October '19

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56 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2019 nitely ahead of the curve when it comes to powersports is Nikola. It's an awesome electric unit—fast as can be, but too heavy and expensive; very expensive. They're working out the bugs now and as produc- tion increases, the costs will go down. But, make no mistake, electric is here to stay, and I think we'll see it make its way into anything from UTVs to motocross bikes," he says. LOOKING AHEAD Certainly, an impressive OE selection and robust aftermarket have consumers buzzing with excitement, but—as with any industry rooted in discretionary spending—analysts have a watchful eye on global tensions and the U.S. economy. Kathryn Reinhardt, VP of marketing at Rolling Big Power and a SEMA board member, says that trade wars affect the entire supply chain, from sourcing raw materials and manufacturing to adjust- ments in consumer pricing. Consequently, considering opportunities with new global partners, or re-examining one's manufacturing position in the U.S., are direct results, adds Adamy. Whether as a direct or indirect result of trade tensions, "We start to see it in the financing options, right? The lenders begin to put the brakes on," says Grigsby. "For example, a few years ago, someone could walk into a dealership and walk away with a new unit with no money down and zero-to-little interest on maybe a four-year loan. Nowadays, that same customer may be required to not only put money down, but hold 9% interest. The loans are getting riskier, so interest rates are up." Despite a tumultuous global climate, the U.S. economy is currently strong, with most consumers willing to lay out the extra capital for recreational hobbies— and the numbers support that assertion, from healthy SXS unit sales to growth in boating and PWC. STEFANIE GALEANO-ZALUTKO heads up Zalutko Business Services and has been free- lance writing across multiple industries for more than 10 years. Visit the company Face- book, Instagram and LinkedIn pages for more information, or contact her directly at sza- to learn more about client services. POWERSPORTS WORDS OF WISDOM SUPPLIERS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON THE POWERSPORTS MARKET: "We live in a tech age, so consumer education levels are at an all-time high. Consumers can learn everything they need to know about a unit in a few clicks. Be knowledgeable about your store offerings, right down to accessories and installation, as well as current competitive pricing because, while consumers are spending, they aren't going to overspend. "Look at how social media has changed the landscape of how we do business. Powersports is a lifestyle thing, and the Look at me! Instagram movement has only propelled people to make such purchases. Use that to your advantage. "You have to hit it while it's fresh. That's how you carve out a niche for yourself in the space. Make no mistake, these new models are on fire and so are their after- market components. A wise man supports new models and new products as fast as possible, taking advantage of new eyes and organically leading those customers to your business and your website. "Finally, put your thinking cap on. Find the brands and products that drive value in your particular store. Provide customers with superior knowledge and service—any of us can buy and source parts from anyone, so it really boils down to how you treat the customer. Let them experience the units through ride-alongs, set up an area to demo aftermarket upgrades and dig into the numbers, features, benefits and specs with them so they are informed about the purchase." Bryan Grigsby Driven Performance "The OEs are definitely putting an emphasis on accessories at the point of purchase. Traditionally, there's product acceptance at the OE level because of the aftermarket. Now we see them embracing sport kits, upgraded suspension, advanced shock technology, etc. right on the factory units. Even Honda, a very conservative company that I always jokingly say serves the best vanilla ice cream around is getting into the accessories market. But, remember, they can't compete with a distributor's aggres- sive product selection, support programs and pricing. "The OEs and aftermarket have a symbiotic relationship—we may not always like what the other does, but we can't exist without each other. "There's a huge market for recreational plowing in areas like the Northeast and Midwest. These people use their ATVs and UTVs to clear their land or driveways. Tap into that, if it makes sense for your business location." Nick Adamy Warn Industries "A main challenge is creating awareness of available parts and options. Some 12-volt shops aren't hearing from their customers—the customers are looking online and purchasing, or going to powersports-specific retailers. "Review your competition and examine the needs of your geographic region. Is snowmobiling popular, where lighting would be a great upsell? Do residents have trails nearby to take their ATVs or UTVs off-roading where you can upsell aftermarket upgrades for those types of vehicles? "Use social media outlets and/or publication ads to gather information—follow known enthusiasts, browse online forums and read blogs to gain a better understanding of consumer needs and current trends. You can also attend local club meetings and events to survey attendees and provide the products and services they're looking for." Petros Kaniaris & Jeff Fletcher Metra Electronics MORE POWER TO YOU Team Honda Racing will campaign a pair of Honda Talons in 2020. (Photo courtesy Team Honda Racing Off-Road)

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