Parts Unlimited Plans $45 million in Facilities Expansions

By Guido Ebert
Associate Editor

MADISON, Wis.—Officials at LeMans Corp., parent company of distributors Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties, said the company’s revenues in 2004 are expected to increase 14% over last year.
The distribution company that fulfills 20,000 orders daily and moves $100 million per year in exhaust pipes is planning a $45 million expansion involving three new distribution facilities, one in Reno, Nev., and two in Canada. Furthermore, LeMans President Jeff Fox says the company’s entry into the European market continues to be discussed.
LeMans Corp. held its annual business meeting here Aug. 29-Sept. 1. The five-day event included a Product Showcase attended by some 160 vendors and more than 1,200 dealer personnel, vendor presentations and closed-door seminars for the approximately 250 Parts and Drag sales reps in attendance.
Alpinestars took advantage of the occasion to unveil a new off-road boot, the Tech 10.
Kyle Phillips, product manager at Moose, said the line of Honda Licensed ATV Accessories has been expanded to include a spotlight, shock covers, cargo nets, utility rope, tie-downs, an ATV whip flag, and a utility tool holder for ATV racks. The private-label line for Honda now incorporates approximately 38 products.
Cycle Country has been building plows “full steam” since May, says Brad Durand, vice president of sales and marketing at the Iowa-based supplier. “Pre-season orders have been great,” he said, explaining that dealers seemed quite interested in the electric blade tilt mechanism introduced this year.
Smith Optics showed its new Fuel Titanium goggle, MSRP $57.95. The company’s Margin Builder Program for dealers runs Aug. 29 through Oct. 31. “Main Event” level requires dealer order of 60 pair for 10% off; “Heat” program level requires 24 Smith goggles for a 5% discount.
Rhinehart Racing and B.U.B. Enterprises are looking forward to another successful year. Not only does Rhinehart produce 70% of the exhausts used by Nextel Cup cars, the brand’ s marketing rep, Larry Coleman, says Rhinehart is banking on sales in excess of $10 million in this, the third year of their partnership with B.U.B. on motorcycle exhaust products.
Coleman said first year sales for the enterprise were approximately $1 million, and second year sales were approximately $6 million. For the coming year, however, Rhinehart hopes to capitalize on brand awareness with its new Moto C-4 exhaust system for ATVs.
Another company involved in both NASCAR and powersports, Ohio-based Cometic Gasket, Inc., was represented by Greg Poe. Cometic offers gaskets for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as well as Honda, Yamaha, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Victory and vintage bikes, plus all major ATV, snowmobile and PWC brands.
Cometic MLS head gaskets for motorcycles are a Viton coated stainless steel material designed specifically for high combustion pressures and light weight higher horsepower engines. Poe said the company’s new AFM material is a chemically blown nitrile synthetic rubber bonded to an aluminum core, ideal for two stamped or machined mating surfaces with out additional sealers.
Over at IMS, Sales Manager Steve Valli says the company is moving more ATV product than the cycle product on which it was founded – gas tanks, specifically. IMS, through a partnership with Roll Design, is offering a number of billet ATV parts, including a steering stem, a variety of foot pegs, brake and shift levers, bumpers and a heel protector.
The Factory 4 is FMF’s best seller. Still, Doug Muellner was in attendance to show TheQ Muffler in titanium. Available to dealers in 45 to 60 days, TheQ will be offered for all popular applications, including KTM.
In other FMF news, Muellner said the company’s streetbike line of exhaust, the Powercore S, is showing improved sales. Expanded applications have assisted market awareness, he said.
Look for FMF and 909 to continue separating as business entities. The two already have different phone numbers and different catalogs.
Renthal America Sales Manager David Kaiser says Renthal ended its dealer-direct distribution, but will continue to move product through Parts Unlimited, Western Power Sports and its other large-scale distributors.
Nick Trumbo, sales and marketing manager at V-twin exhaust specialist Samson, showed the company’s new Caliber pipes featuring a four-step header. These pipes for H-D bikes feature chrome and engraved end-caps. For metric bikes, the company offers what it calls the Black Box – a new ECU to aid air/fuel mapping following customization.
Race Tech, Inc. was in attendance, showcasing its new product for Harley-Davidson and off-road bikes, including new Race tech Gold Valve rear suspension for the KLX/DRZ 110.
Race Tech offers Suspension Seminars taught by company founder and chief engineer Paul Thede — three courses that will allow a dealership to become a Race Tech Service Center. Call 951/279-6655 or visit www.racetech.com for more information.
Representatives of Camoplast said the company is new to the dealer show circuit, but plans to become more involved in the distribution chain by expanding information provided to distributor reps and dealers, working on POP displays and more Key Features and Benefits literature.
Mark Kalpakoff of engine parts manufacturer LA Sleeve attended to show the company’s new Dr. D performance pipe, XR50 and XR100 Big Bore Kits, Pro-X YZ/WR pistons, Pro-X clutch baskets and piston for the Yamaha Raptor.
Chris Jordening at American Wire Wheel says 2004 turned out to be “a really successful year.” Drag Specialties plans to pick up the entire line of American Wire Wheel product for 2005. And, over at Scott USA, Bob Lowry said the four-year-old Voltage series of goggles continues to grow with new models. The chromed Ultimate Hi Voltage, MSRP $84, is “proving to be highly desirable,” he said.
Plus, Joe Majeski of Yuasa said the company is now private labeling batteries for Drag Specialties; Edi Fischer, executive vice president of Motorex, a Swiss company specializing in petroleum-based products, explained the virtues of his company’s new oil for two-strokes; Jesse Jurrens of Independent Cycle, Inc., rapid City, S.D., demonstrated the Legend Air Suspension system for Softails (MSRP $1,500 to $1,800); and Harry McPherson of Nolan Helmets, a unit of Cima International, said Nolan is expanding its product line and now offers a five-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials. psb

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