Bell Moves To Dealer Direct Distribution

Bell to improve dealer profitability and service through focused sales team

Santa Cruz, CA – (June 13, 2003) ¿ Bell Powersports, the newly formed division of Bell Sports, announced plans to sell its motorcycle helmets dealer direct rather than through distributors such as Parts Unlimited. US retailers will be able to buy 2003 model year helmets through Bell¿s team of independent reps and inside sales department as early as mid-August. Bell will roll out a comprehensive sales program, along with its 2004 product line, in the Fall. All orders will be shipped from the company¿s distribution facility in Rantoul, IL.

Bell has used the dealer direct distribution model to achieve market leadership in every other helmet category it has targeted. According to independent research groups, Bell Sports leads the US bicycle helmet market with a 63% share of the $254 million category. In the rapidly growing ski and snowboard helmet category, the company is the market leader with a 32% share (under the Giro brand). Bell currently employs more than 65 independent sales reps in the U.S.

“We look forward to showing Powersports retailers how buying directly from Bell is good for their businesses,” explained John Vanderburg, Bell¿s Vice President of Sales. “Dealers will benefit by significantly increased margins, better dating programs and merchandising support. Everyone benefits by having a team of sales people focused on the Bell brand, who are helmet experts and actively supporting each account.”

“This move was necessary for us to achieve our ultimate goal of market leadership,” explained Greg Shapleigh, Bell¿s Vice President of Marketing. “We have three primary strategic imperatives: rejuvenate the Bell brand with innovative product, restore retailer confidence and build an infrastructure for long term success. The ability to work directly with our dealers reinforces each of these points.”

Bell¿s recent consumer advertisements ¿ featuring sponsored riders Jeremy McGrath, Mike Metzger and Andrew Short ¿ have helped generate significant interest in the brand. Yet, according to the company, consumers are frustrated by how difficult it is to find the products at retail.

In this move, Bell will part ways with long-time distributor Parts Unlimited. “We have nothing but respect for the Parts Unlimited organization,” stated Bell Sports CEO, Bill Fry. Bell and Parts Unlimited have a long history of working together and we appreciate the loyalty they showed to the brand through the good times and the bad. Yet it became clear to us that Bell was never going to get the focus we think it deserves; we were just one of 12 helmet brands in their catalogs.”

Retailers can contact Bell at (800)776-5677 for information on the 2003 product line and how to become an authorized dealer. Bell is interviewing for independent sales rep positions in several territories. Resumes can be submitted via e-mail to or by fax to (831)420-4212.

About Bell Sports

Bell Sports is the world¿s leading designer and marketer of helmets and accessories for bicycling, motorcycle riding and other active sports. The company markets helmets and accessories under the Bell®, Giro®, Blackburn®, VistaLite¿, CoPilot¿, X Games¿, Barbie¿, Hot Wheels¿ and Fisher Price¿ brands. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, the company has operations in Santa Cruz, Calif.; Rantoul, Ill.; York, Penn.; Limerick, Ireland; and Hong Kong. Bell Sports distributes its products in 45 countries. More information is available at