Puente Hills Motorsports
17435 East Gale Avenue, Suite A
City of Industry, CA 91748
6,000-sq.-ft. dealership built from the ground up in Los Angeles County in 1997. Large, manmade Puddingstone Lake is just 20 minutes away. Carries Polaris ATVs, watercraft, and Ranger utility vehicles, and Suzuki motorcycles and ATVs. Largest-selling segment is ATV. Seven employees.
“Hopefully in a few years the industry will have some idea as to what they’re going to do with two-strokes, because that issue is the only one that’s unclear,” says Lee. “The consumer gets confused and we get confused.” Have the emissions regulations been implemented too quickly? “First the California Air Resources Board [CARB] said they were going to ban two-strokes completely.” (CARB regulates the use of off-highway vehicles. OHVs that meet emission standards receive a green sticker to be applied on the side of the vehicle; OHVs that do not meet the standards receive a red sticker, which limits where and when they can be ridden.). “A year later CARB said, ‘Not really, the two-strokes will be red-stickered. Then after a few years, two-stroke owners got green stickers. Now they say they’re going to grandfather in the 2003 models. It’s kind of bad for us, because we don’t know whether we should order two-strokes or not. For example, if we sell a two-stroke 2003 model now, it will receive a red sticker, but if we sold it last year, it would have been given a green sticker. Yet both produce the same amount of exhaust. They should just give them all green stickers and try to emphasize developing less pollution in the future.”
Reaching the heights at Puente Hills: the Suzuki GSXR lineup of sportbikes (600cc, 750cc, and 1000cc) “are hot sellers — they are just in high demand,” says Lee. “In ATVs, we sell lot of sport quads — the Polaris Trail Boss and the Suzuki LTZ400, LTZ250, Predator 500, and Predator kids’ quads. The trend in personal watercraft is toward turbocharged four-strokes. We also sell two-strokes, but four-stroke is the trend.” Best-selling accessories include sand tires, helmets, and anything for sport quads.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
Lee says his sportbike buyers tend to be a younger crowd, while an ATV and watercraft purchaser is probably a middle-aged family man. “There’s still a growing market for ATVs, which is amazing. We did okay this year with personal watercraft, and hopefully we’ll do better next year. While the reason could be greater demand, it’s also that a lot of watercraft dealers have sold their business and returned their franchise. There are fewer watercraft dealers now than three or four years ago.” Lee adds that Puente Hills Motorsports “is not a big dealership; however, we cater to people who seek personal attention. We spend a lot of time with the customer to see what he needs.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Puente Hills Motorsports devotes three staffers to service and two to parts, and has not made any major changes in either of those areas recently.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
While Puente Hills Motorsports, like most dealers, places print ads in the local Cycle Trader and works with its OEMs on television ads for spring and fall, Lee notices a lot of word-of-mouth. “It’s a sure sale. The longer you’re in business, the more referrals you get, so that’s a positive. Make the initial customer happy, then make sure they refer their friends or family members, then make sure they’re happy. That’s a tried-and-true way to grow your business.” He also notes that Polaris is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, “So they have some special events planned for this fall. We don’t know exactly what yet, but they’ll announce them soon. Hopefully they will be exciting promotions for all Polaris dealers.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“We dealers need to keep in contact with each other and make sure to voice any concerns that we have,” advises Lee. “It is important to continuously concentrate your efforts on those organizations that fight for our industry — those that actually go to legislators and express what powersports is all about. Legislators might have misconceptions brought about by other groups, so we have to say exactly what is happening. That way, legislators see both sides and can decide what’s best for the community.” psb
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