INDIANAPOLIS — Hoping to take away some of the risk of purchasing products from Chinese manufacturers, U.S. Warranty Corp. debuted a new warranty program designed exclusively for Asian powersports.
For now, the company has plans to sell its warranties in bulk to either Asian manufacturers or U.S. distributors, with the possibility of adding dealers to the program in the future.
“We’re looking for manufacturers that can spec out what’s in a container coming over,” said U.S. Warranty Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer David Arvidson. “The way the program actually works is that it doesn’t guarantee a warranty on the product, but instead allows the consumer to make a choice at the point of purchase. Once they’ve purchase a qualified vehicle, they have seven days to purchase the warranty online.”
A Case-By-Case Basis
Arvidson says lingering concerns over quality issues on many of the Chinese bikes and ATVs forced them to only warranty qualified manufacturers.
“We only do new units and there are some other stipulations in the program. For example, the vehicle has to be professionally assembled,” he said. “Whether or not they qualify for the warranty is on a case-by-case basis. We really like to see a distributorship, like a parts warehouse in the States, and we like to see manufacturers that are trying to put together an American-style dealer network where you have certain rules and stipulations.”
Other issues the company knows it needs to be wary of when selecting qualifying manufacturers is quality workmanship and parts availability.
“When you walk up to some of these bikes, even the ones brought to (Dealer Expo), some of the rubber floormats are curling and they’re not a precise fit, and lot of times you see headlights that don’t fit quite right,” Arvidson said. “We don’t want that. We’re out to find the quality product where the workmanship and engineering is done right. We’re also trying to stack the parts availability in our favor by selecting importers who are also bringing in in-house warehouses for parts. If parts aren’t available, then parts aren’t available. We’ll do our best to locate those parts, or locate a comparable part.”
Even with some big hurdles ahead of them, the company sees a bright future for its warranty program in the coming years.
“I think this is going to be a huge part of our business, because the Chinese products are going to eventually be a huge chunk of the industry,” said Robert Landis, president of sales and marketing. “Unfortunately the Chinese vehicles are going to hurt some of the other companies and will take business away, and we want to be positioned to be there when they have that market share. We’re used to these higher risk ventures, so we know what’s out there and we’ve done categories like buses and golf carts that other companies don’t do. We’re so committed, in fact, that we’ll have two booths at the Dealer Expo in 2008.”
Copyright 2007 Powersports Business