2 Symbas, 1 Couple, No Sense

Obviously I am not spending enough time on the scooterweb, I’ve missed this 64-page, nearly ten-month long AVRider.com thread by a couple circumnavigating the globe on Symbas. There goes my Memorial Day, it’s going to take the whole day to catch up with their adventures. (Spoiler Alert from page 64, it sounds like the trip is close to its end, they’re in Malaysia, trying to organize return shipping to America for the bikes.)

Thanks to velobuff on Modern Buddy for the link. Amazing.

Alliance’s SYM Lineup Grows,
Wolf Coming Soon

Mike Hickman from Alliance Powersports let us know that new SYM HD200s, Symba, and Fiddle IIs have arrived in the U.S, and the promising Wolf motorcycle is on the way. This is great news, SYM is a great manufacturer and we’re happy to see them making a comeback. SYM’s distributor network and web presence definitely needs some clarification, but we’ll take any baby steps we can get.

Here’s Hickman’s comment:

So the 2012 HD 200 EVO with the disc brake, powder coated black forks and rims along with stitching in the seat to match the color of the bike, Awesome!!! The 2012 Symba and Fiddle 11 have also arrived, and the much anticipated Wolf Classic 150cc is on the water with an arrival date of just after Labor Day! Let’s get this party started! Ride Safe!

Lambretta LN 125 “Il Arrive”

Scooter Infos (Pictures) and Scooter Station report the new Lambretta LN 125 was unveiled in Paris this morning, and will be on sale in France in August. They confirm it’s built by SYM (with a SYM Fiddle engine and some Italian parts) which is good news, quality-wise, but probably bad news, U.S.-distribution-wise. The European distributor is Mooof in Belgium.

The design is as good as could be hoped for, it’s pretty swoonworthy, to be honest. Let’s hope the quality and service are there to back up the looks, especially for a 125cc bike priced at US$5345. (Note: that’s the EU price converted to dollars, there always seems to be a substantial markup for the U.S. market.)

SYM Distributor Update

On April 13th, Lance Powersports published an open letter to SYM owners explaining the current SYM situation. An Eastern-U.S. distributor has still not been named, but Lance’s new sister company, Alliance Powersports, will handle left-coast distribution and has taken over SYM parts and warranty service nationwide. SYM owners should contact their dealer for parts and service, dealers should contact Alliance for parts/warranty support. Lance/Alliance National Sales Manager Mike Hickman also tells us that Alliance can supply new bikes to Eastern dealers until an Eastern distributor is named. The full letter and Hickman’s contact info follows.
Continue reading “SYM Distributor Update”

Lance/SYM deal confirmed

After last month’s rumors, we’ve received a copy of an email Lance Powersports is apparently distributing to dealers announcing they’re SYM’s new distributor in the western United States. It’s unclear if eastern states will continue with Carter Brothers or move to a new distributor, but either way, Lance clearly isn’t making any efforts to be Carter’s BFFs…

You will see a renewed passion for this wonderful line of scooters, supported with wonderful customer service including parts support, tech support, and an attention to detail that we believe was missing from the previous distributor, Carter Bros.

The memo promises Lance will stock “a limited amount of scooters/parts” “very early in 2011” and will build up their inventory going into the spring and summer.

Piaggio/Vespa and other distributors have tried regional distributors in the past with mixed results. If memory serves, Derbi and Kinetic had regional U.S. importers as late as the early 2000s. A regional approach seems a bit anachronistic and overcomplicated today, but we look forward to seeing what Lance can do to get SYM back on track in the U.S.

Lance, SYM, and the Cali Classic

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.
Continue reading “Lance, SYM, and the Cali Classic”

Scooter Superstore
and the Beginning of the End

On July 27, Scooter Superstore of America, a Ft. Lauderdale-based chain with several dealerships in Florida and Georgia, filed for bankruptcy. While many shops have closed their doors lately, and individual importers have faced some unique problems, SSTAM’s trouble could be–pardon the tired idiom–the straw that breaks the industry’s back.
Continue reading “Scooter Superstore
and the Beginning of the End”

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.

Testing your Loyalty?

I know Vespa rudely scheduled their dealer meeting in California the same weekend as Genuine’s dealer retreat in Wisconsin a couple years ago, but it doesn’t seem sporting to schedule the grand opening of the redesigned Scooterworks Chicago space the same day as Motowork’s North Avenue shop opening. I’m not sure who called dibs on the date first, but if I can’t go to both, I’m not going to either. Even if one of them books Jay Leno.