45 Oldfield Road
Irvine, CA 92618
20,000-sq.-ft. dealership (occupying half of a 40,000-sq.-ft. building; the rest is leased to an automotive dealership), founded in 1999. Carries Honda and Polaris (including watercraft, excluding snowmobiles); a sister shop across the street sells Ducati and Aprilia. 30 employees total.
“If the economy gets really bad, nobody is going to buy a recreational vehicle,” says senior salesman Brennan McNatt. “We want the economy to be booming. Even when the economy is bad, though, there are still diehard customers whose kids race motocross, so they buy a dirtbike at least once per year.
“We have a ton of motorcycling families in which dad buys a motorcycle for each family member. We sell watercraft in the summer and dirtbikes in the winter, so it all works out.”
Shining bright at Spectrum Motorsports: Honda CBR 600cc and 1000cc sportbikes, Honda CRF 250cc and 450cc dirtbikes, Honda VTX cruisers, both Polaris (utility) and Honda (sport) ATVs, and Honda Aquatrax watercraft.
“We mainly carry Fox gear, and sell more of that than anything,” notes McNatt. “Fox makes everything from clothing to boots to helmets. We also sell a lot of OEM parts.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
McNatt says the average customer depends on what he or she is buying. “The VTX cruiser lineup fits in with the 25- to 40-year-old; sportbikes, the 18- to 26-year-old; and dirtbikes are more varied, since even dad goes riding with the kids.”
Irvine is in the wealthy Orange County section of Southern California, with computer and biomedical companies dotting the formerly orange-grove-covered landscape.
“While earlier in the year we had more financing deals, a lot of people are paying via cash or credit card now,” notes McNatt.
“We don’t get many complaints regarding dirtbikes and kids on streetbikes,” says McNatt. “We don’t sell the pocket bikes, and we don’t want to even bother. There’s a good market — it's booming — but they aren’t legal and they’re chintzy, and thus dangerous. They don’t last very long. By not selling them, we’re trying to protect our service department.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Spectrum Motorsports has a parts staff of 10 (in both buildings) and 10 in service. “Some are Honda mechanics, some are Ducati, some are Polaris, and then there are a couple of service writers and a service manager,” explains McNatt.
“We used to carry a lot of PG&A lines, and we would sell a bit here and a bit there. We have done research to find out what people really buy, so that’s what we carry now — we’ve cut out some of the lines. We want to give people a selection, but it costs so much money to keep items in stock if nobody buys them. You have to go with what people want to buy, which are Fox and Thor.”
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
McNatt says Spectrum promotes itself through TV commercials, and print ads in the weekly Pennysaver and Cycle Trader.
“Of course, Honda has its own promotions for financing and rebates, which are advertised on TV. We also have monthly ‘Bike Nights.’ This month a troupe of professional mini-bike riders will present a demonstration.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“One thing our dealership does very well is to have a personal relationship with the customer,” says McNatt. “We’re very personable — we get a customer, he’s like our friend. Some dealerships are like Costco (a big-box membership store). Customers go there, pick up the bike at the door, and they’re gone. We hold their hand the whole way. We’re not really pushy. If an 18-year-old who has never ridden before wants a CBR 1000, we’ll put him on a CBR 600. Some dealerships would just sell him a 1000cc. Anybody who doesn’t have a motorcycle endorsement is given a pamphlet on street or motocross rider training. We definitely recommend education — and since our finance manager sells insurance, too, he also recommends training. Everyone in the building is into it.”
— Julie Filatoff
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Copyright 2004 Powersports Business