New scooter brand aims to see continued growth
Liz Hochstedler, Associate Editor
July 9, 2012
Filed under Features
Gorilla Motor Works focuses on scooter shops
In two years of selling scooters wholesale, Diana Hammer, CEO of Gorilla Motor Works, has found her ideal dealer.
“The dealers that we typically work with are the mom-and-pop scooter shops,” she said, adding that the brand does have a few Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha franchised dealers on board as well.
Gorilla Motor Works has close to 60 dealers currently, and the brand is looking to expand.
“We want to grow more. We’d like to at least triple in size,” Hammer explained.
Gorilla Motor Works was launched in 2008 as a brand of Chinese scooters. The company is co-owned by Hammer’s father, and her brother-in-law is the general manager.
“It took us about two years to find a good, quality product in China,” Hammer said.
GMW signed with one manufacturer before turning it away due to quality issues. Then in 2009, the company signed with its current manufacturer, and sales began in 2010.
“We really specialize and focus on good quality models,” Hammer said.
The company’s scooters are meant to fill a niche in offering a low-cost, yet quality alternative to those who can’t afford a hobby scooter and are simply looking for inexpensive transportation.
“We know we’re not Vespa or Genuine or KYMCO or some of these huge scooter companies, but we also know with the economic issues that you really do need an affordable scooter out there that isn’t bottom-of-the-barrel junk,” Hammer explained.
GMW is aware of issues reported in the past with Chinese scooters, but the company is cognizant to not repeat the same mistakes. What makes the company stand out, Hammer says, is quality customer service and parts support.
“We are here from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. If our dealers call, we answer the phone. If a dealer needs a scooter that day, we ship it that day. We also ship parts same-day,” she said.
Though the GMW brand is still small, Hammer compares her parts and customer service to that of a mainstream OEM. The company has a 5,000 square-foot parts warehouse in Clearwater, Fla., and if a part isn’t available on the shelf, extra units are available for spares.
“Dealers absolutely will not go without parts to repair scooters,” Hammer asserted.
GMW carries six 50cc scooters and four 150cc models. Dealers generally retail the 50cc models at $1,099-$1,699, while the 150cc scooters sell for $1,549-$1,899. Employees at GMW and local dealers test each model before it is added to the lineup, and only two models have been brought on since the initial launch.
“Our scooters, for the most part, are very unproblematic,” Hammer said. “They rarely need to get service off the bat as long as the rider knows how to break in the new scooters.”
The models feature thick plastic panels, high-quality paint, Duro tires and high-quality batteries. Dealers who carry the line have little in terms of inventory requirements.
“We just say if you guys want to sample an order, you can have some of each model and try them out,” Hammer said.
Usually dealers will order the scooters in batches of 5-10. Order sizes are left up to the dealer, since many have limited showroom space, and new scooters can be ordered quickly.
“It’s very easy to order from us. They don’t have any reason to have to invest $20,000 or $30,000 into 20 or 30 units,” Hammer said.
One requirement, however, is that each dealer has scooter repair and service available. GMW won’t work with used car dealers, pawnshop owners or others that don’t have scooter technicians on board. This reflects on the company’s goal to maintain quality scooters.
“We’re actually building a brand that hopefully one day our children can take over,” Hammer said.
Her goal is to make Gorilla Motor Works a mainstream brand over the next decade.