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March 13, 2006 – Distributor Report

March 13, 2006
Filed under Features

Fairchild Sports, Oxtar end agreement
Oxtar-brand boots are no longer carried by Fairchild Sports, but are instead distributed by Helmet House.
Fairchild Sports and Oxtar recently announced a mutual agreement to end their distribution partnership.
Fairchild Sports stopped accepting orders for Oxtar boots on Feb. 23, but will continue to honor warranty claims for 12 months, through February 2007, on any Oxtar boots previously purchased through Fairchild.
Fairchild Sports says it hopes to concentrate on its core brands and OEM business. Fairchild’s brand mix includes the Hein Gericke brand of motorcycle gear and the G-Line for Women, as well as Held gloves and Schuberth helmets. The company’s OEM customers include Harley-Davidson, Honda and Yamaha Genuine apparel.
Fairchild Corp., McLean, Va., consists of three segments: sports and leisure, aerospace and real estate operations. Fairchild’s sports and leisure segment, based in Tustin, Calif., and known as Fairchild Sports, is comprised of Fairchild Sports, Hein Gericke and PoloExpress. Together, Hein Gericke and PoloExpress operate 232 retail shops in Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Tucker Rocky Distributing acquired the Firstgear brand of apparel and accessories from Fairchild Sports, and began handling all inquiries regarding Firstgear sales and distribution as of Aug. 19.
Lincoln Plating to Hold Technical Conference
Lincoln Plating, a supplier of finishing products and services, will host its biennial technical conference, Finishing 2006, May 9-10 in Lincoln, Neb.
The event is designed to provide attendees with proven strategies on how to compete and succeed in manufacturing in the global marketplace, with special emphasis on building strong supply chains, improving operational efficiency and employing creative approaches to problem solving. The event will include technical sessions on finishing techniques and trends, tours of Lincoln Plating’s operations, as well as professional networking opportunities.
In 2004, more than 120 representatives from automotive, hardware, recreational vehicle, white goods and other industries from across the United States attended the event.
For reservations or additional information, contact Melanie Nebesniak at 402.473.2126 or at Finishing2006@lincolnplating.com
Lemco Management Group, Inc. Partners with MIJ, RpmOne
Lemco Management Group Inc. has partnered with Motorcycle Industry Jobs.com (MIJ) in an effort to expand consulting and staff training services for its member dealers.
The first part of the two-prong deal offers powersports dealerships belonging to the Lemco Group up to 25 percent off retail pricing of a single, 30-day help wanted ad on Motorcycle Industry Jobs.com. The ad usually retails for $129.
The second part of the deal offers a more personalized dealership staffing service available to the entire powersports industry, not just Lemco members.
Learn more about the recent partnership by visiting www.MotorcycleIndustryJobs.com.
In another Lemco Management Group Inc. deal, the company has named RpmOne its preferred provider of finance and insurance-related aftermarket products. The move serves to assist Lemco dealer members in finding quality F&I products and professional service.
RpmOne has been providing dealers across the nation with F&I products for seven years. The company offers products such as extended service contracts, GAP, theft protection and tire and wheel warranties. The RpmOne product suite also includes marketing products, such as customized Loyalty, Gift and and Prepaid Maintenance card systems, sales follow-up letter programs and the RpmOne Drive Card financing program.
“Given the growing importance and complexity of the F&I department, we know that having the right mix of F&I products and services is critical to the success of our dealers,” said D.J. Stringer of Lemco.
V-SEPT teams up with Suzuki and 50 Below in separate moves
V-SEPT, Inc., a Florida-based developer of sales enhancement tools, has announced two partnerships, one with Suzuki and one with 50 Below.
The Suzuki partnership will allow the V-SEPT Powersports solution to be integrated into the OEM’s Sales P.R.O. (Professional Retail Outlet), an electronic sales tool that interacts with Suzuki sales personnel and customers. The system’s database stores customer information, Suzuki product configurations, pricing and accessory information and allows sales management to track the popularity of models and accessories. The system also allows customers to build a 3-D model of their custom vehicle in real-time by changing the color and adding accessories, such as chrome details, bags and lights.
The V-SEPT Powersports solution, launched in early 2005, has a database containing up-to-date vehicle specifications, product reviews, N.A.D.A. trade-in values and the ability to create side-by-side model comparisons The V-SEPT Powersports tool also features marketing campaigns.
The V-SEPT Powersports solution will begin shipping with the Suzuki Sales P.R.O. in December. Dealers will need to contact V-SEPT to activate their system. The V-SEPT solution can be configured for accessibility from wireless, hand-held personal data assistants and the dealership’s personal computers.
V-SEPT also announced its was partnering with 50 Below. The company’s Web sites and e-commerce offer dealerships the ability to showcase OEM and distributor PG&A products for browsing or purchasing, customer reviews and OEM and dealer promotions.
SofTek, PowerSports Network Announce Interface
SofTek Software International (SSI) and Powersports Network (PSN) now offer an interface between the dealership management system from SSI and Web sites created by PSN.
The optional interface has undergone extensive testing in multiple dealerships in the 2005 fourth quarter and was formally introduced in January.
SSI says the interface provides a “One Click” solution that allows the next unprocessed order from the PSN site to fully populate SSI’s Business Assistant 9.0 invoice screen via the interface. Once the order is filled and shipped from the SSI system, the integrated UPS or Fed Ex systems are notified, the tracking number is retrieved, and final shipping information is pushed to the PSN server for customer shipment notification.
“The popularity of Web stores among our dealers has been growing rapidly. Because of this growth in mail order sales … it was a high priority to eliminate the manual labor involved in retrieving and processing orders from PSN sites,” said Jim Thompson, vice president of sales and marketing for SSI.
In other PSN news, the company has appointed Tammy Scharlat as sales manager for the marine marketplace.
“Tammy has been very successful in representing our Web site solutions to dealers since joining our team two years ago,” said Steve Weiner, PSN principal. “However, it is her dedication to and exceptional success with signing marine dealers, including five of the top 100 as identified by Boating Industry magazine, which earned her the new responsibilities within the marine market.”
In her new role, Scharlat will work with prospective marine dealers to analyze their current Web site capabilities. She also will consult with them on how PSN’s dealer Web site solutions can help them harness the power of the Internet as a sales and customer service and communication tool.
G-Line Goes on Multi-City Tour
Every year, powersports OEMs load a truck full of bikes and visit dealerships and events across the country hoping to sway consumer-buying decisions through up-close experiences and test rides.
Borrowing a page from vehicle manufacturers, Fairchild Sports, Tustin, Calif., brought its G-Line apparel line to four select cities in January to allow women to see, feel, try on and experience the new apparel.
The first “Experience G” stop was in New York, where guests were invited to a special all-day showcase next to the International Motorcycle Show. The apparel tour then visited Nashville and worked with Sloan’s Motorcycle & ATV Supercenter for the Music City Bike Show; worked again with Sloan’s in Irvine, Calif.; and ended the tour at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
“Our market research told us women want to feel like women when they ride … and they want to be protected with a quality brand,” said Elizabeth Rakestraw, senior vice president of Fairchild Sports, owner of the Hein Gericke brand that produced the G-Line. “For years, the options were limited and sometimes were only to look like a man in your riding gear or risk getting hurt. With more and more women turning to motorcycles for their leisure and discretionary time … they basically told us they needed the G-Line.
“And we haven’t stopped listening,” Rakestraw said. “We will continue to make improvements and subtle changes as needed with a goal to make the road a more comfortable and safe place for women to be.”
The debut collection features 12 pieces. Product is made of various materials, including oiled goatskin, perforated leather, waterproof nylon and stretchy, abrasion-resistant Cordura.
“My La Jolla jacket is one of the coolest things I have found to wear this fall,” said Ashley Snyder, vice president of a real estate company in Newport Beach, Calif. “I don’t know how often I’ll get on a bike this year, but this jacket is just incredible.”
Bell Offers 20 percent off via Trade-In Program
Bell Powersports, Santa Cruz, Calif., is offering a 20 percent discount on the purchase of any new Bell helmet if consumers bring in their old helmet to participating retailers between March 1 and Sept. 1.
“Throwing an easy way to get 20 percent off should make Bell down right irresistible and drive consumers into their dealer,” said Bell Product Manager Chris Sackett.
Sackett said the program will be supported by a major print, Internet, in-store and direct mail ad campaign that features Supercross icon Jeremy McGrath. He said print, online and direct-mail consumer advertisements will begin in April and run through the end of the program, reaching more than 5 million motorcycle enthusiasts.
Because of the nostalgic attachment many riders have to their old gear and other practical considerations, retailers will not have to collect helmets from customers. Instead, the retailer and customer will be required to fill out some basic information on a log sheet that is returned to Bell.
The customer is free to keep the old helmet.
In exchange for providing the discount, Bell will credit retailers with product at retail value.
“We’ve put significant resources and dollars into this program specifically to drive consumers to specialty motorcycle dealers,” said Bell Vice President of Marketing Tom Larter. “The program costs the dealer nothing, but should boost cash register rings significantly.”
Dealers will be receiving trade-in kits that include program information, pop-up point-of-purchase display signage, log sheets and other pertinent info in mid-March.
For more information on the program or to become an authorized Bell dealer, call 800/776-5677.
Diamond Adds director
Diamond Powersports, Sunrise, Fla., has hired a new director of purchasing and inventory control.
James Johnson has 20 years of experience in inventory control, including special negotiations training and experience for material purchasing.
Specializing in the sportbike market, Diamond Powersports offers more than 400 products. Selections of Diamond product are distributed by Parts Unlimited and Tucker Rocky.
Diamond’s revenues in 2005 were approximately $1.6 million, up from about $1.4 million in 2004.
Diamond Powersports CEO and President Pierre Elliott has said he expects to quadruple revenues in the next three years, and pointed to new product innovations, new distribution agreements and other new ventures to aid in the planned growth.
For this year, Diamond plans to double production capabilities and warehousing space.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved Diamond Powersports’ application to become a publicly traded company in late 2002. Diamond stock trades over the OTCBB under the ticker symbol DPWS.
Eckel Shifts Positions at ArvinMeritor
Barry Eckel, director, global sales and marketing for ArvinMeritor Commercial Vehicle Systems, has left the division to join the company’s Commercial Vehicle Systems HQ in Troy, Mich. Eckel spent the past 16 years working in the shock absorber business.
“My efforts going forward will be focused on strategic growth markets for our $4 billion Truck and Trailer business,” Eckel said. “I will continue to have my home office in Toronto at our ride control business and will continue to reside in Burlington, Ontario.”
Effective immediately, all RydeFX and power sports marketing inquiries should be directed to Allan Bell, 416//252-5111 x383, or Allan.Bell@Arvinmeritor.com
Clam Corp. Expands
Clam Corp., producer of the The Clam and Fish Trap brands of portable ice houses, recently purchased Polar Sport, a designer of utility trailers. The company also announced management changes and moved into a larger facility.
Not only a designer of utility trailers, Polar Sport also happened to be a competitor in the portable ice fishing shelter market. Jim Thielen founded Polar Sport. He joined Clam Corp. as vice president of sales.
Now spearheading the company is General Manager Paul Flesch. He has more than 30 years in the business. psb

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