Powersports Business editor in chief Dave McMahon was glad to accept an invitation to attend the Hisun Motors USA dealer incentive trip to the Hisun factory in China from April 9-16. This week, we'll share some photos from the journey, with different locations featured each day. Dave made his third trip to China in three years; the powersports industry is that global, folks! Ryan Daugherty, vice president of sales and marketing at McKinney, Texas-based Hisun Motors USA and the host/go-to guy for the trip, knows China like the back of his hand. It was not, in other words, his first rodeo!
As everyone in the industry knows, travel partners can make or break a trip like this. Fortunately, our travel group of 10 encountered a grand total of 0 personality clashes. No "what was he or she thinking?" moments; instead, it was just a bunch of appreciative and interested Americans enjoying the opportunity to experience the Chinese culture, and tour the factory where the ATVs and side-by-side that they sell by the truckload are made. Some of us were thankful for the stomach ailment remedies, and others bowed out to jet lag a time or two, but it rated a 10 out of 10 as travel companions go.
In addition to myself and Mr. Daugherty, our lineup for the quick week included Hisun's top three U.S. dealers:
- Dave and Christine Ballard, owners of Ballard Golf Cars and Powersports, Couer d'Alene, Idaho
- Dave and Dawn Luce, owners of TNT Automotive Sales, Inc., Billings, Montana
- Javaughn and Bridgette Spencer, Lowcountry Powersports, Beaufort, South Carolina
- Also, Hisun Motors USA regional sales managers Dona Thach and Steven Starkey.
Needless to say, it was the first trip to China for everyone except Ryan and me. And you'll learn all about how they sell so darn many Hisun ATVs and UTVs in the upcoming edition of PSB.
The trip itinerary looked like this:
Sunday — Arrive in Chongqing via Shanghai or Beijing. (It's a 2.5 hour flight from Beijing). Stay at the impressive Country Garden Phoenix International Hotel in Chongqing
Monday — Day at the sprawling Hisun factory.
Tuesday — Check out of the hotel and return to factory for R&D and new model discussions with Hisun execs; check into the JW Marriott in Chongqing city center.
Wednesday — Dealers had their own agenda, but Dave opted to renew acquaintances with Zoe Fu, the former editor of the now-defunct China Motor Magazine, an English-language publication that covered the Chinese motorcycle industry. Dave and Zoe met a few years ago at the Taiwan show, and, as luck would have it, Zoe is now the general manager of the Ducati dealership in Chongqing. The store is neighbors with a KTMR2R shop, and MV Agusta will be joining the neighborhood in the coming months. Following that journey, Dave hopped in a taxi for a short trek down the same road to visit the Chongqing Harley-Davidson dealership, passing a Can-Am/Sea-Dood dealership along the way. The Yangtze River Cable Car was an ideal way to get back onto our side of the river, and let's just say the number of Americans in our particular car were quite limited!
Thursday — Fly back to Beijing. We were greeted by familiar tour guide Alice after gathering our bags. She was our tour guide last year also. Call me if you're going to Beijing and want to get connected. She's exceptional. She even wanted to listen to my interviews with the dealers on the bus ride to learn more about the industry. After lunch at BLT, a Western operation that had a menu complete with hamburgers and chicken wings, we were off to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Alice once again was full of insight about all aspects of both sites. Check into the JW Marriott in the Central Business District, next to the Ritz Carlton, and rightfully so. When in Beijing, stay at the JW. It's that good. Some of us spent some quality time checking out the sites and sounds of Sanlitun that evening. Even found a good pizza spot.
Friday — Tour the Mutianyu Great Wall after a brief stop at the Olympic village and Bird's Nest. After using ski lifts to take the trip up to our starting point at the Great Wall, we all took the alpine slide, or toboggan, to bottom. It's less than two hours by car toThe alpine slide ride down was, as always, one of the highlights of the great Wall trip. Plus, it's not every day you get to talk ATV and UTV sales with a dealer while hiking a few watchtowers of the Great Wall! Shopping at the HongQiao Pearl Market after a wicked ride in the traffic on the way home. A few from the congregation continued shopping that night at the Silk Market. Dave, on the other hand, found an Italian BMT at Subway and called it a night.
Saturday — Depart Beijing and arrive in the U.S. Dave's wife promptly handed him the keys to the car and without a lot of fanfare and requested that he bring one child to soccer practice, pick another up from lacrosse and be the chaperone for a third while she embarks on driving practice. As Dave's wife welcomed: "You ain't in China anymore!"
Scroll below for photos from early in the trip.