Sept. 7, 2009 – A whole new way to advertise

MADISON, Wis. — An exhaust system that acts as a moving dealership billboard?
That rather strange-sounding scenario is actually occurring as a result of a new etching process that exhaust manufacturer LeoVince presented at Showcase 2009, the dealer aftermarket show held Sunday, Aug. 23, in Madison, Wis.
The etching, which could include artwork or words or a combination of both, will be available on LeoVince’s SB Unlimited Exhausts, which are designed for a number of popular sport bike models.
“Realistically, it’s a tattoo for your exhaust,” Tim Calhoun, executive vice president of LeoVince USA, said of the etching. “It’s extending your lifestyle, your persona onto your bike.”
The process will work this way: After a consumer buys an SB Unlimited exhaust system from a dealer, they’ll log on to LeoVince’s Web site and select artwork, or download their own, and one of 20 or so fonts. Once they’ve designed their etching on the Web site, they’ll ship the exhaust to LeoVince’s U.S. facility in California. Consumers will pay the freight to send the exhaust, which comes packed in a ready-to-ship box. LeoVince will receive the exhaust, complete the desired etching and ship the product back to the consumer, as well as pay the freight.
Calhoun believes the etching process, available for $100, will be popular among bike clubs as well as members of the military. However, another group also has expressed an interest: dealers. “That was something that kind of surprised us,” Calhoun said.
Several dealers have inquired about etching their store name or logo into the exhaust system to market their store. They also are placing the etched exhausts on new units — depending if state regulations allow that — to entice new bike buyers. Calhoun said the etching process, done by a laser, does not weaken the cannister. “You’re removing a very thin layer, but not enough to matter,” he said.

A charged up part of the industry

MADISON, Wis. — The challenging economy hasn’t been a drag on the entire industry. Take Rick’s Motorsport Electrics for example. The family owned business that builds charging, starting and ignition systems is reporting increased sales.
In fact, the Hampstead, N.H.-based company recently added to its production staff to keep up with orders, owner Rick Shaw said at Showcase 2009.
“Like (LeMans Corp. CEO Fred Fox) said the other day, a golfer will always go golfing,” Shaw said. “He may not buy a new set of clubs, but he’ll always go golfing.”
Rick’s is seeing the same scenario in the powersports industry where new unit sales are down but service item sales are holding steady, if not increasing. For Rick’s, in fact, sales are up at least 10 percent over a year ago, Shaw says.
Shaw, whose company also builds parts for snowmobiles and PWC, has seen similar patterns in the ATV segment where his sales also are up over last year. PSB

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