Archive for September 2nd, 2009

Customs Grabs $1.5 Million in Powersports Units

September 2, 2009

10 CFMOTO Containers Tied Up

EPA Violations Claimed

U.S. Customs officials in Dallas last week grabbed more than 1,400 motorcycles and scooters, claiming they violated EPA regulations. About 400 hundred of those units belong to CFMOTO Powersports, Inc., the distributor based in suburban Minneapolis. They’re worth about $1.5 million at retail.

The move by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) people has cost CFMOTO more than $100,000 in storage fees alone, and the company also could be hit with penalties and legal fees, says Lev Mirman, president of CFMOTO’s operations in the U.S.  “This is absolutely crazy at a time when scooter sales are down 75% from last year and cash is very tight,” says Mirman.

When I spoke with Mirman this week, he was really hot, pointing out that his vehicles all have passed EPA certification tests at EPA approved labs. He says he holds four certificates that cost him more than $20,000 each. “We follow every EPA rule,” he says.

Mirman claims the grab is a move by the feds to block the sale of Chinese-made products. “They had a big push in the Dallas port to get as many Chinese bikes arrested (more…)

How Long Will the Dealer Shakeout Last?

September 2, 2009

Note: the following is the “From the Editor’s” column appearing in the September issue.

“Fed Says Economy Is Leveling Out.” That was yesterday’s top news headline. Today’s? “Retail Sales Dip Unexpectedly, Jobless Claims Rise.” Mixed messages, but apparently the economy is about to turn around.

What about our industry? The other day I spoke with Laurn Rice of ADP Lightspeed, which services roughly 3,000 stores, mostly large and franchised. Here’s what he had
to say:
• From late November 2008 through February, the company confirmed that an alarming number of Lightspeed users had gone out of business or filed for bankruptcy.
• During this time, there were no ownership transfers, meaning nobody cared to buy these stores. There also were a slowdown in software upgrades and a rise in downgrades (for example, stores going from 10 users to six, or removing modules).
• Recently, bankruptcies and closures have dropped 60 percent, and store transfers have risen “dramatically.” Downgrades are down; upgrades, up.

“In the last two months we’ve seen a lot of business from existing dealers (more…)