June 13, 2011 – Didja hear about the new editor at Powersports Business?

Didja hear that Powersports Business has a new Senior Editor? Apologies for the late introduction. Day 2 of my venture began with an interview of an OEM CEO, and I’ve been battling a flurry of powersports acronyms ever since.

As one executive mentioned as I’ve started to make introductions, getting a handle on the position “must be liking trying to take a sip from a firehose.”

Funny stuff, I thought, and accurate. The news and information that Powersports Business provides to its readers originates from some well-entrenched sources in the business. Associate editor Liz Hochstedler has been on the powersports beat for less than nine months and works the phones and data like a seasoned veteran. Dealers and business owners with whom I’ve spoken are always eager to lend a hand. Hopefully you’ll do the same.

I’ve written for a handful of different daily newspapers, magazines and websites and have never been one to hesitate from taking the plunge, regardless of the subject matter.

That’s why I went to Newnan, Ga., last month to see Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation’s state-of-the-art technology at its manufacturing plant there. It gave me a whole new appreciation for “Made in the USA” and was an ideal introduction to powersports manufacturing and production.

I spent five years growing up in Newnan, and while the small town environment has changed over that time span, the hospitality has not wavered one bit. I stopped into Sprayberry’s — the barbeque there is as much a staple of the town as is the “Newnan City of Homes” sign atop the Carnegie Library on the town square — to investigate the crazy growth that’s happened in the area.

One patron summed up the area growth well, southern drawl oozing: “No sugar, it ain’t like it used to be around here.”

But it’s still where I grew up, and 25 years later it still offers reliability — I can always go back.

You’ve probably noticed some changes on the pages of PSB in recent months, also. Don’t worry, like your old hometown, PSB is always going to be reliable — evolving and using fresh approaches to help the varied backgrounds of our audience stay connected.

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The passion I’ve seen upon entering the business is remarkable. I plan to use a mix of my journalistic background and entrepreneurial flair to make Powersports Business a vital part of your day, both electronically and in print. As the first two OEM CEOs (there go the acronyms again) that I’ve met told me within minutes of their introduction, Powersports Business plays an important role in the industry on a variety levels. My response? “It’ll stay that way.”

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your businesses.

In the meantime, I’ll be around, asking “Didja hear…”

  • Didja hear about Harley-Davidson dealers showing positive retail trends in May? According to a research note published by RBC Capital Markets on June 2, analyst Ed Aaron found in speaking with Harley dealers that Harley’s U.S. retail sales likely grew “at least in the mid-to-high single digits in the month of May. This compares to low-single-digit declines YTD through April.”

    The RBC Capital Markets report also showed that in spite of “poor spring weather conditions, U.S. retail sales are at least flat year-to-date through May.” The report also says that dealers “are generally content with current inventories and are looking forward to the early release of certain model year 2012 products later [in June].”

  • Didja hear about KTM motorcycle sales? One dealership indicated to PSB that sales are on the rise. The 350 in particular stood out and sold out early in the season. For off-road sales at this dealership, KTM had worked its way into a three-way tie at the top with Yamaha and Kawasaki.
  • Didja hear that India Yamaha Motor reported a 55 percent increase in total two-wheel unit sales to 38,812 units in May? The company sold 25,033 units in May 2010. The recently launched FZ series got credit for the spike.
  • Didja hear that Factory Recreation in Midland, Ont., continues to take advantage of its south Georgian Bay location? Joey Sagan, whose father Doug has owned the dealership for 27 years, said the dealership is once again on target to sell at least 150 Sea-Doos and another 100 BRP boats this season. Factory has already sold more than 50 Sea-Doos.

    What’s more? Factory is investing in a DMS from ADP Lightspeed and adding a storage facility.

    “Why not? It’s time,” Joey said. “We’re growing. We took on three new lines — the Can-Am Spyder, Kawasaki and KTM. We’re growing right now. Business is good and we’re in a good market.

    “Our service sets us apart. If we don’t provide our customers with the service they want … I guarantee you we’re more expensive than the guy down the road, but you pay for what you get here.”

  • Didja hear that the Yamaha YZ450F (71 units), Kawasaki KX450-E (68) and Honda CRF450R (67) had the top three individual sales among new off-road cycles in March, according to R.L Polk data? Check out the latest Polk data available only in PSB on page 19.
  • Didja hear that that overall same store unit sales at U.S. dealerships in May were up by more than 5.9 percent from the same month a year ago, according to ADP Lightspeed (page 9)? Major units were up by 15.1 percent in the South and 9.6 percent in the West. The Northeast was down 3.3 percent and the West was down 3.9 percent from May 2010.

    Here’s how recent months have compared in overall same store sales:
    April: 3.6 percent increase
    March: 6.6 percent increase
    February: 15 percent increase
    January: 5.8 percent increase

  • Didja hear about the 20 groups that are making plans to hold meetings in conjunction with Profit Xcelerator in Las Vegas? If you’re bottom line is important to your business, we’ll see you there.

    Dave McMahon is senior editor of Powersports Business. He can be reached at dmcmahon@powersportsbusiness.com or 763-383-4411.

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