Zero Motorcycles launches dealer network in U.S., Canada

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Zero Motorcycles is expanding its distribution model to include traditional sales through powersports dealerships. It has already signed on with eight dealers across the country.

The first eight dealers signed on to carry Zero's entire product line include:
  • C&C Sports, Brighton, Mich.
  • Escondido Cycle Center, Escondido, Calif.
  • Grand Prix Motorsports, a Dealernews Top 100 Dealer in Littleton, Colo.
  • Hitching Post Motorsports, Fridley, Hopkins and South St. Paul, Minn.
  • Malcolm Smith Motorsports, a Top 100 Dealer and the 2009 Dealer of the Year, Riverside, Calif.
  • Mission Motorcycles, Daly City, Calif.
  • MotoWorld of El Cajon, El Cajon, Calif.
  • NorCal MasterCraft, Pleasanton, Sacramento, Calif.

Zero’s current sales channel has been predominately driven online through www.zeromotorcycles.com, with consumer test rides conducted by field representatives. Now interested buyers can go directly to their nearest Zero Motorcycles dealership to test ride and buy a Zero onsite.

Once the official transition is completed, the company says it will no longer sell motorcycles directly to consumers unless purchasing from a powersports dealer in their area is not feasible.

Zero officials say the change will allow customers to inspect, in person, the company's lineup of electric motorcycles. It will also for the first time mean that Zero customers can get after-sales support from a dealer, and offer potential dealers new revenue streams through unit sales and Zero's growing line of parts and accessory items.

“As we continue adding new motorcycles to our product lineup, consumers are looking to experience our products in more of a traditional retail setting that allows for them to touch and feel all of our bikes in one location and at one time,” said John Lloyd, Zero's VP of global sales. “It has always been part of our strategic plan to add multiline dealerships to the mix, and the timing is now right for us to move in this direction. Dealers have been requesting we alter our sales model for the past few years so they could begin selling our products. and we are now in a position to successfully do this.”

Lloyd added that switching to a more traditional sales model should drive new types of customers  into dealerships — consumers who may have never thought about buying a motorcycle but are attracted to alternative energy vehicles.

Dealers will be recruited in the United States and Canada first. The company predicts that it will double its dealer network by the end of 2011 for a total of 50 U.S. dealers, Lloyd said. The OEM has signed on 11 dealers in Canada and expects to have as many as 20 by the year's end.

Under the new program, Zero has partnered with GE to offer wholesale financing and has launched a handful of in-season financing programs for dealers who come aboard during the 2011 model year, Lloyd said. Additional programs are planned for 2012.

Zero has also launched a showroom display program with posters, hangtags and other POP marketing materials.

Further reading:
Zero Motorcycles aims to lead the electric bike revolution
Riding impressions: Testing the Zero Motorcycles lineup
Online exclusive: We query Mark Blackwell on the electric motorcycle market

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