SYM auctions 110 scooters

Guido Ebert reports SYM USA is auctioning 110 scooters, in various states of title… ed… ness.

It’s unclear from Ebert’s story where these 110 scooters came from, but as we’ll discuss in detail in a coming story, in the rapidly-declining scooter market, most scooter importers and their dealer financiers (usually GE Capital) are finding themselves with large numbers of scooters returned when dealers default on financing, considering the title situation, we’d bet that’s the source here.

11 thoughts on “SYM auctions 110 scooters”

  1. I wonder why all of the scooters in KC, MO are labelled as “NO TITLE AVAILABLE, SOLD WITH BILL OF SALE ONLY”. Buying without a title from an auction house would make me really, really nervous. Naturally, I live in KC…what a bummer Would really like an HD 200.

  2. If my (total speculation) reasoning is correct and these are bikes returned by dealers, maybe some dealers had all their paperwork in order and returned it with the bikes, some of the dealers still had all the paperwork and has promised to deliver it by that date, others maybe just disappeared w/ the paperwork and the auctioneer can’t get the titles.

    I would bet dealers will show up and buy ’em up, which sucks for SYM, because these would be bikes that they’ve already counted as sold. A SYM dealer could presumably sell them as new with a warranty and everything. Anyone else would have to sell them as used, and the ones without titles probably couldn’t be legally sold, though that might not stop people.

    More on all this soon in a long post I’ve been working on for a while.

  3. I tried to share this at Guido Ebert’s blog, but I’m hung up in moderation, it seems… it’s not uncommon for dealers to use a financing firm to do a “floor plan.” In such arrangements, the firm holds the title until the bike is sold, whereupon the dealer pays off the bike, and the firm releases the title to the dealer to forward to the retail buyer.

    That may be what’s holding up the titles — the financer covering these dealers’ floor plans is waiting to get a check before sending the titles.

  4. Presto, good point. Now that you mention it, I don’t think there *is* a title until the bike is sold, there’s a MSO (Manufacturer’s statement of Origin), and yes, the finance company would hold that until the sale, I believe. When the bike is sold, the MSO is what the DMV needs to issue the title.

  5. So as far as those KC scoots with a bill of sale only: How difficult would it be to get one titled? Does it vary by state as to what their policies are? I am located in Iowa and would be attempting to title it here. If you couldn’t obtain a title, why would anyone buy one?

  6. The most legal reason someone would buy one would be for parts. or to repair a badly-damaged bike.

    There are maybe ways to get titles, but they’d be time consuming, expensive and sometimes quasi-legal. You could file for a lost title or use a title service, but if the VIN didn’t show up in a database anywhere, it’d probably not go through. That works with older bikes before VINS were standardized, but I don’t think it’d work for a newer bike.

    State laws vary, but I think all states would run it through a VIN check. And i’d imagine the manufacturer and auction house would have to provide a list of the VINS to some gov’t agency or other to make sure they weren’t sold/titled illegally, so it could maybe get you in trouble.

  7. If these are buy-backs from shuttered dealers, I still say the title will be forthcoming. Again, the finance company will need a check before they release the MSO to the winning bidder, if they were on a floor plan (and they likely were).

  8. Maybe a good time for a SYM dealer to chime in here. Anyone thinking about buying one of these SYM scooter at auction should walk carefully if your not a licensed motorcycle dealer. Any returned,repo’d, buyback scooter, motorcycle or new untitled or unregistered vehicle is going to cause you some issues if all you have is a Certificate or Origin ( especially not signed off by a dealer) unless you are a dealer with the same name on the front. If a Certificate of Origin is not available, don’t count on getting one from the distributor because they don’t just offer those to non licensed individuals as well. These will likely be untitled and no dealer or company will go out and get one on new units, not needed. Personally I would touch one of these due to the simple fact the SYM distributor is having some serious problems right now. You will not have any warranty at all and parts are not available. You decide, buyer beware.

  9. I agree that these auctions are best left to dealers, and seem to be targeted towards dealers, I’m not even sure if the general public is invited to bid.

  10. If they are going for liquidation prices (pennies on the dollar) I’d think maybe some savvy industry person would buy them up for a supply of parts. I hear that happens…

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