Posts Tagged ‘Chrysler’

A Saturday at Harley-Davidson of St. Augustine

January 18, 2010

Dealernews Top 100 Dealer Builds Traffic Several Ways

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fl. (Jan. 16, 2010)—Owner Clark Vitulli opens his small Harley-Davidson store here before 8 am this cool, drizzly Saturday morning, making last minute preparations for a couple of special events and the shooting of several TV commercials.

Sales of all makes of new and used motorcycles were down more than 40 percent in Florida last year, but Vitulli’s operation bettered that sad figure; his sales were off by less than 30 percent. The operation generated revenues of nearly $10 million last year. One reason for his success is that he worked hard on promoting the store and giving prospects many opportunities to visit his 16,000 sq. ft. facility. It has a 9,000 sq. ft showroom and a 7,000 sq. ft. service department with 10 service bays that is completely air conditioned with an AC duct in each bay. There are 20 full-time and part-time employees.

There’s a picnic area and a band shell for live music every weekend. There’s also a shuttle bus running to the huge outlet mall nearby.

Clark Vitulli

Today, the store is promoting a 9 am blood drive, followed by the monthly meeting of the store’s HOG group. After the meeting, the film crew will move in to shoot footage for a series of 30-second TV commercials featuring customer testimonials. The shoot will last a couple of hours. After that, traffic should slow down this afternoon.

While it seems a bit crazy here, it’s a typical Saturday for the store.

The dealership also operates a tiny retail satellite operation (Harley calls it an Alternate Retail Outlet – ARO) a few miles away in St. Augustine’s Old Town, the center of this delightful historic tourist attraction. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States, older than Jamestown by 42 years, in fact. It was founded in 1565, 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Vitulli and his business partner, Allen Good, opened the small 1,500 sq. ft. store to sell apparel and accessories in December, 2009. It’s in the high rent district of splashy retail shops on St. George Street, the main tourist venue, but with the high pedestrian traffic, it generates sales of about $200/sq ft and helps drive riders to the main store located on the edge of town, just off I-95.

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Funding Crisis Follows Cerberus

January 2, 2009

Chrysler LLC received its $4 billion low-interest federal government loan Friday to help the auto company continue funding its operations and pay its suppliers for parts.

Those in the powersports industry will recall Chrysler’s owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP, went through a similar problem – paying off suppliers for parts – when it owned Global Motorsports Group, Inc., the parent company of PG&A distributors Motorcycle Stuff and Custom Chrome.

Global Motorsports Group, Inc. was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management in 2005.

Following the takeover, Cerberus executives placed tight controls on Global’s operations, putting decision-making authority into the hands of its on-site representatives. According to some observers, those non-powersports managers subsequently made some mistakes in dealing with vendors and dealers because they didn’t understand the industry.

Three years later, on Jan. 31, 2008, Global filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition for reorganization just a few days after the company was sold to Dae-Li USA Inc. for $16 million plus assumption of a long list of liabilities to more than 350 unsecured suppliers.

Cerberus’ website states, “We succeed when our companies succeed, to the benefit of our portfolio companies’ employees, customers, suppliers and the communities in which they operate.

“Cerberus believes that strong corporate governance is the cornerstone of our business.”

Motorcycle Stuff closed its doors in 2008, after 37 of business. How long, do you think, Chrysler will survive?

Concepts, Concepts and More Concepts

December 3, 2008

Some concept bikes make it into production, some don’t. Here’s a run-down of some of the neat design studies unveiled during the past few years.

Confederate Renovatio
Confederate’s Renovatio (Rebirth) concept was designed with a liquid-cooled V-twin producing 150hp standard or 190hp supercharged.
conceptrenovatio1
Honda V4
Unveiled in October at INTERMOT, Honda’s V4 Concept is a design study made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the OEM’s V4 four-stroke engine.
concepthondav4
Victory Vision 800
The Victory Vision 800 concept featured an 800cc 4-stroke liquid-cooled parallel twin mated to an automatic constant variable (CVT) transmission.
conceptvictoryvision8001
Yamaha Tesseract
Unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the Yamaha Tesseract is capable of leaning into turns and gets its power from both a V-Twin engine of undisclosed size along with an electric motor.
conceptyamahatesseract
Aprilia Mana X
An update to the Mana unveiled in 2006, the radical 839cc V-twin Aprilia Mana X, shown at EICMA 2008, is a 383-lb. bike producing 55hp at 8000rpm.
conceptapriliamanax
Bombardier Embrio
Powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, the Bombardier Embrio concept uses “outrigger wheels” until it hits 15mph, and then it becomes a gyroscopically balanced unicycle.
conceptbrp_embrio
The Gulak Uno
The Uno was invented by 18-year-old Canadian Ben J. Poss Gulak and shown at the 2008 National Motorcycle Show in Toronto. Like the BRP Embrio, the electric-powered vehicle also uses a gyroscope for balance. Like a Segway, to make it go forward, you lean forward. To slow it down, you lean backward. It has two wheels mounted side-by-side.
conceptuno
Chrysler Tomahawk
Chrysler’s former president, Wolfgang Bernhard, drove the Tomahawk on stage at the Detroit international auto show in 2003. This radical concept is powered by a V-10 engine sourced from the Viper.
concepttomahawk1
Derbi DH 2.0
Shown at EICMA last month, the Derbi DH 2.0 can be described as a motorized mountain bike. It has fuel in frame, an automatic transmission, and a 96cc single-cylinder four-stroke producing 8hp.
conceptderbidh201
Suzuki Crosscage
Suzuki’s Crosscage is a fuel-cell motorcycle featuring an air-cooled fuel system from and secondary lithium-ion battery. Look away from the traditional engine – the motor is inside the huge swinging arm/rear wheel assembly. The faux petrol tank covers the fuel cell, the hydrogen fuel tank is where the motor is normally and the battery and motor controller sit underneath.
conceptcrosscage
Husqvarna SMQ450
The Husqvarna SMQ450, powered by a 450cc liquid-cooled single, was shown for the first time at EICMA in November.
concepthusqvarnasmq450
Honda EVO-6
First shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the EVO-6 is powered by an 1800cc six-cylinder engine sourced from the Gold Wing.
concepthondaevo6
Yamaha Gen-Ryu
Also unveiled at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show was Yamaha’s Gen-Ryu, equipped with a 600cc engine and electric motor hybrid system.
conceptgen-ryu
BMW Lo Rider
The BMW Lo Rider allows the customer to adapt the entire character of the vehicle to individual taste, and take full pleasure in assembling the unit into anything from a cool cruiser to an aggressive muscle bike. The design elements that customers can individually combine include a raised or lowered exhaust system; a seat for one or two, or an aluminum perch seat; a headlamp unit in classic shape or in streetfighter style; a fuel tank with or without aluminum trim; four paint finishes for the fuel tank; three paint finishes for the engine casing; and front and rear wheel fenders finished either in black or chrome.
conceptbmwlorider
Aprilia FV2 1200
The year 2007 marked the 20th anniversary of Aprilia’s first GP win. The concept FV2 1200 served as a tribute to that anniversary, and offered a glimpse of the technical and stylistic attributes Aprilia planned to develop for future production bikes. It’s powered by a 1200cc, 90° V-twin engine and boasts a ride-by-wire control system integrating traction control, a latest generation ABS system and electronic suspension management. The bike’s dashboard incorporates a multifunctional instrument cluster that can be interfaced with a PC, making it possible to download telemetric data for personal performance evaluations, reconfigure the information shown on the matrix display, load new mappings from the internet, display itineraries, and integrate GPRS and GSM modules for mobile phone connectivity.
conceptapriliafv2
Vectrix Electric Superbike
Unveiled at EICMA 2007, the Vectrix Electric Superbike is powered by a 240v, 7.5KWh battery that drives an electric motor in the rear hub. The 449-lb. bike has a claimed top speed of 125mph and a single-charge range of around 70 miles.
conceptvectrixsportbike