Posts Tagged ‘sell’

Can You Make Money Selling Electrics?

December 2, 2009

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews December 2009 issue. 

When Polaris Industries introduced its electric golf cart a few months ago, the move took many in the powersports industry by surprise. Electric power in a combustion engine business? Not likely, many said.

Even Polaris managers say that its electric Breeze vehicle won’t be sold initially through powersports dealers. The company is looking at a different market, one made up largely of nonpowersports riders living in southern retirement communities.

“We’re going aggressively at new markets,” Polaris CEO Scott Wine told a reporter, “but we’re also using this as a test-and-learn type of trial.” Analysts and others in the powersports industry haven’t been too excited about Polaris’ plans in this segment, Wine continued.

That’s understandable, because the appeal and the customer are very different from what powersports dealers are used to working with. But the margins — close to 25 percent on many machines — can be a lot more attractive than what dealers normally get on combustion-powered machines.

Mike Tomberlin, head of the Augusta, Ga.-based Tomberlin Automotive Group, is one of the most aggressive of many small companies developing electric on-road vehicles. A powersports dealer himself, Tomberlin also produces and distributes a line of combustion-powered ATVs, motorcycles and scooters through his diversified dealer network. He knows the difference between marketing gas and electric (more…)