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N.H. Harley dealer wins noise ordinance lawsuit

Seacoast Motorcycles Inc., owner of Seacoast Harley-Davidson in North Hampton, N.H., has won a lawsuit against the town of North Hampton over a noise ordinance.

The dealership's suit was filed as a result of an ordinance passed by the town in 2010 that limited exhaust noise to 80 decibels, according to SeacoastOnline.com. New Hampshire state law permits motorcycle exhaust to reach 106 decibels, so the dealership argued the town didn't have legal authority to create its more restrictive ordinance.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh ruled in favor of Seacoast Motorcycles, deciding that local municipalities cannot enact laws stricter than what the state allows.

"If each town in New Hampshire had the authority to enact different noise emission ordinances, the state would be subject to a checkerboard pattern of laws," he ruled. "For example, a motorcyclist who complies with the state noise emission limit could be precluded from driving through a town because that town enacted a lower noise emission limit than the state."
To read the full SeacoastOnline.com story, click here.
Analysts says Harley retail sales up 5 percent in Q4
Details of a dealer survey provided to Powersports Business by Wells Fargo Securities analyst Tim Conder indicate that Harley-Davidson has seen retail sales rise by 5 percent in the fourth quarter.

The research note says that H-D fourth quarter sales "saw a reasonably solid October/November, with both appearing to be up modestly year-over-year with only a slight edge toward November. Dealer inventory levels remain at five-year lows further reinforced by recent retail sales growth."

Conder reports that "100 percent of dealers characterized inventories as comfortable/light with most pleased on current mix and only some complaining about needing more touring and less of other families (i.e. less Softail). Used bike prices likely stabilizing through Q4 2011 year-over-year after rising much of the last 24 months."

Concerning pre-owned Harley pricing trends, the report says "Harley's mix of 2:1 used unit sales to new seen since 2009 has begun to turn (now approximately 1.75:1) toward the historical 1:1 ratio in second half of 2011 as (1) non-current new units are now minimal, and (2) prices of used bikes have risen."

The survey shows that in the fourth quarter, 80 percent of dealers surveyed reported flat or increase year-over-year used prices versus 87 percent who said the same in Q3.

The survey consisted of 40 dealers across the U.S., approximately 6 percent of Harley-Davidson's U.S. dealer base.

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