BOISE, Idaho — FMF Racing’s partnership with a European aftermarket company — a rare alliance for the California-based manufacturer — is continuing to evolve.
FMF National Sales Manager Doug Muellner said STM, an Italian company known for its sportbike clutches and accessories, earlier this year committed to working through FMF to distribute its street and Ducati products.
FMF and STM’s partnership, which previously was limited to STM’s dirt and supermoto clutches, started in 2003.
“It’s been very unique,” Muellner said of the partnership that has FMF serving as a U.S. technical and marketing liaison and to a lesser extent, a distributor, for STM.
The partnership has paid off for both sides, Muellner said, as STM’s U.S. business has grown a “strong six figures, almost seven figures.”
Does that mean FMF will look for partnerships with other overseas companies? Muellner, working FMF’s booth at the Western Power Sports national sales show in Boise, Idaho, said no.
“We’re not interested in being a distributor, by any means,” he said. “We’re pretty solely focused on FMF and developing and marketing FMF.”
But the technical nature of STM’s product seemed a good fit with FMF’s own product line. That led to the two companies meeting initially at EICMA in Milan, Italy, in 2003.
“They were looking to make inroads (in the U.S. market) so it made sense for them to partner with us on the dirt bike and supermoto side because they realized that was their most untapped market,” Muellner said.
For two years, FMF bought STM’s slipper clutches and then sold them directly to dealers. This year, FMF agreed to sell STM’s dirt and supermoto clutches through Parts Unlimited, although FMF still does some direct-to-dealer sales.
STM’s street and Ducati street sales will appear in Parts Unlimited’s 2007 catalog, Muellner said.
“We’re still a key part of that equation because it’s a technical product,” he said. “And let’s face it, at the distribution level, they typically won’t have that level of expertise.”
So FMF will continue to market STM’s product at shows, including the upcoming annual Parts Unlimited sales event in Wisconsin, and use its racing connections to strengthen STM’s ties in the market.
“Honestly we weren’t looking for STM originally,” Muellner said of the partnership. “It just piqued our curiosity and we explored it a little bit more.”
The two companies also are exploring if they can expand their partnership.
“We’ve talked about sharing some type of manufacturing,” Muellner said, “There’s nothing planned, but it’s not without possibility.”
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business