KYMCO 2014 rollout: Brand endurance, margins building dealer loyalty

Publish Date: 
Jun 24, 2013
By Dennis Johnson

KYMCO may not be as recognizable a brand as any of the Big Four or the more notable European marques, but the Taiwan-based manufacturer has made the push over the past 13 years to establish itself in the U.S. powersports market.

The brand was initially introduced by distributor STR Motorsports in 2000 as KYMCO USA, which sold products made by Taiwan's Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd. In 2007, KYMCO Taiwan purchased 50 percent of the U.S. operations and in 2011 bought the remaining half, making KYMCO USA a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company.

KYMCO USA is offering a lineup of value-priced ATVs, side-by-sides and scooters to make its way into dealership showrooms. These days it often serves as a brand that not only helps bring in new customers looking (or qualifying) for lower MSRPs, but also offers dealer margins of 20 percent to 30 percent. Along with this price-point positioning, dealers are able to sell a vehicle that can compete with higher-priced vehicles in terms of build quality, warranty and a broad range of accessories, said Rick Pawelka, director of marketing at KYMCO USA.

"We also offer a price leader in both side-by-sides and in scooters. This gives dealers a kind of hook in advertising to bring someone in and gives them the opportunity to upsell."

Rick Pawelka, KYMCO USA

"Across the board, there's a fair price savings. Our product has general been the more economical purchase of a mainstream-quality vehicle that's backed by a good dealers' network, service and sales support," Pawelka said. "We also offer a price leader in both side-by-sides and in scooters. This gives dealers a kind of hook in advertising to bring someone in and gives them the opportunity to upsell."

Dealernews in mid-June discussed the KYMCO brand in-depth with Pawelka and Bruce Ramsey, VP of sales and operations, during the U.S. launch of the company's 2014 MyRoad 700i scooter and UXV 700i side-by-side held in western Colorado at the Gateway Canyons Resort.

Dennis Johnson discusses dealer margins, territories, warranties and more with Pawelka and Ramsey HERE
KYMCO unveils the 2014 MyRoad 700i scooter HERE
KYMCO unveils the 2014 UXV 700i side-by-side HERE

The addition of the MyRoad 700 gives KYMCO USA the largest displacement scooter in the market, at a price ($9,699) under that of its closest competition (BMW's C 650 scooter at $9,990.) On the four-wheeled side, the new utility-class 700cc UXV offers a bump up in displacement from the OEM's 500cc SXS lineup. Both of which help fill out a product range with the broadest lineup of scooter models, and with ATVs in the sport, crossover and utility classes.

Both segments covered by these new models reflect the Taiwanese headquarters’ relationship with the U.S. market. While scooter sales in the U.S. are a small fraction of the company's global sales — Taiwan and Europe account for most of it — it's the U.S. that drives the KYMCO's overall off-road vehicle development even the quads that are homologated for on-road use in Europe.

KYMCO's scooter lineup starts with the Agility 50, a 49cc machine that, Pawelka says, sells well in states where a motorcycle endorsement isn't required for smaller bikes and in regions where scooters are used for transportation. At the higher end, the new MyRoad is intended to appeal to 1) motorcycle enthusiasts who no longer want a full-size bike and 2) buyers looking for an easy-to-ride touring machine.

"Our line is coming together and we have a pretty good offering at this point, enough to be a reputable player so that dealers can take on either product segment or take us on and be a full-line dealer and get a nice array of products," Pawelka said. (continued)