PowerSports Business

July 10, 2017

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PWC Echo Cycle sells out its SX-R inventory following ride BY KATE SWANSON ASSISTANT EDITOR With the release of the 2017 Kawasaki per- sonal watercraft lineup, dealers are finding creative ways to reach more customers this summer. Echo Cycle, a multi-line dealer based in Edmonton, Alberta, held a Jet Ski demo ride to give each prospective buyer a thorough opportunity to experience the new Kawasaki SX-R stand-up and Ultra 310LX. Echo Cycle chose to invest in this event, putting money down to rent a nearby lake at Shalom Park in Edmonton for four hours on the first Sunday in June. The dealership pro- moted the demo through its Facebook page and to email followers. Echo Cycle's director of marketing Jolene Goldbeck said the event drew about 25 participants. "The SX-R was definitely the more popular of the two," Goldbeck said. "Most of the atten- tion was focused on the SX-R, since it's the new model for the year. It's a 1500cc engine, so it's quite a bit bigger than the older models." Riders were surprised by how light the SX-R felt, despite the size of its engine, Gold- beck said, and they took time to adjust to riding the stand-up. "The handling was a little bit tricky to get used to, but once they had it figured out, it went really well," she added. "One of our riders said he couldn't believe how fast the SX-R felt and that it 'sounded like an airplane taking off.'" The demo riders ranged from amateur rac- ers to young families. The Kawasaki Ultra 310LX has two keys, a "slow" key and a "fast" key, which activates the 310-hp engine. "The 310LX was good for the families. For the racers, it was just a fast boat. For the families, we put the slow key in, and the kids had a blast on it," she added. "We had one person say, 'I really wish I hadn't bought a UTV; I should have bought a Jet Ski instead.'" While the racers were predominately interested in the new SX-R, they also enjoyed unlocking the fast performance of the Ultra 310LX. "All of the racers were there because they are riding 800cc engines or older, and so they were all wondering what the [SX-R's] 1500cc engine could do," said Goldbeck. The dealership went into the Splishin' and Splashin' event with four SX-R models in its inventory and two more on the way. Within a day of the event, Echo Cycle sold out of all of them. Goldbeck said the dealership was overall very happy with the return on its investment, and plans for similar PWC demos are likely in the future. "It was a good day and I think hav- ing another one next year will be even more successful," she added. PSB Dealership demo event makes waves, sales 40 • July 10, 2017 • Powersports Business www.PowersportsBusiness.com Sales of personal watercraft remained strong on a rolling basis for the 12 months ending in May, according to the latest Info-Link Bell- wether report. According to Info-Link, the Bellwether report tracks sales of powerboats across the country based on new U.S. boat regis- trations on a rolling 12-month basis. Bell- wether states are geographically dispersed states representing roughly half of the U.S. boat market (varies by market segment and time of year). PWC sales were the strongest among all boat segments for the period, with sales up about 10 percent over the previous year. The sportfish segment was up just under 10 per- cent in May, and the tow boat segment was up about 8 percent. Powerboat sales were up about 5 percent across all categories, down slightly from the over 5 percent growth in April and 6 percent growth in March. The growth rate has been mostly declining since its peak of 11 percent last year. The outboard segment overall was up a little more than 6 percent for the period, on track with April's growth. The stern- drive/jet segment was the only category to decline, with sales down about 2 percent from last year. U.S. ARMY JOINS PRO WATERCROSS AS SPONSOR Pro Watercross announced that the U.S. Army has signed on to sponsor the 2017 Heyday Pro Watercross National Tour pre- sented by Broward Motorsports. While the arrangement between the U.S. Army and Pro Watercross is the first of its kind for the U.S. Army, Captain John G. Halbert, company commander, said the partnership with Pro Watercross is a logical step, considering the similarities between the people drawn to the sport and the caliber of individuals the U.S. Army seeks to recruit. "The U.S. Army is looking for physi- cally qualified individuals and people that are committed to doing something, in gen- eral," Halbert said. "These (Pro Watercross competitors) are all athletes, so we know they are physically qualified, and they are all committed to something that they are willing to work hard for to achieve the goals they set out for themselves. These are the people we want, and the (fans) that attend these events are going to share those same attributes as well." In addition to providing supporting sponsorship, Halbert's recruiting company will be bringing a new tradition to the Pro Watercross series; Halbert will hold an offi- cial swearing in ceremony — a formal event where new recruits, or "future soldiers," as Halbert terms them, will raise their hand in an oath of service, "reaffirming that they are, and why they are, going into the service," Halbert said. "This is a partnership we are very excited about, and very proud of," said Pro Water- cross CEO AJ Handler, a U.S. Army veteran himself. "Not only does this continue our efforts to reach beyond the normal, in- industry relationships and to grow the sport, but it emphasizes our support to our country and our commitment to our flag and what it stands for. We open each the Pro Show on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. with the National Anthem, and although we have rac- ers from many countries participating in our tour, I never fail to see due respect shown by both athletes and fans." That atmosphere, and the adventurous spirit naturally found in many extreme-sport athletes and fans, is part of what makes Pro Watercross a perfect platform for the U.S. Army's message, Halbert said. "The military is not necessarily for every- one, but don't discredit the opportunity it can provide; if someone wants to enlist for two years, or for a lifetime, the U.S. Army is a great way to jump-start your career," he said. "Whether you're working towards money for college, or just need a steady job, the impor- tant thing is being willing to raise your right hand and pledge to serve." PSB DIGEST Report: PWC sales remain strong in May Sales of PWC continued to provide dealers with growth in May, according to the latest Info-Link Bell- wether report. The Sea-Doo Spark Trixx has helped grow the PWC market. Demo participants had a chance to demo ride Kawasaki's stand-up SX-R Jet Ski. Echo Cycle sold out of its SX-R inventory following the successful event. Of the two units, the SX-R drew the most attention, but dealership staff said the Ultra 310LX was praised for its speedy performance by several PWC racers. During the Splishin' and Splashin' demo event, both families and racers enjoyed the performance options of the Kawasaki Ultra 310LX.

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