Motonation, the importer and distributor of Sidi, Spidi and Set Up product, achieved double-digit sales growth in 2006. The company celebrates its eighth anniversary in 2007.
Motonation president Bill Berroth has been in the powersports industry for the past 30 years. He started his career as a wrench in a few shops in Connecticut, then worked with KTM in both Ohio and California for four years before spending two years as product manager with Husqvarna. Following a 14-year association with Acerbis in the United States, he formed Motonation in 1999.
Dealernews recently talked with Berroth to learn what happened at the company during the past year and what he has planned for the next 12 months.
Dealernews: How was Motonation formed?
Bill Berroth: Motonation was formed when I saw an opportunity to work with Sidi as they were seeking new distribution. I was simply able to show them a program, and form a company, that would give them the focus both they and I felt they deserved in the marketplace. Since then, together with Sidi, Motonation has created the Set Up boot line and have added Spidi apparel to our exclusive sales style.
What took place at Motonation during the past 365 days?
Last year was Motonation's second year with the Spidi line in the U.S., and it was a good one. We built upon the base we laid down in 2005 and had a strong year. With the Set Up brand we introduced a new race boot, the Vision, which has sold very well. On the Sidi side of things, the new Crossfire boot has impacted the off-road market in a very strong way, it's the best-selling Sidi off-road boot in the company's history. All in all we had a great year with double-digit sales growth.
What were the issues that concerned you from a business perspective in 2006?
Our greatest concern, as we import all our products from Europe, is the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro. The dollar continues to be very, very weak and, as a result, our margins have suffered greatly.
However, we've adapted to the situation — more than overcame it — by reevaluating and adjusting everything we do.
Looking back, update us on how business has been with each of the brands that Motonation represents.
Sidi continues to grow exponentially each year now the brand has established itself as a premier boot brand in the U.S.; Set Up is growing strong with the Vision boot; and Spidi continues to grow under Motonation's supervision.
Looking forward, what is the strategy for each of the brands in 2007?
Without tipping our hat too much, I can say that we are very excited about the new product offerings with Sidi, Set Up and Spidi, as well as our new 2007 advertising campaigns. We'll be ready to share all of the details with the dealers who visit us at Indy.
Is anything planned for 2007 that may impact Motonation's relationships with dealers or suppliers?
Motonation's partner dealer programs have always been sound and substantial. So, no, there will be no big changes. All our partner dealers have an exclusive sales territory, advertising support and the highest possible margins. Really, when a dealer looks at what Motonation offers, we have a unique and very attractive series of programs.
What should dealers look for at Motonation's display in Indy?
Sidi will offer two new off-road boots for 2007 as well as a complete Gore Tex waterproof touring range; Set Up will have a $130 waterproof touring boot to complement the $130 Vision road race boot; and the Spidi line will have some new items specifically tailored to the U.S. market.
How many dealers does Motonation currently service? Is that up or down from the past?
Motonation actually serves a limited amount of dealers. We are not interested in quantity; we want quality — the finest dealers in the U.S. to be our Sidi, Set Up and Spidi "partner" dealers. So our growth is usually from expanding our present dealers' sales, not by adding new dealers.
How does a dealer get a hold of Motonation product for retail purposes?
They can just give us a ring at (877) 789-4940 or e-mail our national sales manager, Paul Eddy, at firstname.lastname@example.org