Spark providing an early boost for PWC dealers
Sea-Doo dealers take part in demo tour activities
They wanted to see what the Sea-Doo Spark was all about so badly that they drove up from Iowa simply to take a test ride. That’s right, hours in the car for a short ride not even around the lake, but instead around a six-buoy demo course.
Dealers who have sold dozens of the newest craze in PWC also wanted some seat time, so they came out more than 30 strong to a dealer training session that ended with them aboard the Spark.
The Spark is all the rage in the PWC market, and Sea-Doo dealers are seeing it firsthand. The starting $4,999 MSRP seems to have customers talking.
“What’s a corn dog? $2.50, right? What if you went to the fair and a corn dog was 99 cents? Why would you do that? That’s what Sea-Doo did. The spark is 99 cents. They’re priced lower than they were in 1995, because I have a 1995 that cost more. What a great marketing tool. The only problem I have is that we’re sold out the Spark and we can’t get anymore.”
That’s how Randy Blomlie, sales manager at Pro Power Sports and Marine of Ramsey, Minn., described the successful launch of the Spark during the #SparkSomeLife Tour at Lake Independence near Minneapolis. Blomlie, along with dozens of other Minnesota-based Sea-Doo dealers, put the Spark through the paces following a dealer training event prior to the demo tour opening to the public.
“I’ve never ridden one,” he said. “I’ve been riding watercraft for 25 years and I had never been on one until today. It was even more than I thought it would be — smooth handling, fun, nimble. They’re going to be all over the lakes.”
Sparks were allocated to dealership by size. Pro Power Sports and Marine, for instance, received 18. St. Boni Motorsports, the 2013 Sea-Doo Dealer of the Year located in St. Bonifacius, Minn., took 85 Sparks. All but four of them, saved for the demo tour, had been sold. A record year of sales at the Minneapolis Boat Show provided early season momentum.
“We’ve heard stories from customers that the Spark reminds them of the 1996 XP, and they can get back into that for an affordable price,” said Tyler Tripp, in sales at St. Boni. “And we’re seeing entry-level buyers who have never ridden one before. I’ve been riding for 15 years and I just bought one.”
Stores like Danner Sales of Inver Grove Heights, Pro Power Sports and St. Boni’s were on hand all weekend as exhibitors of the demo tour. Just like the dealers themselves, Sea-Doo North America marketing director Julie Tourville was anxious to hear feedback from consumers after they completed their demo ride.
“The first reactions have been extremely positive. People are amazed that we were capable of building such a great watercraft for such an accessible and affordable price,” said Tourville, who made the trek from Canada to attend the Minnesota event. “Reactions from consumers has been amazing. They’re attracted first by the affordability, but they also like all of the customization that comes with it — the colors and the ability to make it their own. The dealer network has been received very well also. It’s a new segment that is attracting traffic to their stores.”
With TV commercials and YouTube videos, the Spark’s launch at the consumer level took on a new life. A Spark video by YouTube star filmmaker Devin Supertramp had generated more than 500,000 views in its first week.