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Gas Gas changes its N. America distributor – January 22, 2007

January 22, 2007
Filed under Features

The Gas Gas Group in Spain recently transferred its import and distribution business in the U.S. market to a new company.
Gas Gas Motors of America, the main source of the Spanish brand’s enduro and ATV imports for six years, is no longer in business. The shakeup caught some by surprise and started rumors of the manufacturer’s departure from the North American market.
The move will not affect the distribution of the company’s popular trials bike offerings, said Dale Malasek, U.S. importer for Gas Gas trials bikes, parts and accessories, and a former distributor of Gas Gas enduro bikes.
Malasek told Powersports Business the U.S. Gas Gas business was transferred in November to Dixie Sales Co., Greensboro, N.C. According to its Web site, Dixie Sales is America’s largest distributor of original equipment replacement parts and accessories for the lawn and garden industry. The company also carries a variety of whole goods, including outdoor power equipment, ATVs and scooters, including Husaberg motorcycles.
Gas Gas’s parent company in Canada will be Barrett Marketing Group.
Juan Romero, former CEO of Gas Gas Motors of America, said via cell phone that the change occurred as a result of new ownership at Gas Gas.
“The new board brought in a completely new management team, which devised a new marketing and sales strategy that basically called for the moving out of the U.S. market with their own structure,” he said. “Some months ago when management started to implement this new policy there was a point where I, how do I put it, I resigned from my position.”
Roy Thomas, product manager for Dixie, will be handling the new Gas Gas distribution.
“Right now it’s just to get Gas Gas back to where it was a couple of years ago,” he said. “We’re going do some restructuring, and that includes following up with dealers to make sure the sales for the off-road bikes happen, that dealers get good parts support for the product, and we’ll work on some advertising and racing.”
Thomas clarified that Barrett, who also handles Troy Lee Designs helmets and clothing, Oxtar motorcycle boots, Asterisk knee protection systems and Universal off-road parts and accessories, is the Canadian arm and Dixie is the U.S. arm for Barrett.
“Personnel, there was very little change,” he said. “The people that were doing the business are the same people.”
Malasek wanted to make sure dealers know the trials side of Gas Gas was not affected.
“The trials bike division of Gas Gas is very strong, and is the No. 1 seller in the United States,” he said. “I was just at the (Gas Gas) factory two weeks ago, and they have more bikes than you could imagine.”
Romero isn’t as upbeat after building an infrastructure and a network of 125 dealers.
“When I started, Gas Gas’s reputation and image in the United States was below zero,” he said. “It was an uphill battle, but together, with the dealers, we built Gas Gas up. It was an excellent product. Unfortunately the momentum was cut. We achieved a lot in this very tough U.S. market.” psb

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