Economy thawing for some South Carolina powersports dealers

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Rising gas prices and an improving economy are making some South Carolina dealers optimistic for the summer -- and even next year.

“I can’t help but be very positive, energetic about where the industry is going to be in 2012 especially,” Charleston Powersports GM Gordon Whitlock told the Charleston Post and Courier. “The economy will start swinging in more of a normal fashion.”

The Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki dealership has doubled sales so far this year from the same time in 2010, he says. The increase is split about evenly between sportbike and cruiser sales.

Sales at Low Country Scooter are up 50 percent from a year ago, owner Carl Hall told the newspaper. “It’s been great,” he said. He sells many makes of scooter including Vespa at the high end and the $699 TaoTao budget scooter. Other choices include $999 and $1,200 Eco and Glide models from Red Streak and the 250cc Hyosung with a two-year warranty.

“It’s fun to take downtown and to the beach,” Hall says. “They all are selling.”

Both men say loyal clientele who are seeing signs of an economic recovery and want a new bike are driving sales, along with people looking for fuel economy.

In 2009, the most recent count available, 105,963 motorcycles were registered in the South Carolina, up 21 percent from 87,512 in 2006.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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