Brothers Justin and Chris King are fully embracing the adventure of a new venture, recently purchasing Mercane Scooters Australia.
Justin, a general manager of luxury hotels for nearly 20 years, and Chris, a former highly ranked army officer with a management background in everything from the Olympics and the fitness industry to Silicon Valley technology, bought the three-year-old company last month and have shifted its operations from the Gold Coast to Brisbane.
Not content with simply finding their feet in their first professional foray into the scooter industry, the brothers have started by expanding the Australian range to include Mercane’s adventure models.
Under previous owner and founder John Daley, the business has previously focused on the Classic range produced by Mercane, which has its parent company in South Korea.
“Scooters will be our bread and butter to start with but we want to look at the micromobility sector as a whole and see what’s coming next.”
“Mercane Scooters Australia has traditionally had the Classic scooters, the wide-wheeled Pros and Force models,” Chris said.
“They’re focused more at your business-style scooter commuters and we’re bringing in the adventure models, or the Trail Range as we’re calling it.
“We’re bringing in three models with better suspension and more rugged wheels so you can head more offroad.”
And the brothers are already setting their sights on the next adventure in micromobility.
“Scooters will be our bread and butter to start with but we want to look at the micromobility sector as a whole and see what’s coming next,” he said.
“Justin and I wanted to work together and we’ve both enjoyed getting about on scooters. I’d been riding them during a stint in Abu Dhabi.
“While were keen to work together and do something we enjoy, the biggest thing was to choose an industry with plenty of scope for growth.
“Half of Australia and the majority of its population centres aren’t open to privately-owned scooters on public road yet. We can see that is set to change and, even if that’s only to a limited extent, the growth it should bring is significant.
“We have a lot of good contacts in the R&B space to see what’s next.”
“We’re banking on NSW, Victoria and South Australia opening up to some extent to legal use of private scooters”
Varied Top-Level Experience
The venture brings together many of Chris’s previous senior management roles. After 12 years with the army, he ran a logistics company in the Pacific, a fitness company in London and was the Night Operations Manager at Olympic Park when English capital hosted the 2012 Olympic Games.
For the past five years, he has worked in a science and technology role in Abu Dhabi, heading research and development with Silicon Valley companies on a range of technologies.
“A lot of those technologies were battery and sensor related, so we have a lot of good contacts in the R&B space to see what’s next. That’s what we’re really interested in,” he said.
“Scooters are a first step and for now we’re focused on building a trusted network of people to work with in the industry.
“We’re visiting all our retailers, driving hundreds of kilometres to say g’day and develop a solid network.
“We’re working to ramp up customer service for the dealers and the customers, to give them more protection, because it seems that service and security has been lacking in some sections of the industry.
“The market is going to be big enough for everyone to play and there are some fantastic young entrepreneurs coming through.
“We then want to partner up to bring in other technologies, the next evolution of the e-mobility movement.”
The duo is also working to grow Mercane’s network of retailers during the next few months.
“At the moment we’ve got about 10 retailers around Australia and some of them have multiple stores,” Chris said.
“Most of them are in Queensland, with some outlets in Melbourne, Sydney and the ACT.
“We’re looking to have a bigger presence in NSW and Victoria and we’re watching how their trials are progressing.
“We’re also aiming to expand into South Australia, where they finished their trial in Adelaide and will be busy reviewing their data.”
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Is Chris King right about the need to raise service standards and retailer protection in the scooter industry?