FOCUS – Parts Unlimited Plays Big Role at Indy

Arguably the largest presence at this year’s Dealer Expo will be, again, that of Parts Unlimited and its sister company, Drag Specialties. For example, Parts will feature its new street catalog that runs close to 1,400 pages.
“We view this (Dealer Expo) as a great opportunity to introduce products,” says Greg Blackwell, vice president and marketing chief for the two companies.
Parts Unlimited introduces many new products for the coming year at its annual August Showcase event for suppliers and key dealers and then uses major shows like the Dealer Expo to promote those items to the industry as well as to roll out many new items.
Visitors to the Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties area will see new products and have an opportunity to talk with many of the suppliers whose products are distributed through Parts and Drag.
“We’ll have products from our vendors, and we rely on them to be there,” says Blackwell.
In addition to helping Parts reps work their booth, several vendors also have their own exhibits nearby. Alpinstars will actually have a booth within the Parts area and their own booth, as well.
What’s new from Parts/Drag this year? Here’s just a sample:
– Arlen Ness’ new line of apparel targeted at V-twin cruiser riders will be new for 2005 and will be rolled out for the first time at Indy.
– Icon, the Part’s proprietary brand, will introduce jackets and helmets.
– Moose will introduce motocross products, as well as additions to its utility line and some new hard parts, too.
– AMS, the company’s tire line, will have new wheels and tires in the Parts booth.
– Arctiva will have its new line of snowmobile wear on display. “It’s been a homerun,” says Blackwell. “The dealers are hot about it. We’ve used some on snow racers, and now it’s the biggest thing we’re pushing.”
– SBS Brakes is now doing private label work for Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties. The program involves presenting SBS products in specially-designed packaging for Parts and Drag. The products will be presented as Parts and Drag products “by SBS,” according to Blackwell. Dealers will get reduced pricing on the SBS products, too.
“By tieing in purchasing commitments,” points out Blackwell, “we’ve been able to sharpen our pencils, and, because it’s a house brand, (dealers) will be able to buy about 10% below where SBS has been but still retain good margins.”
Blackwell said that the company’s dealers have been continuing to increase the amount of business they do on the Internet. Today, about 50% of its active dealers use either partsnet.com or dragnet.com. An active dealer makes at least $6,000 in purchases annually.

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