Nov. 12, 2007 – Hot News

Moto Guzzi Names New CEO
Tommaso Giocoladelli, Piaggio’s SVP for Light Transport Vehicles Europe since joining the company in 2004, has been named CEO and general manager of Moto Guzzi S.p.A.
Daniele Bandiera, who joined Piaggio in 2004 after a two-year gig as boss of Alfa Romeo, maintains his post as Moto Guzzi chairman, as well as COO at the Piaggio Group, a position he has held since last November.
The Piaggio Group acquired Moto Guzzi in December 2004. Since then, Moto Guzzi has renewed its product range with the introduction of vehicles and engines, cleaned up many of the troubles plaguing the brand’s distribution system, extended penetration in various international markets and boosted sales from about 3,700 units in 2004 to more than 10,000 in 2006, the company reported.
Giocoladelli was appointed at an Oct. 15 meeting of Moto Guzzi’s board of directors. Like a number of other European OEMs, the Piaggio Group often rotates its executive team members to positions of leadership throughout the company’s worldwide operations.
Giocoladelli’s appointment “strengthens the Moto Guzzi management team with the consolidated professional experience of a manager already familiar with the Piaggio Group and able to guarantee the seamless continuation of the company’s management and operations as Moto Guzzi proceeds with its industrial, R&D and commercial recovery,” said a Piaggio release.
Giocoladelli, 55, previously worked at Telecom Italia, most recently as head of sales and marketing for residential clients; Volvo Italia, where he was chairman and CEO; and at Galbani as SVP for international operations.
Moto Guzzi’s board of directors now includes Bandiera, chairman; Giocoladelli, CEO and general manager; and directors Michele Colaninno, Michele Pallottini and Franco Cattaneo.
Kawasaki’s N.America Sales Edge Up
Kawasaki Heavy Industries saw a slight increase in its North American sales for the first six months of its fiscal year.
The manufacturer reported its North American sales increased 2.4 percent from the previous year period to $1.1 billion.
Kawasaki also reported sales gains for its first half in Asia (43 percent more than last year’s first half), Europe (40 percent) and Japan (9 percent).
Kawasaki’s division that includes powersports sales, the consumer products and machinery segment, increased its first-half sales by 10.7 percent compared to the year-ago period to $1.8 trillion.
Overall, the Japanese manufacturer reported an 8 percent increase in net sales and a 74 percent increase in its net income, which rose to $172 million.
Cycle Country Sells Plant to its Founder
Cycle Country has sold its manufacturing plant in Milford, Iowa, to its founder James Danbom. In return, Cycle Country will receive 1,410,730 shares; the closing price Friday, Oct. 26 was $1.62, according to Cycle Country’s press release.
With 7,350,008 fully diluted shares, the sale will retire 19.2 percent of the common equity of Cycle Country Accessories, converting it to Treasury shares.
The company intends to use the treasury shares for acquisitions and capital needs.
Yamaha Motor Europe Seeks to Buy Yamaha Distribution
Yamaha Motor Corp.’s European sales division is seeking to buy the company’s distribution operations for the continent, Thomson Financial reported Oct. 29.
The European Commission has set an inquiry deadline for Netherlands-based Yamaha Motor Europe NV’s proposed acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, of Yamaha Distribution Companies for Nov. 28.
Yamaha Motor Europe is a unit of the Yamaha Motor Corp. and is responsible for the marketing and sales of Yamaha products in Europe.
Yamaha Distribution Companies consists of Mitsui Motor Polskia SpZOO of Poland, Yamaha Motor Deutschland GmbH of Germany and Yamaha Motor UK of the United Kingdom. They are responsible for the import and wholesale distribution of Yamaha products in their respective territories.
BRP Inaugurates Mexico Plant
BRP officially celebrated its new, $36 million ATV manufacturing and assembling plant in Juarez, Mexico, the company said in a press release Oct. 25.
The event took place during an official visit from Eduardo Sojo, Mexico’s minister of economic development, José Reyes Baeza Terrazas, governor of Chihuahua, and José Reyes Freís, mayor of Juarez. They toured the facility with members from BRP’s executive management team and local media representatives.
The 410,000-square-feet facility currently employs more than 760 people. These employees assemble the Can-Am Outlander and Renegade lines, as well as the Rotax engines that power those vehicles. It is the first time Rotax engines are manufactured outside of Austria and the first time engines and units are assembled in the same facility for BRP.
Production of 1125R Launches New Era of Buell Sport Bikes
With the launch of the 1125R, the Buell Motorcycle Co. hit a milestone. The 1125R is the first liquid-cooled V-twin engine to power a street-legal Buell, stated a company press release.
The 1125R is expected to arrive in U.S. Buell dealers this month. The serial No. 1 Buell1125R will be saved for the Harley-Davidson Museum that opens in 2008.
Erik Buell, Buell Motorcycle Co. chairman and chief technical officer, says the bike is the start of a new era for Buell.
“The 1125R is designed and built from the rider down to take Buell to a new performance level,” Buell said in the release. “As we look forward, we will continue to embrace and enhance our fundamental vision of motorcycle design that offers the ultimate riding experience.”
Bell Hires Firm To Assist With Launch of High-End Helmet
Bell Powersports hired Hardcard Holdings, a motorsports marketing firm, to assist in the launch of Bell’s new street motorcycle helmet, which will debut in February, according to a Hardcard press release.
Hardcard also will assist Bell with other media relations and dealer initiatives between now and February.
Bell Vice President of Powersports Tom Larter says the company needed support in launching the new helmet.
“We’ve invested more than three years of full-time R&D into this new product,”?Larter said, “and it is fitting that we support the launch with the best possible resources, which includes bringing on the Hardcard team to assist.”
America’s Motor Sports Hires New GM
America’s Motor Sports, a multi-store powersports retailer, hired a former BRP district sales manager to be the new general manager of its Nashville store.
America’s Motor Sports also has two other retail locations — in Madison, Tenn., and in Dickson, Tenn.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” said new GM Rick Crum. “I have had the opportunity to run a dealership in the past, but it was not the right time. Now, I am at a place in my life where I am looking forward to utilizing my experience in sales and marketing to improve the operations and profitability of America’s Motor Sports.”
Chris Watts, owner of America’s Motor Sports, also is optimistic about the future of the Nashville location, projecting growth and change in the new year.
“We are always looking for motivated managers that want to take the dealerships to the next level, and I know that Rick Crum is that person,” Watts said in a press release. “He’s a triple threat, being an enthusiast for over 30 years as well as bringing substantial retail and OEM industry experience to the AMS team.”
Crum was formerly a district sales manager for BRP, representing Can-Am and Sea-Doo in Tennessee, Kentucky and North Georgia.
Prior to that, he spent more than five years with Yamaha Motor Corp. as a district sales manager.
Ducati Unveils a New Monster at Milan
Ducati Motor Corp. unveiled the Monster 696 at the EICMA International Motorcycle Exhibition, in Milan, Italy, on Nov. 5.
Refined style and design are the clear motivations behind the new Monster, according to a Ducati press release.
Maintaining its traditional Monster silhouette, the 696 now looks more muscular than ever. Its wide tank tapers to the thin waistline of a comfortable narrow seat, ensuring sure-footed confidence at traffic stops.
The large diameter Hybrid Trellis frame blends into an aluminium sub-frame. psb

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