We had an interesting discussion to try to find the appropriate headline for Liz Keener’s cover story on the AIMExpo launch in this edition of PSB. After we managed to come to the reality that the event is already here — gulp! — there was consensus among the editorial staff that AIMExpo will recharge the industry. Throw in some spot-on design work from PSB senior art director Dodi Vessels, and we have what we think is a gem of a cover.
Speaking of gems, be sure not to miss senior editor Tom Kaiser’s story on the braking technology being invented by Hayes. Disruptive and game-changing, as we like to say, just like the new Sea-Doo Spark and its $4,999 MSRP.
Showtime is here!
AIMExpo truly is a groundbreaking event, and we’re proud to be hosting the dealer training seminars at the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo. With 40 sessions across four tracks of topics, we’re especially honored to have such strong support from the industry at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
ADP Lightspeed, of course, continues to do everything they can to help dealers grow their business, and stepped in immediately as our partner in launching the Powersports Business Insititute @ AIMExpo. ARI Network Services (Sales & Marketing track in OCCC Room W204C), Dominion Powersports Solutions (Digital Solutions track in Room W204B), FreedomRoad Financial (Service & Operations track in Room W204A) and McGraw Powersports Group (Powering Profits track in Room W203C) also have stepped up with their support of the training sessions. Combined, all of them will make your debut at AIMExpo one to remember.
ARI’s support of dealers continues with their sponsorship of the Power 50 Awards Dinner, which we’ll celebrate Thursday, Oct. 17 at an invitation-only event in OCCC Room W204C. We’ll gather the Power 50 members who are in attendance at AIMExpo and share their experiences over dinner. You’ll get to know the Power 50 winners — and the No. 1 dealer — in the November 4 edition of PSB.
Dealers handed positive news at Kawasaki meeting
Dealer meetings continue to be a way for retailers to get an up-close look at the business propositions, products and technology that are driving OEM growth. That was certainly the case last month in San Diego, when Kawasaki held its Dealer Business Meeting in San Diego.
The importance of the meeting, which introduced new 2014s from several product segments, rang true merely by the infusion of executives from Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Among those on hand from the parent company’s Japanese headquarters were Hiroshi Takata, senior executive vice president, Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI); Shigehiko “Scott” Kiyama, president of KHI Motorcycle & Engine Company, and former president of KMC; and Masafumi “Masa” Nakagawa, general manager of marketing & sales, KHI Motorcycle & Engine Company. Their presence at the event didn’t go unnoticed by dealers, who were given more reason to expect positive trends with the brand when company officials illustrated its bi-monthly order periods, and the impressive effects they are having on dealer inventory levels.
Dealers also were treated to the launch of the “Kawasaki Strong” three-year limited warranty program for all 2014 Kawasaki Teryx and Mule side-by-side vehicles. Company officials report that it’s the longest standard warranty in their respective segments, covering both private and commercial use.
“It also clearly reinforces for consumers the engineering excellence and long-term durability built into every Kawasaki side-by-side,” Bill Jenkins, vice president of sales for Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., told me.
The Gaslamp Takeover in San Diego’s most famous neighborhood proved to be an ideal gathering place for dealers to renew acquaintances and celebrate their retail success stories. San Diego has hosted Kawi dealer meetings in the past, and once again met the requirements of Kawasaki.
Dealers from near and far told of solid growth patterns from the brand, with Latin American markets at the top. Jenkins said KMC’s U.S. sales are “in line with our forecasts and current industry trends.” Jenkins also offered that the Teryx and Teryx4 side-by-sides, Ninja 300 and Ninja ZX-6R sport bikes, KX250F and KX450F motocross bikes and the Mule 4010 Trans4x4 UTV “are all selling well-ahead of their anticipated volumes.”
The 2012 launch of the Ninja 300 at Times Square in New York City continues to bear fruit.
“Ninja 300 sales have far exceeded our initial forecasts, and has really been a home run for Kawasaki,” Jenkins said. “The new 636cc ZX-6R’s class-leading performance and high-tech features are beginning to penetrate the middleweight sport bike segment and it is beginning to live-up to our initial expectations.”
Similarly, the Teryx and Teryx4 appear ready to make gains in the side-by-side market. Dealers, at least, are sharing their enthusiasm with Kawasaki officials about those vehicles.
Dealers also learned of a significant upgrade to the Good Times Protection Plan extended warranty, which is now called Kawasaki Protection Plus and offers several enhancement for customers such as: included roadside assistance, available prepaid maintenance and enhanced coverage options like GAP protection and tire and wheel coverage.
The designers and engineers didn’t go away from the meeting without some time in the spotlight. Slick-surface ABS demo/training sessions allowed dealers to experience the effectiveness of the anti-lock brake (ABS) systems fitted to many of Kawasaki’s street legal motorcycles.
So yes, San Diego was yet another in the list of memorable and worthwhile dealer meetings for Kawasaki dealers.
What’s an info-packed edition of PSB without a data oversight in the F&I Focus section? We erred in the Sept. 9 edition in our coverage of GE Capital’s 2013 Retail Finance Study on page 17.
The correct sentence is: More than 80 percent of consumers start their search online from home — up 20 percent from 2012 — and spend an average of 65 days researching their powersports purchase (up 14 days from the 2012 GE Capital Retail Finance study).
Dave McMahon is Editor in Chief of Powersports Business. Reach him at email@example.com or 763/383-4411.