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Autolite spark plugs target powersports for growth

September 5, 2011
Filed under Features

Company turns to
snowmobile, road racing
for promotion

By Dave McMahon
Senior Editor

Autolite’s brand is familiar to the automotive consumer. Now the company will see if it can make similar inroads in the powersports industry.

Making their debut at the Tucker Rocky Dealer Show in Frisco, Texas, in August, Autolite’s Jay Buckley and Chris Schaible discussed the company’s entrance into the market.

“Autolite has always sold spark plugs in the small engine market, but we’ve never been focused on it, because the majority of our customers are in automotive,” said Buckley, technical training manager for the Michigan-based company. “But we realize it’s a huge growth area for our company.”

By reaching the racing audience, Autolite believes the product will have a home in powersports.

“This year we’ve really started to dedicate a lot of resources to it. We also launched a whole bunch of race teams. We’re racing snowmobiles, road racing motorcycles. We’re looking to pick up a motocross team in the spring to really get some exposure in this market. We’ve got a great product and we really need to let people know about it,” said Schaible, the channel marketing and sales manager in the small engine division.

Many Autolite employees are powersports enthusiasts, and encouraged the company to forge a new path into the industry.

“In fact, one of our road racers is a spark plug development engineer, and we know that, let’s face it, in the powersports industry, they’re chronic spark plug changers,” Buckley said. “It’s a great business to be in for a spark plug company.”

Tucker Rocky has been distributing the brand since 2006, and Autolite reports strong support of the product from its customers.

“Consumers don’t want to pay $20 to $65 for a spark plug,” Buckley said. “We have the same or similar quality spark plug in the market of $7.95 up to $15. We have a price leader segment and we also have a spark plug that performs up to 26 percent better than some of the other spark plugs out there on the market.”

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