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May 4, 2009 – Industry Leader: Christopher Carter, Motion Pro

May 4, 2009
Filed under Features

Motion Pro founder and owner Christopher Carter has led the company through 25 years of business. He is recognized as a mentor and leader in the powersports industry. A gold medal winner in the International Six Day Trials, Carter and his team of engineers developed most of the tools and products Motion Pro offers. The company’s roots are in racing and provide support to many professional and amateur riders. Motion Pro also supports a wide range of events, covering amateur to professional dirt track, off-road, ATV and motocross riders.

What’s the biggest challenge for the industry, and what should be done about it?

The biggest challenge we have is the 12-and-under lead ban on small motorcycles. It’s a big negative. It’s too bad it has gone as far as it has because I know other industries were able to get around it one way another, simple things like fishing weights and children’s books. It’s a negative because it has nothing to do with the lead content and safety issues. I’m starting to see confusion in the market place. We didn’t need that type of media exposure. We have to try to get that repealed in whatever way possible. It hasn’t affected us, except for a lot of work and time. We have had to go back and look at all our different products that we supply for that market. We do our homework to make sure we don’t open ourselves up to some litigation down the road, so it has been a lot of behind the scenes things, checking our products. So many of our components fit in those models.

What’s been the biggest challenge in your current position, and how have you dealt with it?

The uncertainty of the future. It’s difficult for us to forecast what products we can have in our facility because of the market and where people are going to be spending their money. We sell to distributors so they’re always looking ahead, but they can’t look in their crystal ball and tell us how much product they’re going to need over the next say 12 months. We’ve grown every year and faced challenges. We have so much more overhead than when we started. We built up to what we have, so every day is a challenge, but I think we’re in a good position with where our product line is. We do have other challenges because we have been successful. There are a lot of imitations of our product, so we have to be first to market and sell to our distributors, which can be a challenge because there are so many steps between the distributor and retailer. Where the market is going is a challenge, how much should we invest in a product? Some of these things we’ve been working on for 18 months, a long lead-time from when we think of a product to when we actually bring it to market. We’re always coming out with new products. Every year we attend the trade shows and the first thing out of most of the dealers and distributors reps’ mouths is ‘what’s new for Motion Pro?’ because they always know we have new, innovative products. I’ve been fortunate with the business. We’ve always had challenges, but we just keep going.

What’s the best advice you can give to
others in the industry?

On the retail side, dealers let their inventories run down so much. I know they have challenges because flooring costs and not selling a lot of motorcycles right now, but if someone walks in their store, they need to have that product the customer wants. They can’t let their inventories run down. They have money and they’re in that store for a reason. They really need to take care of their customers. I say that whether it’s for the retail dealer or the distributors having product for their dealers.

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