UPDATE: As of early January 2011, Lance has allegedly notified dealers they’ll be taking over the western U.S. from Carter Brothers.
Mike Hickman, National Sales Manager of Lance Powersports, contacted us regarding the rumors that Lance will replace Carter Brothers as SYM’s U.S. importer.
There is of course lots of gossip I have been reading at 2strokebuzz and most is just that–gossip. I did read several things that were indeed true and that was nice, such as we are moving away from entry level scooters and offering much better quality scooters. It is true that most of 2010 we only promoted the Cali Classic which has been a wonderful scooter for us, it’s our goal to have a few more quality models available by the Spring of 2011!…
I asked him specifically if the Cali Classic was made by SYM, where it was made, and if he could officially deny that Lance was taking over SYM’s line in the United States. He responded with a video comparing the Cali Classic’s (SYM-branded) parts to Lances older (Znen) spares and a link to the SYM Allo 50.
So the Cali Classic is the SYM Allo, made by SYM, and as such, Lance does have a direct relationship with SYM, though it’s still unclear where the scooter is manufactured or how their relationship with SYM affects the Carter Brothers situation.
Lance is very similar to the recently-defunct Flyscooters in that both were originally among the many resellers of Znen scooters. Both set themselves apart with superior branding and marketing, (and both insist their quality control was better) but with so many similar cheapo scooters on the market, both looked for more visible ways to set their products apart. Flyscooters (I believe) switched manufacturers, then focused on accessories and a failed deal with CPI, along with a promising Chinese-made “Scout” Honda Cub clone that came too late. Lance has wisely shifted their focus to one product made by a respected manufacturer (even if it’s manufactured by a SYM contractor in mainland China, it’s still surely superior to most mainland Chinese scooters). It’s not a revolutionary design, it could pass for a Honda Joker clone and the frame and engine appear to be borrowed from the SYM FIddle II. In fact, we’d bet the model was designed to appease all parties in the wake of 2009’s Fiddlegate. But it is good to see Lance taking a step forward in quality, and even if Carter Brothers will continue as a SYM importer, competition with Lance will hopefully keep both companies on their toes in the accountability/support/marketing departments, which is ultimately good for dealers and consumers.