Former auto dealer pins future hopes on electric motorcycles

Publish Date: 
Apr 9, 2012

Former auto dealers Ted and Glenn Eckenhoff of Cherry Hill, Pa., are pinning their hopes on a new revenue source: Their Eckenhoff Motorcycles dealership is the first in the Philadelphia region - and the only one in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware - to carry Zero Motorcycles.

"We have something really neat, and it fits the world right now," Ted Eckenhoff, 75, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Eckenhoff ran Eckenhoff Buick on the same property from 1982 until he retired in 2002. The family also ran a Cadillac dealership at one time. But General Motors forced sales of the franchises during the Detroit-based manufacturer's reorganization.

The family was left with a $2.5 million mortgage on a dealership property in Cherry Hill that included a showroom and 22 service bays - and no product, Ted Eckenhoff says. When DeSimone Motorcycles in Mount Laurel closed, he saw the chance to go into the powersports business with son Glenn. Eckenhoff Automotive and Eckenhoff Motorcycles opened in March 2010 with six employees, including a couple of former DeSimone employees and Glenn's wife, Heidi, who takes care of the books.

While 90 percent of the business so far is repair work, Glenn Eckenhoff hopes the Zero line will lure in fuel- and environment-conscious customers. The first Zero sale was expected to be finalized this month. He’s not worried about competition from more traditional marques.

"I don't see it as a market for people who like Harley-Davidsons," Ted Eckenhoff says. "First of all, it doesn't make any noise."

Posted by Holly Wagner

Like Dealernews’ Facebook page: