In 2006, KYMCO USA retailed nine ATV models, 15 scooters and one motorcycle model.
Dealernews recently interviewed KYMCO USA president Eric Bondy and KYMCO USA vice president of sales and marketing Bruce Ramsey while they were in Taiwan meeting with supplier Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd.
While both sidestepped discussion of firm numbers regarding sales or even news within the dealer network, the duo did supply some observations about the brand's recent past and immediate future. The following Q&A contains answers jointly composed by Bondy and Ramsey via e-mail.
Dealernews: What were the best-selling KYMCO ATVs in the United States?
Bondy and Ramsey: The Mongoose 90 and MXU 300 were the best selling ATVs for 2006.
What were some of the issues facing KYMCO in 2006? How did you/do you plan to overcome them?
Low-cost and low-quality Chinese imports are the most significant issue we had and will have to deal with in 2006/2007. We will continue to promote the high quality and after sale service that KYMCO is known for to combat the influx of cheaper product.
What were some of the things dealers told you about/desired during the past year? How did you respond?
Dealers are still looking to add product that offers increased profitability to their operation. KYMCO still maintains excellent dealer margins and extremely competitive dealer programs to keep our dealers profitable.
What were some of the issues facing dealers in 2006?
Cheap import product with no after sale support and often direct selling via Internet or nontraditional retail outlets would be one of the most significant issues for dealers in 2006 and 2007.
Did KYMCO USA pick up any new service providers in 2006?
We upgraded to a new software system to allow for our rapid growth. We also established partnerships with Sheffield Financial for retail financing options, Cornerstone for KYMCO Extended Protection [extended warranties], Dealership University for online sales training, CRS for online comparatives with other OEMs, [and] ARI [Partsmart] for CD-based parts look-up and ordering.
How do you plan to market the KYMCO brand in 2007?
KYMCO USA will continue to grow the consumer advertising to drive retail sales to our dealers. We expand our event participation every year to include as many demo events as possible.
KYMCO USA introduced a 500cc ATV and 500cc scooter in 2006. How did sales of those bigger items go when compared to the smaller units in the lineup?
Yes, we introduced the MXU 500 and the Xciting 500 in 2006. Both were successful launches, and KYMCO continues to see considerable growth in larger-displacement product in both the ATV and scooter lines.
I've seen 700cc engine parts at the factory. Could you give us a glimpse further in the future?
As you know, KYMCO is continuously developing new product for both segments, but I really can't elaborate on this right now. — Guido Ebert