Groupon direction.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe next week every distributor in the powersports industry will be using Groupon, Powersports Network might add it as a feature I don't know. I just know its a mistake for a new store and for stores with thin margins. My advice avoid it, focus on your website for now.

Now if the would stop running those awful ads where they make fun of Tibet I would be happy.