NAA Member News: CCM’s Spitfire Motorcycles Prepare to Fly International
A strong, solid reception to the Spitfire Motorcycle series in the UK, and overwhelming support from bikers from around the world, has prompted the decision to export CCM Spitfires into other international markets…
Some of the best inventions are often stumbled upon without prior planning, and with CCM, this is definitely the case, as the story follows a true bikers’ journey into business. In 1971, keen motorcyclist, Alan Clews, originally had little interest in becoming a motorcycle manufacturer. Working hard throughout the week at his wife’s family chain of newsagents, he would patiently wait for Friday to roll around where he would go out competing in international scramble and trials events over the weekend, always sure to be back in time for work Monday morning.
It was only when Alan’s request to purchase a works BSA scrambler got rejected, did he decide he would build his very own competition bike back in 1971 in his garage at home. Such was the success of his efforts, that news spread like wild fire, and the demand for his services grew, eventually leading to the birth of Clews Competition Machines. That was 47 years ago. The letters CCM would later become synonymous with multiple International successes in motocross, flat-track, trials, supermoto, and road racing competition, at the highest levels.
The SkunkwerX Movement
Fuelled by pure passion, the workshop team spent many days talking about building their dream bike, a bike without the usual constraints of design, objectives and bureaucracy, a bike that finally would allow their creativity to truly flow. One of the designers saw something in those initial conversations and brought it to the attention of directors, and in a flurry of excitement, the project was given a green light – and the Spitfire was born!
The team adopted the name “SkunkwerX”, paying homage to the original experimental engineering division of Lockheed Martin, who went on to create some of the finest products in the world. CCM empowered this new team to take ownership over the design process, and really develop something close to their hearts.
The CCM Way
Since the very beginning, CCM has done things a little different, and the present day is no exception. The most notable difference that separates CCM from the rest, is the way in which the company sells bikes directly to its own customers, with no middlemen!
Many motorcycle brands have lost touch with their customers’ needs and interests, taking a step back in recent years. Most manufacturers will sell through a network of dealers around the world, and although it’s an efficient and cost-effective way of working, it doesn’t allow you to really get to grips with those who come into the contact with the brand or get to know who they are.
CCM threw caution to the wind, tossing this outdated model to the side, preferring to deal with its own customers directly. This allows CCM to maintain a level of service unheard of in the motorcycle industry. Where else would a manufacturer invite you down for a brew where you can stand and watch your bike being hand-built? A customer could pick up the phone any time, and speak directly to sales, production managers, or even the CAD designers who dreamt up your bike. There are huge benefits to purchasing from a wholly family-owned business.
As the business grows and production increases, the company has managed to keep that personal feel, and each customer is treated like, and becomes, a member of the CCM family. Cutting out the middleman allows the brand to stay competitive, remove hard sell tactics, allows it to deal with issues quickly and efficiently, but more importantly, it can now build a greater personal relationship with those true bikers who have fallen in love with the CCM brand.
To date the business has taken over 1,200 Spitfire orders directly, and those ordered bikes are currently in production. Many of the original Spitfire customers have now received their bikes, and sightings are now being reported from excited bikers all over the UK. Most decided to visit CCM headquarters and collect their bike straight of the production line upon completion. When it comes to servicing and maintenance of the CCM bikes, teams of service engineers will be spread throughout the length and breadth of the country. Their role is to stay out on the road and come to customers directly whenever they need them.
Where Will Spitfires be Landing?
Currently CCM’s Spitfire models are available to order in the UK only, leaving the rest of the world frustrated at not being able to get their hands on such an amazing motorcycle. Some have been coming to the UK to purchase a bike, registering it here, and then shipping them abroad, out of sheer determination to own a Spitfire.
The reason the bikes are not for sale outside of the UK is unfortunately down to the E4 homologation being so drastically different from regulations in the UK, that the bikes would need to be redesigned and developed specially for the European market. That is exactly what CCM motorcycles plan to do in the very near future!
Following overwhelming success, the bike manufacturer has firmly set its sights on four key markets within Europe. Soon, France, Italy, Spain and Germany will be the first countries on the planet to have access to these, beautifully hand-crafted, limited edition motorcycles.
It’s Going to be a Long Journey
Flooded with calls and emails from around the world, the excited cries from Europe have not gone unnoticed. This has spurred CCM to begin a long and arduous journey to export their bikes outside of the UK and marks the beginning of what looks set to take around two years to achieve.
To ensure the bikes are prepared for export, the bikes require European Whole Vehicle Type Approval. To put it simply, this approval requires bikes meet strict environmental, safety and security standards that have been accepted across all European Countries. It’s not a simple process at the best of times, and it’s especially difficult when bikes are so beautiful, they are viewed as art.
It’s going to be through the sheer brilliance of the design team, crossed with the innovative and creative culture across the business, that will help CCM meet European standards, yet still maintain the simplicity and elegance achieved in the original models.
The Game Plan
The bikes aren’t the only obstacle that CCM will have to overcome. In sharing its creations with the rest of the world, the initial logistics are going to also going to prove difficult. As you would imagine, with the costs associated with exporting, and uncertainty of a future post-Brexit, there are likely to be many challenges along the way.
Austin Clews – CCM’s Managing Director and son of Founder Alan Clews – said “These are very exciting times for CCM, we have a growth plan to increase UK sales and begin to export into new territories and bring a totally new experience to the customer that is tried and tested in the UK, giving the customers exactly what they want.”
CCM will be moving into the target countries and will be opening offices in those key markets in which it plans to sell. The business will set up satellite offices and will recruit employees locally to support their new ventures. CCM hopes to support local economies through creation of jobs, and by sales of products into those countries.
In preparation ahead of their move, the company will set up pages on the website specific to each country, that will allow interested parties to leave their details to receive updates on CCM, and they can be at the front of the queue when the time comes! As these motorcycles will be supplied to these countries in very limited numbers – CCM will even take forward orders secured by deposits – it is likely that all the Spitfires heading to these countries will be sold out long before they get there in early 2020!
Find out more & register interest at www.ccm-motorcycles.com