MUNICH — Among those in attendance at INTERMOT were representatives of U.S. based distributors Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties, Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice, Motorcycle Stuff/Custom Chrome, National Cycle and Western Power Sports.
While in Europe, U.S. aftermarket parts, garment and accessories manufacturers told Powersports Business one of the key barriers to expanding brand presence in foreign markets is a lack of suitable options for distribution. For instance, Jardine Performance Products’ Kerry Bryant said the difficulty comes in finding a full-line distributor. “Since we serve the cruiser, sportbike, off-road and ATV markets, we often have to seek out a number of different companies just to cover one country,” he said.
A German-born former Global employee in California, Holger Mohr is managing director of Global Motorsport Group GmbH, which operates the Pan-European arm of Motorcycle Stuff and Custom Chrome.
Consisting of an 8,000 sq. meter facility with 70 employees, the operation near Frankfurt, Germany, warehouses and distributes more than 6,000 different parts. Mohr touts it as the only distribution company in Europe offering the American “one-stop shopping” experience for dealers.
“The European motorcycle market, particularly in Germany, is not as healthy as it once was,” he said from high atop the MC Stuff trailer parked in the heart of the Munich Convention center. “But we are not only a ‘German’ company, we distribute throughout Europe. For instance, 75% of Custom Chrome Europe’s business is done outside of Germany.”
Like distributors in the U.S., “retailers in Europe can order an item from GMG GmbH up until 4:30 pm, and it will go out the same day via normal UPS, which means we can be anywhere in Europe by the next day or the day after,” Mohr said.
Among Mohr’s biggest concerns are logistics, fill rates and representation, which he called “the cornerstones.”
The company currently employs 25 reps throughout Europe. “It’s important that you have an Italian rep calling on Italian dealers, or French reps calling on French dealers, so that’s an issue that we’ll really keep on top of,” he said.
Product is sourced directly from the supplier. For instance, Warn winches are shipped from the United States, Scorpion exhausts are imported from the UK, Ferodo brakes come from Italy and Motorex arrives from Switzerland.
“We took a selection of the things that were in the Motorcycle Stuff catalog in the U.S., and the rest of the collection we filled with items from Europe along with our own branded product.”
Other stocked brands include Corbin, Kolpin, K&N, Kryptonite, AC Racing, S100, Slime, Tsubaki, Luster Lace Polishes, JT Sprockets, Deltran’s Battery Tender, Motion Pro, Kellermann, Kendon, Teknic and M2R.
“Teknic is our high-end apparel line — we carry a lot of their product — and we took over European distribution for M2R helmets, and also now carry the brand’s off-road apparel line,” Mohr said.
“We’re the only such company here in Europe offering the American ‘one-stop shopping’ experience for dealers. Others specialize in only oils or electronics, or only apparel, or only performance parts. So we ask, ‘Why go through five catalogs when we can offer parts, garments and accessories at competitive prices?’ A dealer doesn’t have the time to continuously go through catalogs all day.”
In Europe, the forthcoming year’s product typically is shown to dealers in the fall so orders can be made and fulfilled by January or February. Mohr said Global specifically designed the display to show dealers that the company is involved in on-road, off-road and ATVs, from LED lighting for show bikes to soft luggage for enduro touring and 3,000 lb. winches for heavy-duty quads.
A large part of the display was devoted to Motorcycle Stuff branded gear, including leather jacket and pants combos, textiles and a selection of gloves.
“We wanted to position these products to be of nice quality, available at a low price, yet provide good margins for the vendors,” Mohr explained. “They’re only available in the Pan-European catalog right now, but Maurice Murray (senior vice president of brand development for California-based Global Motorsport Group) appeared to really like the items, and so they may find their way into U.S. distribution, as well.”
Idaho-based Western Power Sports also attended INTERMOT — not as a distributor, but to display its FLY Racing brand.
“WPS is not a distributor in Europe, but we do sell FLY Racing,” said the company’s Terry Baisley. “We started FLY Racing nearly seven years ago, and now it has grown to be one of the fastest growing off-road brands in the world market. There are exclusive FLY Racing import distributors in 37 countries, and in Europe we now have distribution in most major countries as well as some of the smaller countries.”
In Europe, FLY product is distributed into France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxemburg, Holland and Portugal. Baisley said one company goal at INTERMOT was to investigate further market opportunities, and said the brand has plans to expand into Germany and Spain “and hope to find our way into Italy within the year.”
Has WPS considered expanding its distribution business into Europe? “Well, we have been in Europe for quite a while doing what we do with FLY Racing and we have been keeping an eye open on the European market to better understand it,” Baisley responded. “Who knows what path we will take, but (beginning WPS distribution in Europe) is certainly a viable option.”
While Jeff Fox, Le Mans Corp. president, says the parent company to Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties continues to review the possibilities of entering the European market with a distribution firm, the powersports giant is already doing business in the European Union, retailing its Thor, Moose and Drag Specialties branded product.
Texas-based Tucker Rocky Distributing operates in a similar fashion to Western Power Sports and LeMans Corp. Stephan Ulbrich, director of marketing for Tucker Rocky and Biker’s Choice, says the company supplies its house brands — Answer, MSR, Pro Taper and Quad Boss — to various distributors in Europe.
“Our European business is growing quite well (with Answer, MSR and ProTaper),” Ulbrich told Powersports Business from his office in Ft. Worth. While he downplayed the company’s market approach, Ulbrich expressed satisfaction with TR’s business in Europe, and said TR now has a dedicated staff handling its customers across the Atlantic.

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