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Sept. 7, 2009 – New leader, same objectives for trike manufacturer Lehman

September 8, 2009
Filed under Features

The only trike manufacturer that has an ongoing relationship with Harley-Davidson and Victory Motorcycles is undergoing a change at the top.
Lehman Trikes CEO Dan Patterson has announced his retirement and the company already named his successor, Lehman Executive Vice President Ken Hines.
Hines, in an interview with Powersports Business, said he will continue the company’s efforts at distinguishing itself from its three-wheel competitors. Much of those efforts have centered on improving product quality while also cutting production costs.
“We believe if we get those things done then we will always be the supplier of choice and/or the partner for anybody that wants to be in the trike business,” he said.
Lehman has partnered with Harley-Davidson on two products, including the 2010 addition to Harley’s lineup, the Street Glide Trike. At the same time, the Spearfish, S.D.-based manufacturer continues to provide Victory with a three-wheel platform, the latest being the 2010 CrossBow.
The OEM-supplier relationships have obviously paid off for Lehman, which posted revenue of $10.5 million in its second quarter, a 58 percent increase over the year-ago period.
“We are bucking the trend,” Hines said of Lehman’s sales compared to the industry as a whole.
At the same time, Lehman’s efforts at improving its production processes to improve quality and cut costs have resulted in notable savings. Lehman’s largest expense category, General and Administration, decreased more than 28 percent from the year-ago quarter despite the fact the company dealt with a much higher cost of goods sold. Lehman also saw substantial savings in its selling and distribution expense, which declined more than 16 percent compared to a year ago.
“We have spent a lot of time on quality, customer service and customer satisfaction,” Hines said. “Those will continue to be in the forefront every day.”
Also in the forefront are efforts at securing emission homologation across a number of different categories, from DOT to CARB to Canada and international.
“Hopefully in the next year we’ll look at homologation and some international partnerships,” Hines said, noting the company already has representation in Europe and Japan and has received queries from a number of other countries.

Dealer network
Lehman Trikes also continues to build its U.S. presence, with an increasing dealer network. The OEM increased its dealer network by roughly
15 percent over a year ago.
Hines believes that dealer network will see an increase in metric trike availability in the coming year as certain product becomes easier to get.
Product availability as well as the company’s ongoing efforts at improving its production processes will continue to be key topics as Lehman completes its change at the top. Departing CEO Patterson, who built the key relationships with Harley and Victory and led the company’s move to the United States from Canada, will work with Hines over the next couple of months to ensure a smooth transition.
“That just makes really good business sense in our minds,” Hines said.

—Neil Pascale

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