PowerSports Business

PowerSports Business - June 15, 2015

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www.PowersportsBusiness.com MOTORCYCLE Powersports Business • June 15, 2015 • 33 Gart Sutton 20-group members to gain insight into electric bikes Gart Sutton, founder of industry consultancy and 20-Club moderator Gart Sutton & Associ- ates, recently ventured to Zero Motorcycles headquarters in California to learn more about the growing electric motorcycle maker. Gart then proceed to take one of the Zero bikes on the road and posted the results of his adventure on his GartRides blog. Powersports Business asked him a handful of questions about his electric motorcycle experience. PSB: What motivated you to ride up to Zero Motorcycles headquarters in Santa Cruz, Calif., for your GartRides blog? GS: As you know, GSA has the leading Com- posite Reporting software in our industry. Our latest Voyager-6 version will be introduced this year. The GSA Design Team insisted on adding electric motorcycles to our reporting capa- bilities. In other words, they want to be able to analyze the dealership revenue and expenses on electric motorcycles and compare them to our traditional powersports products. This prompted my desire to learn more about Zero and the electric motorcycle potential. PSB: So did you actually get to ride Zero bikes, and if so, what did you think? GS: No way was I going to pass up the oppor- tunity to ride their bikes. In three words, the bikes were fast, responsive and invigorating. The Zero SR (street) has impressive handling and does over 100 mph. How does 0-60 [mph] in 3.3 seconds sound? The Zero DS (dual- sport) is a dream. Zooming through the Red- woods without noise, heat, fumes and vibration is a totally different experience. PSB: I understand you got the factory tour. What did you think? GS: I was impressed with the improvements they have made since their 2013 makeover. The technology has made great strides and so has Zero's factory processes. I spent con- siderable time talking with their quality control "gestapo." I watched him securitize the bikes that came off the line and was fas- cinated with his attention to detailed during his final inspections. PSB: So the BIG question is should powers- ports dealers consider carrying the Zero brand? GS: Depends. Some demographics would be ideal and others not. For instance, I can see a Zero dealership in Austin, Texas, but probably not in Midland. One of our 20-Club members just took on Zero in Concord, Calif. This is a San Francisco bedroom community full of Silicon Valley-type residents. Dave Antonson of Con- tra Costa Powersports says Zero is attracting a totally new clientele into his store. The techie early adopters are more educated and affluent. Zero has a big demo campaign that encourages customers to come in and give the motorcycle a try. This is essential, as Zero motorcycles aren't cheap, and riding is believing. "USA Today" did a "Techie People" study that includes a U.S. county-by-county analysis on "early adopters" of technology (http://usato- day30.usatoday.com/tech/graphics/tech_savvy/ flash.htm). I would strongly recommend pow- ersports dealerships in the study's high-techie concentration areas consider Zero. The manu- facturer has a very affordable startup program that doesn't require heavy inventory demands. A brand that brings an augmented customer base into a powersports dealership deserves serious consideration. PSB: What will Zero dealers need to do in order to be successful with this product? GS: If the dealer cannot get personally excited about electric motorcycles, they should prob- ably pass on adding the brand. Furthermore, a dealership will need a designated "enthusiast salesperson" who will champion the brand and its technology. No noise, no gears and no chrome isn't for everyone. Being at the right place, at the right time with the right product is essential for taking the leap to carry electric motorcycles. PSB Industry expert finds Zero Motorcycles a gem indeed Drivers across the country have been enjoying the high-octane experience of Polaris Slingshot, and the company is pleased to announce that as of Friday, May 22, Texas residents can now join them and experience this long-awaited three- wheeled roadster. The sought-after Polaris Slingshot is now available in Texas dealerships after much demand. Fans who patiently waited are now able to absorb all the sights, sounds and smell of its state's roads through an exhilarating expe- rience that only Slingshot can truly deliver on. The unique line of three-wheeled roadsters is available in three trim levels: the base Slingshot, Slingshot SL and Slingshot SL LE. "Slingshot is an entirely new driving and riding experience designed for one purpose — exhilaration," said Craig Scanlon, vice president of Slingshot. "We understand how much excitement was built among Texas resi- dents when the Slingshot first came out. After a long wait, we're excited to get Slingshot riders on the road in Texas, and we encour- age them to experience this one-of-a-kind roadster for themselves." Slingshot is now offered in three distinct trim levels for a limited time only. The base Slingshot with a U.S. MSRP of only $19,999 features titanium metallic paint, 17-inch light- weight alloy wheels upfront and an 18-inch wheel in the rear. The premium Slingshot SL, with a U.S. MSRP of only $23,999 features red pearl paint, larger 18-inch forged aluminum wheels upfront and a 20-inch wheel in the rear, as well as a blade windscreen for wind protection. It also features a media console with a 4.3-inch LCD screen, back-up camera, Bluetooth integration and a 6-speaker audio system. The Slingshot SL LE offers all of the same upgrades as the Slingshot SL, but on top of that will include a striking Nuclear Sunset Orange color covering parts of the body, inte- rior, coil springs and aluminum swing arm. It is equipped with dual windscreens and offers an interior LED lighting package with both white and blue lighting for an exhilarating nighttime driving experience. The Slingshot SL LE has a U.S. MSRP of $24,999. PSB New bill allows Slingshot in Texas Gart Sutton and Zero Motorcycles CEO Richard Walker. Gart Sutton aboard a Zero motorcycle in the Redwoods of California.

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