Dispatches From The Downturn: Scooter Sales

Though Americans may not be buying as many cars, they are buying scooters. Scooter sales were up more than 40 percent last year. In another installment of Dispatches from the Downturn, host Alex Cohen talks with Mike Frankovich, owner of NoHo Scooters in North Hollywood, Calif., about how his business is coping during the recession.

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ALEX COHEN, host:

Back now with Day to Day. Yesterday, General Motors announced a loss of more than $30 billion for last year; plummeting auto sales are a major reason behind the record loss. Though Americans may not be buying as many cars, they are buying scooters. Scooter sales were up more than 40 percent last year. Today, as part of our series Dispatches from the Downturn, we're joined by Mike Frankovich, owner of NoHo Scooters in North Hollywood, California. And Mike, I would imagine the spike in sales must have happened a fair bit last summer when gas prices when up to $4 and $5 a gallon. What was business like in your shop back then?

Mr. MIKE FRANKOVICH (Owner, NoHo Scooters, North Hollywood, California): Back then, we rarely had nothing in stock. I had a waiting list for certain models up to three months, people waiting for their scooters to come in.

COHEN: And this is because of the great mileage, I would assume. What kind of mileage can you get on a scooter?

Mr. FRANKOVICH: They vary depending on the size of the motor; some of our scooters get over 100 miles per gallon.

COHEN: Wow. Gas is cheaper now, so what our sales looking like for you?

Mr. FRANKOVICH: It's slowed down quite a bit. Of course, it's wintertime, so people are less likely to buy a scooter in the wintertime; it's just like convertible sales. It's starting to pick up. Car companies are not financing, you know, vehicles right now, and most people can put a scooter on a credit card; that does help us.

COHEN: And what does a scooter run price-wise nowadays?

Mr. FRANKOVICH: Scooters start around $2,000, and you can go all the way up to $10,000 for certain models.

COHEN: You've got all sorts of things there at your shop besides just the scooters themselves. What else do you sell and do, and how are those parts of your business is doing?

Mr. FRANKOVICH: We sell helmets, jackets, gloves, anything that goes along with the scooter. Right now, those sales are doing very well. People are pulling their scooters out of the garage right now, and they're taking them out and they're riding them.

COHEN: Mike Frankovich, owner of NoHo Scooters in North Hollywood, California, thank you.

Mr. FRANKOVICH: All right. Thank you.

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