By Karin Gelschus
The exclusive U.S. distributor of CFMOTO products said the Chinese OEM will be entering into the larger-displacement motorcycle and PWC markets in the near future.
CFMOTO Powersports, based out of Plymouth, Minn., will be showing off other new products at the upcoming Dealer Expo, says President Lev Mirman, including a smaller UTV. But the company also is looking down the road.
Mirman says the company has two on-road motorcycles currently in testing. One has a 650cc engine and the other has an 800cc engine. Currently, the U.S. distributors offers scooters and motorcycles with 250cc engines or smaller.
Mirman said the 650cc unit will be “completed by the end of this year, but we won’t release it until next year, probably at the Dealer Expo 2011.
“The 800cc is the same thing,” he said. “It’s also done and in testing, but it won’t be released until next year. They want to put some miles on it. CFMOTO won’t release anything until we’re absolutely sure it’s good.”
Besides adding to its line of off-road and on-road products, CFMOTO also is monitoring dealer inventory closely. Mirman says the company will delay the introduction of 2010 models to help dealers improve their inventory levels.
The new UTV — the Z6 that features a liquid-cooled, 600cc EFI automatic engine — will be introduced in April, but Mirman adds the rest of the 2010 models will be delayed until the 2009 models are gone.
“We’re somewhat overstacked,” he said. “We’re not going to introduce the 2010 models until we sell out of our current inventory. We’re offering large discounts on the current inventory. This is for the dealers’ advantage.”
Like unit sales, the aftermarket segment also has been challenging, says Mirman.
“We hope that the Indianapolis show will re-launch things,” he said, referring to the Dealer Expo.
Early last year, CFMOTO partnered with Cycle Country Accessories and Customer Products. The later is finishing up enclosures for UTVs, says Mirman. Those also will be debuted at the Dealer Expo.
“We’re looking to expand the accessory area,” he said. “We’re looking for partners in accessories.”
Another area CFMOTO is working to break into is PWC, but that is at least a year down the road, notes Mirman. “They’re saying the watercraft will be ready in 2011,” he said of the parent company in China, “but my guess would be that it’ll be ready in 2012.”
Like most OEMs, CFMOTO Powersports lost dealers last year because of reduced consumer demand and the resulting drop in retail sales, so the U.S. distributor will work to gain back some ground this year.
“Last year was really bad for the powersports industry as a whole. We were not the exception,” he said. “Our dealer network shrunk. We lost about 30 percent (of its dealers). This year is a new year, so it’s time to start again.”
The new vehicle releases and expansion of the company’s aftermarket accessories, says Mirman, are giving CFMOTO reasons to have a positive outlook.
“We want to forget the last year and look forward,” he said. “It’s time to move on.”
CFMOTO is owned by ChunFeng Holding Group out of Hangzhou, China. The U.S. distributor, CFMOTO Powersports, has five distribution outlets in the United States and a parts and accessory warehouse in Plymouth.