KYMCO USA ventures into 700cc land with UXV launch in Colorado
“This is the next step up for us. It’s not the only step we’re going to take. It’s the next step.”
That’s how Joe Wofford summed up KYMCO USA’s 2014 side-by-side lineup, unveiled in June at a media ride amid the glorious canyonlands of western Colorado.
For starters, the location for the utility side-by-side launch could not have been more ideal for the all-new 2014 UXV 700i. Sheep Creek and the Salt Creek Canyon allowed the two-seat UXV 700i to showcase its fuel-injected, single-cylinder 695cc engine that offers 45 horsepower amid a variety of rocky trails.
“With the launch of the 700, the key thing you’re looking for is power,” said Wofford, KYMCO USA’s vice president of technical services. “Our 500 has always been able to do anything that any other UTV can do. It could do anything the other manufacturers’ vehicles could do, but it just couldn’t do it with the same authority. With the 700, we finally opened up into that market. We’re able to provide what people want, which is power.”
An appealing match for that power is a pricetag that dealers will find enticing. It’s available in five different models. The base is $10,099, with the Turf at $10,599; the HE (True Timber conceal camouflage) at $11,399; the SP (recreation) at $11,599 and the LE (silver) at $11,399. The five packages allow dealers to cater to the needs of a variety of customers.
“We’ve taken the same basic product and expanded it by adding packages,” Wofford said. “On a retail level, if you were to buy those accessories to make that product, you’re going to spend twice the money, so we’ve built them into value packs. That’s how we add product depth with our vehicle line. Nobody ever takes the stock Harley-Davidson out the door. They accessorize it before they leave. We’re providing the customer with those packages ready to go. It really increases the margin for the dealer, too, because we build that into our price structure.”
KYMCO USA’s first-class media event, based out of Gateway Canyons Resort, allowed media members to hop aboard each of the new 700 models over two days of rides that brought extreme elevation changes, glorious landscapes and challenging, technical trails. The media event also allowed KYMCO USA president and CEO Ming Hsin Lee a chance to return to familiar southwest terrain. Earlier this summer, he attended the Rally on the Rocks in Moab, as KYMCO USA serves the official sponsor.
“[Mr. Lee’s presence here] proves how dedicated KYMCO is as an OE in this market,” marketing director Rick Pawelka said. “Mr. Lee is hands on. I don’t know of any other brand that would send their CEO and have him actually get out there and ride everyday, in Moab or here. It says a lot about the dedication.”
The launch of the new UXV 700i, which is joined in the 2014 lineup by the five 500i models, attracted a dozen members of the enthusiast media. Earlier in the week, the 2014 MYROAD 700i scooter, featuring the largest displacement scooter engine available in the U.S., took center stage on a ride from Gateway to Telluride. It was a well orchestrated KYMCO USA power play.
“We’re on a regular pattern now of doing product introductions once a year in a time period where you can do a model-year changeover and refresh the line, and do a booking program with dealers so that they can sell the product in a good time slot,” Pawelka said. “We’re definitely a serious player in the market. We’ve established a pattern instead of just randomly inserting product into the market. It’s exciting, really exciting to be at this level with a company on the way up.”
Dealer with an assist
KYMCO USA took a unique twist on a product launch when it invited one of its dealers to be part of the festivities. Dustin Sweeten owns Powerhouse Motorsports in Pleasant Grove, Utah. An off-roading and snowmobiling enthusiast, Sweeten was called on by Pawelka to select appropriate riding trails for the group. He also lends a hand for KYMCO at the Rally on the Rocks in Moab, Utah.
So Sweeten was more than happy to serve as the trail guide for the media event.
“Mr. Lee rode with me every day in Moab, and you saw him with me on our rides here in Colorado,” Sweeten said. “They are totally behind this product. When I can take a 500cc $9,000 machine and I can outclimb guys in their $30,000 RZRs, that’s cool to me. I thought he was going to put a dent in the bar where he was hanging on. The only thing he would say is ‘You’re crazy, you’re crazy, you’re crazy!’ You saw him pointing out things, taking pictures of the machine. Those are things that go back to the engineers, and something happens.”
Sweeten, who also sells Husqvarana dirt bikes at his store, liked what he saw after two days of riding the UXV 700i.
“There are a lot of good machines out there, but it’s a matter for most customers of what the machines will do for the cost,” Sweeten said. “You can buy two of these for what you’d buy one of some other brands. Unless you’re a sand dune racer, there’s nowhere they won’t go. Slick rock? You can see on YouTube how effective the UXVs are on slick rock.”
Being able to offer a 700 alongside the 500 gives Sweeten added sales opportunities.
“The 500s have been wonderful, and they were within 2 horsepower of any 500 out there,” he said. “They kept the 700 a single and kept that low-end torque, which I like. Some people might say it’s not worth $1,100 to have another 12 horsepower, but I’m guessing most people will opt for it.”