PSF and Flyscooters to Close

Guido Ebert reports that both Power Sports Factory and Flyscooters are in the process of closing for business. Both have sent letters to dealers. Many Chinese scooter importers have come and gone without ever being mentioned here on 2strokebuzz, but these two companies stood out from the pack in a few ways.

We met Daniel Pak of Flyscooters at Dealer Expo a couple years ago and were instantly impressed with his transparency and honesty, and his realistic and candid perspective of the scooter industry. Unlike many importers, Flyscooters developed a solid brand identity, with quality advertising and PR support. They set themselves apart with a full line of accessories (like the Scooterbug trailer and they developed good relationships with their suppliers, resulting in (somewhat) better quality control than their competitors in the Chinese import market. Their recently-introduced “Scout” model offered a more authentic-looking (but lower-quality) alternative to the SYMba in the Honda Cub-style motorbike market, and we’d been looking forward to trying it out.

Power Sports Factory was a publicly-traded importer. After a few years of anonymity on the market as “Yamati,” they set themselves apart with an expensive licensing agreement with legendary auto racer Mario Andretti, and a deal with Qianjiang to sell the once-revered Benelli brand scooters in the USA. The Andretti/Benelli models’ Italian design was certainly leagues above most Chinese offerings, but the quality, while reasonably good, couldn’t compete with popular Taiwanese brands like Kymco, PGO (Genuine) and SYM, who offered similarly-equipped models of higher quality at a similar or lower price. PSF reached out to 2SB with a demo model that we promptly crashed and never got around to reviewing properly, so their demise is probably our fault, though since the Andretti’s generally-positive splash on the market, the company has restructured, faced an NHTSA investigation and mounting debts, and their reputation with dealers has certainly suffered.

Over the last couple years, both companies had promising deals lined up with Taiwanese/Chinese manufacturer CPI, but CPI fell upon hard times of their own and neither deal came to fruition. Both companies seemed to be gathering momentum just as the 2008 scooter boom ended. By the time they were ready to compete, most top dealers were already well-supplied by Japanese, Taiwanese, and European brands, leaving both companies to work with newer dealers who got into the game too late, with too-high expectations. Flyscooters claims 75 of their dealers closed down in the last couple years.

For all the Chinese-scooter-bashing we’ve done over the years, these were two of the very few brands worth mentioning. Both did admirable jobs of branding and marketing, and both offered better-than-average Chinese scooters. Ultimately, both were caught in the middle ground; unable to compete with the Taiwanese importers on value, and unable to compete with fly-by-night importers on price.

Both companies worked with manufacturers that supplied other importers, so sourcing engine parts from Martin Racing Performance or other third-party dealers shouldn’t be too hard. Sunright in Georgia was apparently officially handling PSF parts, we’ll update if we hear more about where the companies’ current stock ends up.