JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Oxford, a household name among motorcyclists in the U.K., is now making inroads into the U.S. with a new warehouse in the Southeast and a successful showing at February’s Dealer Expo.
Dealernews recently spoke with Eric McFarlane, general manager of Oxford Products USA, about his company’s renewed distribution efforts, major product expansion, dealer margins, MAP policy and display program. We also spoke with a big retailer who decided to stock Oxford’s entire lineup: Iron Pony’s Chris Jones.
Oxford is celebrating its 40th year in business. The company’s owner, Alec Hammond, started selling motorcycle top boxes out of his car in 1973. The company plans to double its U.K. facilities this year to 90,000 sq. ft. Two separate British trade magazines in 2011 and 2012 named Oxford "wholesaler of the year" based on dealer surveys.
The company’s history in the U.S. goes back several years. Distributors Dixie International and Twisted Throttle have long carried about a dozen products — a small amount given that Oxford makes tens of thousands of SKUs using a network of Asian factories. Shipping costs, especially those associated with luggage and security locks, made it impractical for the U.S. distributors to stock widely — until now.
The new Florida warehouse holds 50 percent to 60 percent of Oxford’s products, McFarlane said. “We’re in a position now where we can offer a much better level of service with a much bigger depth of product range,” he said.
A 75-page Oxford catalog for the U.S. contains heated grips, motorcycle and ATV covers, battery chargers, bike stands, tools, rider wear (including Kevlar jeans) and a variety of accessories. The company’s line of security products is comprised of chains, disc locks, armored cable locks, U-locks and ground anchors.
Oxford’s bread and butter is likely its luggage. New First Time luggage retails for an entry-level price point. A step up is Lifetime Luggage, which comes with (you guessed it) a lifetime guarantee. The full luggage line includes top boxes, panniers, tankbags, tailpacks, backpacks and waistpacks.
Oxford is eager to fill what it perceives as a shortage of sportbike luggage in the U.S. “The amount of dedicated, stylish and colored options of luggage that’s available to American sportbike riders has not been as expansive as it is in Europe,” McFarlane said.
Throughout its history Oxford has supported sportbike racers, and this year will continue to sponsor MotoGP competitor Bradley Smith. (Continued.)