LeMans, Corp., the largest motorcycle parts, garments and accessories distributor in North America, has completed its new facility in Germany and now is ready to bring the one-stop-shop system of aftermarket product distribution known to dealers in the United States and Canada to retailers throughout Europe.
"It's done, it's finished and we're shipping," says LeMans Chairman Fred Fox. "We were originally going to spend about $30 million on it, but we keep putting in extra equipment and now we're up to about $38 million. And, best of all, it's paid for."
Dubbed Parts Europe GmbH and located in the Konz/Trier region of west central Germany, near to the borders of Belgium and France, the operation is being led by Hans Lautem, general manager. Lautem, a German Harley-Davidson/Buell dealer with a retail store down the street from the Parts Europe facility, has been helping LeMans prepare its operation for the past few years.
"Our goal is to have the most modern warehouse and distribution system in the world, and I think we've done it with this facility," Fox says.
Completely automated, the warehouse has a footprint of more than 200,000 sq. ft., is outfitted with four-story shelving, and has a tire rack that holds more than 100,000 tires. Plus, LeMans received a flat shipping rate from UPS and DHL that, Fox says, will make Parts Europe's freight rates for all of Europe about 50 percent lower than everybody else's. "Freight can run up to eight or 10 percent (of the price of a product), so we're going to save almost half of that," he says.
LeMans can ship approximately 20,000 orders per day in the U.S., and Fox says he intends for business in Europe within the next decade to equal the volume currently being achieved stateside.
"Europe is a big, big opportunity for us," says Greg Blackwell, LeMans' VP of sales. "We really believe there's a billion dollars on the table for us there."
While Parts Europe intends to do business throughout the continent, Blackwell says the company's immediate concentration is going to be on Germany and other large countries in central Europe. "At this point our plan is to start slow and make our awareness known," he says.
Brands set to be distributed by Parts Europe include All Balls, Athena, Baker Drivetrain, Barnett Clutches, Bobster, Chris Products, Cometic, Battery Tender, Dynatek/Dynojet, EBC, EK Chains, FMF, Hog Tunes, ITP, JIMS, JT Sprockets, K&N, Kerker, Kuryakyn, Lindby Custom, Magura, Maxima, Metzeler, Michelin, MotoComm, Performance Machine, PIAA, Pirelli, Pro Circuit, Progressive Suspension, Roland Sands Design, S&S, Saddlemen, Scorpio, SuperTrapp, T-Bags, Vance & Hines, Vortex and Wiseco, among others.
—Submitted by Guido Ebert