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View Full Version : Best Buy drops Brammo



Richard230
19 May 2011, 0753
It appears that Best Buy is giving up on the entire retail EV retail market, including Brammo. It sounds like they are more interested in selling EV accessories, rather than vehicles. I also note that they have had problems with customers complaining about reliability problems, poor performance and range concerns. Like I keep being told, early adopter beware - especially if you don't know how to fix the product yourself.

Read about it here: http://www.bnet.com/blog/electric-cars/best-buy-pulls-the-plug-on-electric-cars-and-isn-8217t-that-charged-about-scooters-either/4220

jpanichella
19 May 2011, 0837
That's really bad.

harlan
19 May 2011, 1000
I have had numerous customers complain about the Ultra Motor A2B they purchased from Best Buy having a dead battery because it had been sitting on the shelf for so long. Had they purchased it from a store like Hollywood Electrics, the battery would have been properly maintained and not sitting in a box for a year.

ZoomSmith
19 May 2011, 1008
Too bad for Brammo, but it seemed like an odd pairing from the beginning.

teddillard
19 May 2011, 1019
I keep wondering if the delivery problems for both the Empulse and the Enertia Plus had play in this decision... or if they affected sales, which, ultimately, drove the Best Buy decision...

The story felt to me like Best Buy was not really committed to all that a new product involves. They gave it a chance, but didn't realize this wasn't a box sale. At least not the type they are used to.

I also have had the lingering suspicion for a few months now that this was coming. Brammo started talking about independent dealers, and the Best Buy support seemed to be petering out. No stores added, the exclusivity ending, and then, no mention of Best Buy at all, really... all just internets gossip, really though.

teddillard
19 May 2011, 1043
I also feel it's important to note, Best Buy is dropping almost their entire EV project, not just Brammo as the title of this thread suggests.

billmi
19 May 2011, 1114
Though Best Buy is continuing to sell electric bikes and scooters in about a fourth of their stores during the summer months.

It varies from state to state, but judging by how slow things started with Best Buy and Enertias, I think they underestimated the red tape involved in setting up individual stores to become licensed to sell motor vehicles - something most states don't require for electric bikes (and I suspect in some cases scooters). Add that in to the fact that the Enertia was likely the most expensive electric 2 wheeler they sold, I would not expect them to turn over product as fast as most of the other merchandise taking up floor space in a Best Buy.

Just because a big box electronics retailer may not be the most effective place for a Brammo dealer network, doesn't mean there's a problem with the viability of their product.

HighlanderMWC
19 May 2011, 1119
Best Buy didn't seem interested in selling the vehicles. I have seen numerous reports of how difficult it was to even get a salesman to show up in the EV section of Best Buy, never mind one that actually had any knowledge of the products there (including the Enertia). You can't sell a product in that price range without any sales support. I've heard that most of the purchases were from those who already knew about the Enertia and Best Buy was just a delivery mechanism.

I'd be amazed if Empulse or Enertia Plus would have any impact since nobody outside of a very limited online community has any awareness of them.

teddillard
19 May 2011, 1122
I'd be amazed if Empulse or Enertia Plus would have any impact since nobody outside of a very limited online community has any awareness of them.

Very true, good point, except considering the impact it would have with the decision-makers at BB.

I am guessing a big part of it is margin, too. I'd reckon they're going to make a lot more margin off the charging systems they're talking about than the bikes. I know for a fact the margins are really low on the full sized bikes, not so sure on the Razor scooters and bicycles and such.

teddillard
19 May 2011, 1124
Though Best Buy is continuing to sell electric bikes and scooters in about a fourth of their stores during the summer months.

Um, this was the quote, just to be clear:
"We’ll continue to offer a small number of electric scooters and one bike in 250 locations [out of 1,101 in the U.S.], during the summer biking season only."

DaveAK
19 May 2011, 1131
It always seemed a strange setup to me, not that I experienced it first hand. I see no reason that a Best Buy employee couldn't be as knowledgeable about a Brammo as they could about a Maytag washer or Samsung TV but it's a different buying experience when you're purchasing a vehicle. I would have thought there's more to a Brammo than just a functional product with a list of features to rattle off. If you go to a bike dealership you'll have a salesman who's got 20+ years enthusiastic riding experience, which is a lot more intersting than 20 years experience watching TV.

Brutus
19 May 2011, 1137
This is good news, Brammo needs to be more oriented in the motorcycle world. From the start I could never get past the fact some 19 year old with little knowledge of motorcycles or riding experience would be the face of Brammo at the point of purchase. This is just a guess but I would expect to hear Brammo and Polaris making some announcements in the coming weeks and that would be more welcome news.

billmi
19 May 2011, 1138
Exactly. Sounds to me like they are paring down to just stocking what is selling in enough volume to meet their needs, and stocking it only in the locations where it sells, when it sells.

teddillard
19 May 2011, 1147
... I would expect to hear Brammo and Polaris making some announcements in the coming weeks and that would be more welcome news.

THAT would be interesting... considering Mark Blackwell (V.P. of Motorcycles at Polaris ) just joined the Board at Zero.
http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/oped/mark-blackwell-zero-motorcycles-board-of-directors/

cycleguy
19 May 2011, 1156
This points to a much larger and more general problem in the market right now. There is simply not enough demand for EV's right now to sustain any business model that relies on volume to be profitable. I'm sure Best Buy would have stuck it out and worked on improving their shortcomings if they were making enough money on EV sales, and saw that there was enough demand to continue the effort.

Unfortunately, this so called economic recovery is not benefiting the every day middle class working person that walks into a Best Buy, or any other motorcycle shop for that matter. EV's are effected even more, since they don't offer nearly the same value as a gas engined counterpart.
I find it interesting that the increase in gas prices are driving higher scooter sales, but not EV sales. In tough times like these, customers are looking to save money, and purchase things that offer them the most value. Purchasing a scooter for $1800 that gets 100MPG, and can be filled up in 2 minutes at a gas station, offers them a greater value than an electric scooter that costs at least twice as much an is much less convenient.
EV's will catch on eventually, but only if the consumer is willing to pay a premium for them, and right now, nobody is.
The Best Buy experiment was interesting, in that it showed how low the demand actually is for Electric motorcycles in the current market. I don't think it has anything to do with the Best Buy sales environment vs. a Motorcycle dealership, you can make a similar comparison to Toys R us and WallMart selling bicycles vs. a real bicycle shop, The big box stores sell a whole bunch more.

I think selling Brammo's through Best Buy was the best way to expose the bike to the general public. Sears sold huge numbers of Austrian made Puchs, re-badged as Allstates in the late 60's, much more than they would have sold through a traditional dealer network. I think the EV has not yet reached the point where the mainstream buyer see's enough value in them to buy one.

Brutus
19 May 2011, 1156
THAT would be interesting... considering Mark Blackwell (V.P. of Motorcycles at Polaris ) just joined the Board at Zero.
http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/oped/mark-blackwell-zero-motorcycles-board-of-directors/
scrambled brain, not Polaris Harley Davidson

DaveAK
19 May 2011, 1157
Are there any independant motorcycle dealership chains? I know a couple of Anchorage shops sell more than one brand, but they're not exactly nationwide chains. The shops around here are all single brand stores, so you'd have to partner with the manufacturer. An independant dealership chain though would be a different proposition.

billmi
19 May 2011, 1229
Around here, and what I saw in Central California, most motorcycle shops tended to be single or two brands. The exception was "House of Power" (known as House of Rip-Off to local riders) that carried 5 or more brands - with a showroom as large as some car dealerships. They started dropping some of their brands, Kawasaki first, a couple of years ago, and went bust a year ago.

jpanichella
19 May 2011, 1241
I guess the worst thing about this is that now Brammo is going to be getting less exposure for everyday people. Any hype is good hype, right?

moparren
19 May 2011, 1511
Right, 'cause that worked out soooo well for Buell. Just ask someone that owns one how they were treated at the Harley store when the wanted to get a Buell. At least with Best Buy you could chase down a 19 year old...


scrambled brain, not Polaris Harley Davidson

Richard230
19 May 2011, 1527
My cousins bought a new 1958 Sears Allstate 125 cc motorcycle that was made by the Austrian motorcycle company of Puch. (It had a hard tail frame, a 3-speed twistgrip gearbox, a fan-cooled motor and a top speed of about 45 mph. After they pulled the fan off, removed the muffler baffle, bent the rear wheel by riding 2-up over a large curb and in general trashed the bike, they gave it to me. I suffered with the thing for a couple of years, then gave up, as it would only idle for about a minute or two without freezing up and I got tired of bouncing up and down (due to the egg-shaped wheel) as I rode along.

Anyway, when you purchased a Sears Allstate motorcycle through their catalog, they gave you a complete service manual, an assembly manual (you had to uncrate the bike and put it together yourself) and a complete parts manual that allowed you to order any part that you needed direct from the local Sears catalog store - which was located in almost every city's downtown area at the time. While the sales people didn't know a thing about motorcycles, they figured that their customers did and just let them work things out. But the parts ordering system and the cost of replacement parts were excellent - even if the motorcycles were not all that great.

teddillard
19 May 2011, 1616
Funny. My wife's response to this story? "Best Buy is going away..."

Just sayin. She's wicked smaaat. (She picked me, didn't she?)

cycleguy
19 May 2011, 1645
My cousins bought a new 1958 Sears Allstate 125 cc motorcycle that was made by the Austrian motorcycle company of Puch. (It had a hard tail frame, a 3-speed twistgrip gearbox, a fan-cooled motor and a top speed of about 45 mph. After they pulled the fan off, removed the muffler baffle, bent the rear wheel by riding 2-up over a large curb and in general trashed the bike, they gave it to me. I suffered with the thing for a couple of years, then gave up, as it would only idle for about a minute or two without freezing up and I got tired of bouncing up and down (due to the egg-shaped wheel) as I rode along.

Anyway, when you purchased a Sears Allstate motorcycle through their catalog, they gave you a complete service manual, an assembly manual (you had to uncrate the bike and put it together yourself) and a complete parts manual that allowed you to order any part that you needed direct from the local Sears catalog store - which was located in almost every city's downtown area at the time. While the sales people didn't know a thing about motorcycles, they figured that their customers did and just let them work things out. But the parts ordering system and the cost of replacement parts were excellent - even if the motorcycles were not all that great.

I remember growing up sitting on my father's brand new 1967 Sears Allstate 250 that he stored in the hallway under the staircase in the house. He rode it only occasionally, and bought it mainly because it was built in his home town of Graz, Austria.
Twelve years later he gave it to me when I went off to Collage for transportation. I remember riding it home one spring break, from Tulsa, OK. to Chicago in a driving 40deg. rainstorm, to see my girlfriend, what we didn't do back then for love.
Anyway, the bike was 20 years old and still had the nubs on the tires. It always started on the second kick and was build like a tank, and very high quality. The bike was never considered fast it smoked and used almost more premix oil than gas. I could barely maintain 65 MPH on the interstate until about 1/2 way through the trip when I noticed the engine changed pitch and started accelerating almost on it's own. I was now easily maintaining 80 mph with still more on tap, and the smoke out the mufflers drastically reduced.
I guess the rings finally unstuck themselves after sitting for 20 years. I ended up selling it to some Triumph vintage bike collector in Tulsa to buy a VOX AC30 guitar amp. The amp, the bike and the girlfriend are now long gone, out of the three, the bike is the one I really miss.

PS: The girlfriend too, now that I think about it.

Richard230
19 May 2011, 1807
I'll bet it looked something like this, Cycleguy.

cycleguy
19 May 2011, 1820
I'll bet it looked something like this, Cycleguy.

Yes, that's it, but I had the red and silver "Sport" model.

http://www.bikepics.com/pictures/1180894/

This one they considered the "touring" model.

I also had a 50cc red and silver also.

__Tango
20 May 2011, 0849
When i was at the TTXGP talking to the brammo folks, a woman (i didn't get her name) said that the best buy/brammo relationship wasn't great (and that's putting it nicely). The higher ups at best buy were interested and behind the effort, but the lower level store managers and sales people didn't like them because the margins weren't very good and they took up too much space, so there wasn't much effort being put in by the sales people, and thus not many sales. At this point, there were only three best buy stores that were selling brammos anyway.

She also said that brammo was moving to work more closely with motorcycle shops and stores (e.g. Scuderia West Motorcycles in San Fran), and with electric moto outfits like Hollywood.

Allen_okc
20 May 2011, 0902
it just seemed like a odd place to sell any EV - highlander made a good point about the salesman - people are starving for a alternative transportation or just a fun vehicle. but im sure they would have a lot of questions about them before they spent thousands of dollars on any product, so what would a Best Buy salesman know about a EV anyway...

they need to be at a place where someone would go to look for one, like a scooter or motorcycle shop, so intelligent answers can be given to curious customer...

EV's at best buy is like looking for a ford pick up at walmart... just my opinion...

Richard230
20 May 2011, 1433
If you don't mind a "snarky" remark about the Best Buy experience, I will comment that another reason that Best Buy sales people wouldn't like Brammo is that when you get to the checkout counter they have no extended warranty or upgraded battery to sell you. :rolleyes:

David Harvey
12 June 2011, 0952
Though Best Buy is continuing to sell electric bikes and scooters in about a fourth of their stores during the summer months.

It varies from state to state, but judging by how slow things started with Best Buy and Enertias, I think they underestimated the red tape involved in setting up individual stores to become licensed to sell motor vehicles - something most states don't require for electric bikes (and I suspect in some cases scooters). Add that in to the fact that the Enertia was likely the most expensive electric 2 wheeler they sold, I would not expect them to turn over product as fast as most of the other merchandise taking up floor space in a Best Buy.

Just because a big box electronics retailer may not be the most effective place for a Brammo dealer network, doesn't mean there's a problem with the viability of their product.


You nait the nail on the head!