New leasing program geared to Harley dealers
Dave McMahon, Senior Editor
February 13, 2012
Filed under Features
Chrome Capital program offers leasing for up to three years
A leasing program that allows Harley-Davidson buyers to ride for two or three years with no obligation to buy is designed to increase ridership.
Early signs for Chrome Capital, the Naples, Fla.-based finance company that formed in 2011, show its leasing program is gaining in popularity. Chrome Capital announced in January that Rommel Harley-Davidson in Delaware and Harley-Davidson of Annapolis in Maryland had implemented the TestRide program.
Scott Fischer Enterprises later became a partner. The owner of two dealerships in Florida, Fischer has earned the Platinum Bar & Shield Award and has served on the Harley dealer advisory council.
“In the world of Harley-Davidson dealers, this is a significant accomplishment, and further validates our leasing business as a supporting role in Harley dealers’ success,” Chrome Capital president and CEO Peter Wasmer said.
Customers who choose the TestRide program are provided with end-of-lease options that are available through a standard vehicle lease: purchase the bike, renew the lease, or return the bike to the dealer. The program is available for new and pre-owned Harley models.
“TestRide is a revolutionary step forward to help Harley dealers generate additional revenue each month. Chrome’s lease pricing is spot-on, and provides an exciting opportunity for our customers to realize their dream of riding a Harley motorcycle today,” said Brad Hopkins, president of Rommel Harley-Davidson.
“Having an alternative to traditional financing is a real competitive advantage for our dealerships,” said Aaron Joyner, general sales manager of Rommel Harley-Davidson. “The TestRide lease product addresses many of our customers’ preference of trading/upgrading every three years, while alleviating any loan obligations at year three found with the traditional finance products.”
All graduates of the Rider’s Edge training class for novice riders are presented the TestRide lease at Rommel.
“It’s the perfect way to ride a Harley motorcycle without a long-term commitment on their first bike,” Joyner said.
“A lot of first-time riders don’t want to invest $15,000-$20,000 on a bike,” Wasmer said. “It becomes a whole new conversation with this program.”
Fischer appreciates the incremental sales opportunities that the leasing provides each month.
“We really like that Chrome’s solution is applicable to all credit tiers for all of the right reasons. Being able to offer a lease on a Harley amplifies the effect on our monthly sales figures,” Fischer said.
Gil Gibson, general manager of Fort Myers Harley-Davidson, says that terms of the lease program appeal to his customers.
Chrome Capital aims to sign the top 200 U.S. Harley-Davidson dealerships by the end of 2012. It’s a fast track, but Wasmer figures the 16 years he spent in the commercial equipment leasing business will be beneficial.
“I sold that business in 2007, and was looking for something fun to do and was approached by an investment banker about leasing Harley-Davidsons. My first thought was ‘Why in blazes would anyone want to a lease a Harley? But then I started looking at the valuation of the bikes and got great insight into who a Harley person is. When I do business, I like to do business with good people. It doesn’t matter what credit tier they’re at. Harley riders are as true blue Americans as you can get and the dealers are really good people, too. I was blown away by their authenticity.”
Brian Cramer, the former general sales manager of Mike’s Famous in New Castle, Del., joined Chrome Capital as VP of dealer development and marketing.