Betting on improved sales in small U.S. markets and continued aggressive sales programs, Genuine Scooter Co. is anticipating growth in the coming year.
Company founder and President Philip McCaleb believes 15 percent growth in the company’s vehicle registrations this year over 2009 is possible as Genuine Scooter works to build on a successful fourth quarter.
The entire scooter industry slumped in 2009 after sales skyrocketed in the gas price hikes experienced in the spring and summer of 2008. With a double whammy of lowered gas prices plus weakened consumer confidence, scooter retail sales as reported by the Motorcycle Industry Council fell dramatically, off 59 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year.
Genuine Scooter Co. worked to improve dealer inventories by putting together a fourth-quarter consumer sales package called “Dressed for the holidays!” The sales promotion provided up to $500 in bolt-on accessories for a new scooter.
“It allows all the dealers to have the extra push they need to get somebody to buy on the perception of added value rather than with deep discounts,” McCaleb said of the holiday program.
It obviously paid off as Genuine saw a 23 percent increase in vehicle registrations in November and December compared to the previous year.
Genuine also reached out to its consumer base, sending Christmas cards this year to each and every person that purchased one of their scooters during the past five years.
“It was just to make a point,” McCaleb said. “And the point was, ‘We care and we’ll prove it.’”
Genuine Scooter, which has its bikes manufactured in Taiwan, is hoping to expand that list of new unit consumers in the coming months by adding two new products and expanding its dealer base. The latter includes small-market dealers, which will not have the same volume expectations or flooring and security requirements that larger market dealers have, McCaleb says.
“We modified those to make it easier for people to become Genuine dealers,” he said.
The entire Genuine dealer network will have two new products this year, with a third product likely coming in the fall as a 2011 model. The new vehicles coming this spring include the four-stroke, 150cc Stella, which has an EPA-rated 140 mpg, and the 2011 Blur SS220i, a 220cc air-cooled, four-stroke bike that McCaleb characterizes as a “sport bike scooter.”
The Blur (MSRP:?$3,899) will be the highest-displacement scooter Genuine will offer until its 2011 line, which is likely to feature a 300cc model. McCaleb says the Blur (estimated mpg of 78) will be a limited-edition model as Genuine still expects most of its sales to come in the 50cc-150cc range.
The Blur “is designed for the guy who has a 10-20 mile commute each way and needs to get out on the open road or highway and travel at speeds of 70-75 mph very comfortably,” McCaleb said.
The Blur was originally introduced in 2006. The 2010 model will possess a number of upgrades, including 13-inch tires. “We waited until we had the right combination of stuff to create a reliable, fast, much more long distance scooter that is more sport bike than cruiser,” McCaleb said.
Meanwhile, the classic-styled, 150cc Stella, which has an air-cooled engine and four speed manual transmission, will be making its first appearance in California as it will be 50-state certified.
— Neil Pascale