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Motul puts boots on the ground for dealers

By Liz Keener

Oil company expands field staff in effort to strengthen dealerships

Motul has become a well-known name in powersports. With a slew of race sponsorships and more than 160 years of history, including 25 years in the U.S., Motul is easily associated with motorcycle oil. 

However, the company has realized there’s a need for better education on what makes its oil stand out from others on the market. 

“We don’t need to promote the brand as it is. Most people know us because we’ve been around for a long time,” explained Guillaume Pailleret, president of Motul USA, Inc. “What’s interesting is they don’t really know what to know us for. And the more we expand, as we are right now, the more we realize the extent of misinformation or misconceptions about the products we’re involved with, which is engine oil.”

One thing that makes Motul unique is it has more than 200 engine oils in its arsenal, with each designed for a specific purpose. Oils are available for on- and off-road motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, side-by-sides, snowmobiles and PWC. 

“If you’re just running on the weekends on a standard bike, then we have a product for that. If you race, if you take your bike to the racetrack on the weekends, we have a product for that, too. In any case, it’s meant to be the most competitive product on the market,” Pailleret said. 

Motul has built its brand largely through race sponsorships.

Motul has built its brand largely through race sponsorships.

Motul also has a solid history of making oil. Ninety-five percent of its oil is blended in the company’s home country of France, where Motul has full control over the manufacturing. 

“We might be more competitive from a cost standpoint, if we were to be blending across the globe, but we’re extremely old school and conservative when it comes down to that,” Pailleret explained. 

Dealer education

Though Motul has built significant value into its products, dealers and consumers haven’t been educated enough about the offerings and what differentiates them. To that end, Motul USA is adding field staff to represent the brand within dealerships. 

“We’re doubling the amount of people in the field. These are not people that are going to be staying in the office making phone calls or calling new customers. Everything we’re going to be doing is through our distributors — we want to go with our distributors to visit our dealers and do this with them, so we don’t lose information in translation,” Pailleret said.

Motul staff will be joining reps from Parts Unimited, Western Power Sports, and MTA on the road, talking about the oil. 

The dealers already carrying and selling Motul oils tell the company they like the strong brand, the company’s heritage dating back to 1853 and its place as a premium product.

“We go for the premier position of the market, and they tend to make a better margin with our products that they would with some other products,” Pailleret said.

Also, with the aforementioned 200-plus products in its lineup, Motul appeals to a variety of powersports dealerships. 

“It would be much easier if we had five different products, like some other companies do, but this is not who we are. We’re specialists with powersports, but we need to prove that commitment through the finesse of our product base. I think, in essence, this is what makes us different, if not better, than the competition,” Pailleret said.

Once dealers are educated on Motul’s products, the hope is that they’ll pass that knowledge on to their customers to steer them to the premium oil. 

“If customers are not educated enough to make the right decisions with their products, they go with the most common denominator, which usually is, when you don’t know what you’re talking about, the price. But for powersports, when it comes to an engine, it can’t be the only factor. It’s a mistake,” Pailleret said. “So it’s our responsibility, us as a brand and of all manufacturers, to not be average, acknowledge the fact that … running a dealership is tough, and empower them, so they can empower their customers to make a good product decision.”

Looking forward

Before Motul began adding staff, the company moved its U.S. headquarters from Pomona, California, to Cypress, California, to get closer to the motorcycle OEMs based in Orange County. 

The company also announced it will be the Superbike class sponsor for MotoAmerica in 2017. And, it secured a partnership with Roland Sands and Roland Sands Design to be the exclusive oil carried in the RSD retail store and the recommended oil for the company’s custom bikes. Motul oils also will be used by RSD’s Super Hooligans team, as part of the multi-year agreement. 

This year Motul is also hoping to develop an oil specifically for the café racer and vintage bike market, Pailleret told Powersports Business

“I strongly believe that this is tomorrow’s powersports trend right now that’s shaping, and we just want to be a part of it,” he said. “So we’re going to take our time to not just put another product on the market, but understand better what it is people need, so that we can be more relevant on the market.” 

 

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