CFMOTO turns to OEM experience for growth
District managers gather in Twin Cities for first time
As CFMOTO has turned to franchise dealerships to build its brand of ATVs and motorcycles in the U.S., the China-based OEM also is building a formidable roster of regional managers to guide those dealerships to success.
With a dealer roster now exceeding 140 — the Minnesota-based U.S. subsidiary is aiming for 200 dealers by year’s end — CFMOTO continues to lure experienced regional sales managers. Seven of them gathered in Minnesota in December for the company’s first national sales meeting.
Dave Auringer, who helped launch BRP’s Sea-Doo brand, is guiding the fast-tracking brand as VP of sales & marketing. Many of Auringer’s hires made the trip to Minnesota.
Here’s a look at the attendees and their industry background:
Jason Browning, Regional Sales Manager, South Region: Yamaha and BRP;
Jay Danis, Regional Sales Manager, Northeast Region: KYMCO and Arctic Cat;
Dave Hrejsa, Regional Sales Manager, Great Lakes Region: Suzuki, BRP, Indian and Polaris
Nick Zierden, Regional Sales Manager, Mid-Atlantic Region: Honda and Polaris
Chuck Schram, Regional Sales Manager, Midwest Region: Polaris, Piaggio and Ural
Ron Sackett, Sackett, Inc., Marketing/Advertising Agency: Polaris, Arctic Cat, Harley-Davidson and Mercury Marine
Nick Trumbo, Regional Sales Manager, Southwest Region: BRP, Samson, Polaris, Victory
Tony Heck, Regional Sales Manager, North Central Region: CFMOTO.
While in Minnesota, they had the opportunity to get more familiar with the China-based operations of the parent company. Mr. Zhu, general manager of CFMOTO China, has added the title of general manager of CFMOTO U.S., and will oversee all American operations of the brand from the company’s headquarters in Plymouth, Minn.
Mr. Zhu has been with CFMOTO for 12 years, and is looking forward to the brand’s growth in the U.S. in the coming years.
“There are a lot of advantages to having me oversee the U.S. operations. As general manager of CFMOTO China, if we need some changes to the product for the U.S. market, I understand those problems and can make the changes that are necessary happen more efficiently,” he said. “One example is that if the U.S. market wants to develop new products, it’s much easier for me to make the connection to our headquarters in China.”
In other words, the hiring of Mr. Zhu alongside Dave Auringer, vice president of sales and marketing, brings a formidable 1-2 duo at the top. Auringer, now in his second year with the company after an extensive powersports industry background that includes having been on the Sea-Doo launch team with BRP, is building a lineup of multiline dealers that have proven success. Taking the brand a step further, his hiring of regional sales managers with OEM backgrounds leaves little doubt that CFMOTO is on an upward trajectory. To say CFMOTO’s sustained turnaround is irksome to other OEMs would be an understatement. CFMOTO dealers are reporting profit margins on new side-by-sides in the 25 percent range.
60 percent growth
Mr. Zhu enjoyed getting to know dealers first during the company’s first-ever Dealer Council meeting, then the meeting with the regional sales managers.
“We did have a highly successful meeting with our dealer council, and it was enjoyable to listen to them, and we believe they enjoyed listening to us as we continue our growth in the U.S. market together,” Mr. Zhu said. “It was good to share ideas. And it was especially good to allow them to view our expanded warehouse, and to see the full complement of parts we have here to support them and their customers. It gives them the confidence to sell.”
Mr. Zhu said CFMOTO will aim for 60 percent sales growth in 2014 in the U.S. market, mainly in the ATV and UTV segment. He expects UTV sales to drive about 80 percent of the growth in 2014.
“It’s such a big percentage increase simply because our units numbers are small. But in Russia we take about 25 percent of the ATV market, and in Europe about 10 percent. Of course, in the U.S. it’s less than 1 percent,” he said.
Growing that slice of the market is priority No. 1 for the new group of regional sales managers. Mr. Zhu is impressed by their experience.
“Our salespeople have experience with the marketplace. It’s what they do,” he said. “It’s easier to understand the brand now and it will be much more efficient for them to do the work that we need. When you understand the industry, you can perform better.”