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Doing lakeside work — and that’s no bull!

Dave McMahon, Editor in Chief
July 21, 2014
Filed under Columns, In this issue

I call it lakeside work. My kids wonder what kind of job I have that allows me to push back from the desk on a sunny Friday in June to go to the lake.

“I’m doing work,” usually is met with some sort of sarcasm by the youngsters.

Officially, it was work when the #SparkSomeLife Tour came rolling into the Twin Cities. And the more you can do work in sandals or helmets, in my book, the better. You can check out the scoop on what dealers had to say about the Sea-Doo Spark in the PWC section, but I’ll tell you that several folks I ran into at the beach that day wanted one and they wanted one now. One older guy found out that the demo rides were going to be available, so he drove up from Iowa to see and ride the Spark for himself.

He was among the throngs that could be heard singing the praises of its ease of use and maneuverability, and seeking to take a look at the machines inner-workings underneath the seat. The demo tour staff capably answered all questions, and turned the riders onto some of the Spark’s features.

As part of her attempt to see and hear the feedback from riders after they rode, Sea-Doo North American marketing director Julie Tourville was glad she made the weekend trip from Quebec. She was keenly interested in observing the banter between friends as they started and finished their Spark ride. Tourville is attending the demo tour in select other markets as she ensures the continuing success of the Spark launch.

Her company poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the consumer reveal with a deadmau5 concert in Miami Beach, and the Spark TV commercials have been mesmerizing. But it’s hard to top a viral video, and that’s just what happened when a Spark YouTube video topped 500,000 views less than a week after it was published.

The early morning dealer training session on the lake gave many principals, GMs and sales staffers their first chance to ride the Spark. Some of them finished their morning training sessions on the lakefront, only to settle in for the weekend at their booths to sell more Sparks and other Sea-Doo products. So from what I saw at the demo tour, all the Spark hype is no bull.

Speaking of bulls, I also had to get some work done down in Texas at the Viking VI press launch. The always hospitable folks at Yamaha got the opening night dinner started right by bringing out a couple of longhorn bulls. I first sat atop T-Bone, a 7-year-old boss who weighs about 1,900 pounds. You can see the results of my first encounter in a photo on the cover of this edition of PSB. Those of you who Like PSB on Facebook, alas, first might have seen a similar photo on June 3. So if you don’t like us on Facebook yet, do it now.

We’ll take a deeper dive into the Viking VI in our next edition, but suffice to say that when I was one of six adults seated in the Viking VI on a short demo loop, it never crossed my mind that I was cramped or that my legs were too long. So it was plenty comfortable to me, and hopefully it will bring dealers some comfort to their bottom line.

Speaking of bulls again, I caught up with Scott Fischer, principal of Scott Fischer Enterprises, which owns Harley-Davidson dealerships throughout the country. You can read all about his new Six Bend Harley-Davidson store and retail complex in Fort Myers in the Motorcycle section of this edition. He is high on the prospects for Harley dealers, and this complex could be game-changing in its stature. For starters, when I waiting out a layover in Atlanta on my way back from a KYMCO press ride in South Carolina, I was able to take a video tour of Scott’s press event via the Facetime app. A PR pro simply walked me through the dealership while Facetiming on a tablet, and I could hear the play-by-play of the dealership’s construction chief walking the assembled media (clad in hard helmets) through the store, hammers and saws doing what they do in the backroom. Worked great, and I’d recommend the heck out of doing it to provide folks with more flavor of your product or brand. We can’t all be everywhere all the time, but in this case, it sure made it seem like we could.

By the way, Fischer proclaimed himself “very bullish about business overall. Nothing makes us more money than what we know.”

And what I know after attending the KYMCO 2015 ATV and side-by-side press ride at Big Buck Farm in South Carolina is that KYMCO can be an innovator. The Taiwanese brand stepped to the forefront in reaching new users when it unveiled the UXV 500i G, with the G standing for generator. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen on a side-by-side, and hats off to KYMCO for bring it to market. The 5-kilowatt generator doesn’t take up any space in the bed, and simply provides electrical power to locations that previous were unable to have such power. We had a couple of back-to-back trips this month, so similar to the Vikings, we’ll get insight and specifics on KYMCO’s range of 2015 products in the next edition. For now, you can check out videos from both the KYMCO and Yamaha events on the PSB YouTube page.

Managing editor Liz Keener posted all kinds of cool stuff on our YouTube page over the past few weeks. She’s also been on a serious industry travel schedule, loving every second of it. You can read about her adventures at the Minnesota Mud Nationals at Quadna and her trip to Sabertooth Motorcycles just north of the Twin Cities. And be sure to check out her video of the endo at Quadna.

Liz found several dealers exhibiting at Quadna who were interested in learning more about the PSB Power 50 Dealer Awards program. In fact, one of them planned to complete the dealership’s Power 50 application the following week. It’ll be well worth your time and effort to complete the application. I can’t wait until the Aug. 1 deadline, when we start investigating some of the traits that make the best dealerships perform at a high level. Do you hit your mark with events? Customer service? Service techs? F&I dept.? Pre-owned sales. Since you’re still operating in 2014, each of you has a success story, and we look forward to learning more about yours in the Power 50 application. Apply online at powersportsbusiness.com/power-50.

We’ll celebrate the Power 50 at an award dinner during the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo in Orlando, Oct. 16-17. In the Aug. 11 issue, we’ll announce the speakers who will be providing the dealer training sessions at the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo.

Finally, here’s to a successful future for Tom Kaiser, PSB’s former managing editor. He’s taken some crazy off-road trips during his eight-year tenure year with PSB and our sister publications, and many of you had some memorable times with Tom on the trail.

Dave McMahon is editor in chief of Powersports Business. Contact him at 763/383-4411 or dmcmahon@powersportsbusiness.com.

 

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