HOT NEWS – March 10, 2003

Kawasaki to reorganize marketing
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) said it will reorganize its marketing group this month, following the departure of long-time marketing executive Bob Moffit last December.
The changes include moving Bob Shepard, executive vice president, marketing, to the a new post of executive vice president, corporate affairs. He also will be responsible for information systems and operations functions.
Tom Orbe, who recently joined Kawasaki as vice president, marketing, will oversee the marketing group that includes national brand and consumer advertising, consumer events, media relations, product management, marketing services, public affairs, and Team Green amateur racing activities.
Most recently, Orbe was CEO and president of a Newport Beach-based management and marketing consulting organization. Previously, he served as vice president and general manager of Nissan’s Infiniti Division.
In the Feb. 10, 2003, issue of Powersports Business, a line of type was accidentally omitted that referred to Ultra Motorcycle filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on 5/21/01 and having its stock delisted from the OTBB on 6/6/01. This partial statement could have been interpreted as applying to ProQuest, which was discussed in a nearby footnote. This is not correct.
According to its recent financial reports, ProQuest is a profitable and financially stable company, finishing 2002 with record revenue growth from several of its business units including the Powersports group. Its stock is traded on the prestigious New York Stock Exchange.
The editors and staff of Powersports Business regret any difficulties this unfortunate accident may have caused ProQuest and its employees and shareholders.
An incorrect photo ran with a new product item being offered by Vortex in the Feb. 10, 2003, issue of Powersports Business. The photo actually represented a slider being offered by Diamond Powersports, Inc.
MIC names New Chairman
The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has named Larry Little as chairman of its board of directors. Little, vice president and publisher of Hachette-Filipacchi Media’s Cycle World magazine, most recently served the MIC as vice chairman of the board. The vacancy was created by the retirement of Bob Moffit, former vice president, marketing and product management, Kawasaki Motors Corp, USA, who served with the MIC for 23 years.
Little served on the MIC board as vice chairman for the past six years. For the last 12 years, he served as representative of the aftermarket on the MIC Marketing and Public Policy Committee, which is the oversight committee for the MIC’s media and public relations program, Discover Today’s Motorcycling (DTM). Growing
, Virginia Beach, Va., reports it had over 1.2 million unique visitors to its Web site in January 2003; 6.4 million searches for motorcycles, ATVs, and personal watercraft; and a total of 18 million page views. These figures represent a 3.4% increase in visitors, a 21% increase in searches, and a 21% increase in pages viewed over the same month in 2002.
“Our projections show this growth pattern continuing through 2003,” said Danielle Kerner, business development manager for says it had an average of 70,000 motorcycles and power sports equipment listed on the site in January 2003 — a 23% increase over January 2002.
Corbin battles investors
Shareholders of Corbin Motors weren’t happy with answers they received at the company’s annual meeting last month.
Investors said Tom Corbin, president, cut short the meeting and didn’t respond to questions. Board Chairman Mike Corbin didn’t attend the meeting.
Tom Corbin has told Powersports Business in the past that the auto company has financial problems, but that he expects the situation to turn around. Corbin reportedly told investors that the company could sell in the range of 200,000 of its gasoline-powered Merlin roadster annually.
PWC Sales Up 28%
The latest quarterly report on retail boat sales featured good news for the industry as a whole, and great news for the personal watercraft market. According to Statistical Surveys, Inc., preliminary data collected from 23 states indicates that retail boat sales will finish well ahead of 2001, and make the fourth quarter of 2002 possibly the best quarter of the year. The news is brightest in the PWC market, where after a lengthy slide, sales actually climbed an impressive 28%.
ATVA Updates Web Site
The All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), Pickerington, Ohio, redesigned and re-launched its popular Web site, Organized to help ATVA members take advantage of Association benefits, and to provide non-members easy access to information about the ATVA, the site should be much easier to navigate, with pages that load faster. ATVA says it installed many new features while also improving the content of the site. includes sections on where to ride, ATV clubs, news and feature stories of interest to ATV enthusiasts, ATV racing, and an easy-to-use “Protect Your Rights” area where ATVers can learn about legislative and regulatory action affecting ATV use.
News from Piaggio USA
Costantino Sambuy
has been named new president and CEO of Piaggio USA, Rancho Dominguez, Calif. Sambuy replaces Giancarlo Fantappie. Prior to joining Piaggio USA, Sambuy was marketing director for Piaggio Ltd. in the UK, where he was primarily responsible for setting up the marketing operation for the Italian-based Vespa brand.
Piaggio also said it has launched its summer clothing line, now available exclusively at over 65 Vespa boutiques in the U.S., and through The vintage-inspired collection is a first for Vespa and will include casual wear and accessories for men and women.
Sea-Doo Bounty Returns
will once again offer the Sea-Doo Bounty, a racing contingency program aimed at rewarding grass-roots racers for riding on Sea-Doo watercraft. Forty-eight racers in North America were able to share in the bounty in 2002, while 12 top finishers also became eligible to compete for a special chunk of the Bounty at the 2002 World Finals.
For 2003, all that’s necessary is that the racer runs a Sea-Doo sticker on their Sea-Doo watercraft and finishes in the top of the field. To encourage racers to adopt the company’s new four-stroke technology, double payouts will be offered to racers competing on the new GTX 4-TEC and 4-TEC Supercharged.
Payouts range from a high of $7500 for a championship in Pro Runabout 1200/1600 Superstock at the World Championships, to $25 for a third place finish in regional events.
Nessl Joins Yamaha
Steve Nessl
, formerly senior editor for Dealernews magazine, has joined Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, as the ATV public relations manager. Nessl will focus on Yamaha’s growing line of ATV models and all-terrain parts and accessories. He is responsible for all ATV-related cross promotions and communications.
 H-D Mexico Offers Rentals
With a plan to increase business via the burgeoning rental market, Harley-Davidson Mexico says it hopes to open five sites where, with a $1,000 deposit and a driver’s license, riders aged 21 and older can rent motorcycles for short periods of time.
The program is aimed at executives and business people over 35 years old. The firm offers 10 models of Harley, and vacationing riders can rent a bike for a week or longer — a minimum of 24 hours is required. Cost — between $100 and $1,500 per day, plus taxes and insurance — varies depending on the model of the bike. Operations have already started in Los Cabos and four more openings are planned.
Harley-Davidson Mexico has no plans to open additional dealer locations in 2003, but the company did open stores in Puebla, Veracruz, Los Cabos and Ciudad Satélite during 2002.
Polaris, Mercury Expand
Polaris Industries
, already partnered in a new sport boat venture, has inked yet another agreement, this time to allow Mercury dealers in Asia and Latin America to sell Polaris PWC. Mercury has over 300 dealers in the regions.

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