continued The scooter sells for $1525. Along with a couple more 150 cubic-centimeter motorcycles -- a dirt bike and a street bike -- Severiano sells a four-wheel, all-terrain vehicle and a silver-and-black cruising bike with a reclined seating position and a 250-cubic-centimeter, V-twin engine, the largest engine Shineray produces. "They have no freeways [in China] except in some cities, so they don't really need a lot of speed there. Plus, most people can't afford one this big."
The 250 is Severiano's most expensive bike at $3475, though he sells trikes at about the same price. Powered by 150-cubic-centimeter engines, the three-wheelers come in delivery van, open-bed, rickshaw, and passenger-van configurations. "Napa Auto Parts is using [the delivery van] model," Severiano says. "They wanted something cheaper to operate than a truck that could still carry larger parts, like a differential or a transmission. We've sold some of the passenger type to Hotel Corona down in Ensenada. They rent them to the people that come on the cruise ships."
Severiano says he spent $60,000 to start up the dealership. From the time he opened his showroom in the last week of November through February of this year, he says he sold about 60 motorcycles, a sales figure he calls good, though "a little lower than I was expecting." He finds hope for the future in the possibility of competing for delivery contracts now held by Honda and Suzuki. "Our prices are 40 to 50 percent lower than Honda and Suzuki," he says.
A challenge facing Severiano is the way Mexicans view motorcycles. "We don't have the culture of motorcycles in Mexico," Severiano says. "People associate them with wealthy people and businesses."
Tijuanenses, Severiano says, also worry that motorcyles wouldn't be safe in the city's frenzied traffic. "Drivers are very aggressive," he explains, "and there are a lot of accidents. But we tell people that they can control how safe the motorcycle is by riding safely. We warn them not to let the adrenaline get hold of them. Because when you are on your motorcycle and you're going fast, it's easy to feel like nothing can stop you."
A source of optimism for Severiano are the credit programs offered by many of Tijuana's maquiladoras through which the factories buy vehicles for their workers to commute in or on. "We're trying to build up the idea of motorcycles for everyone. We're selling it as cheap transportation for factory workers and commuters."