HOT NEWS – December 25, 2006

AMA acts to spur federal motorcycle crash study funding
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has committed $100,000 to help fund a comprehensive nationwide study of motorcycle crashes, and encourages individual motorcyclists, organizations and businesses in the industry to contribute to the effort through a new AMA campaign called “Fuel the Fund.”
In 2005, Congress approved federal funding to study the causes of motorcycle crashes, the first such research in the United States in more than 25 years. The $2.8 million pledged by the government calls for another $2.8 million in matching funds from the American motorcycling community before the entire federal grant will be released.
The last comprehensive study of motorcycle crashes, commonly called the “Hurt Report” after University of Southern California researcher Dr. Harry Hurt, was published in the 1970s. Legislation authorizing the funding of the crash study specifies that research grants be provided to the Oklahoma Transportation Center, located at Oklahoma State University.
“After declining for more than a decade, motorcycling fatalities have increased in recent years, prompting much speculation about the reasons why,” said Edward Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “Last year, Congress agreed that we need answers, not theories.
“Now, we’re confident that American motorcyclists, rider groups, motorcycle dealers and industry leaders will come together to raise the matching funds required to get the crash study under way. This is about saving lives, and we need the help of everyone in the motorcycling community to ‘Fuel the Fund.’”
Contributions to Fuel the Fund can be made at www.fuelthefund.com or by calling Cathy Brown at 800/AMA-JOIN ext. 1224. By mail, write: Fuel the Fund, c/o AMA, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, Ohio, 43147.
Group Works to Reduce Impact of Motorcycle Events
The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has agreed to participate in a study designed to find ways to reduce the environmental impact of motorcycle events.
The FIM and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) signed the “Memorandum of Cooperation” Dec. 1 during the Global Forum for Sport and Environment in Lausanne, Switzerland.
FIM President Vito Ippolito and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner “signed this memorandum whose objective is to provide a framework to cooperate and support aims of reducing the environmental impact of motorcycle events,” the FIM said.
The two organizations also agreed to work together to monitor environmental programs in areas where FIM events are being prepared or staged.
The Global Forum for Sport and Environment attracted more than 150 participants representing international sport organizations and sport and environment stakeholders.
Honda Motor India Begins Operations
Working through a newly established wholly owned subsidiary called Honda Motor India Pvt Ltd. (HMI), Japan’s Honda Motor Co. Ltd. formally began operations from its corporate office in India last month.
Takeo Fukui, president and CEO, Honda Motor Co. Ltd., first announced the plan to set up HMI during a visit to New Delhi in July. Fukui said formation of HMI is part of an overall strategy to strengthen and integrate operations of Honda companies in India with respect to service parts.
The goal, Fukui said, is to improve cost and operational efficiencies by up to 20 percent.
HMI began operations by immediately taking over the parts operations of Honda Siel Cars India Ltd. (HSCI). The plan is to gradually integrate operations of Honda Siel Power Products and Honda Motorcycles & Scooters India Pvt Ltd. HMI also will study the possibility of establishing a similar synergistic relationship with a fourth Honda company, Hero Honda Motors Ltd., in the near future.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. Operating Officer Masahiro Takedagawa, who also served as president and CEO of HSCI, heads HMI as president and CEO.
Honda is another in a growing list of vehicle manufacturers expanding in India. Suzuki Motor Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG already build cars there; Audi, BMW and Renault plan to set up assembly locations in the near future; and Porsche and Lamborghini started selling cars there this year.
Cross Industries Makes Acquisition
Cross Industries AG, majority owner of KTM Sportmotorcycle AG, has acquired more than 5 percent of automotive industry supplier Polytec Holding AG.
Founded in 1986 in Grieskirchen, Austria, Polytec had sales revenue of more than Euro 500 million ($660 million) in the last business year. The company operates in four divisions: the Polytec Automotive Systems Division, Polytec Car Styling Division, Polytec Automotive Composites Division, and the Polytec Industrial Division.
Cross says the move is “a strategic extension of (the company’s) orientation toward an automotive industry group.”
In June, Cross acquired 25.59 percent of Pankl Racing Systems AG, a German automotive supplier specializing in high-performance crankshafts, transaxles and driveshafts. Pankl had sales of approximately Euro 40 million ($52 million) last year. psb

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