HOT NEWS – September 29, 2003

Polaris MSX named
The 2003 MSX 140 personal watercraft from Polaris Industries was named Watercraft of the Year by Watercraft World magazine, a sister publication of Powersports Business.
Watercraft World magazine selected the MSX based on three primary criteria: innovation, market appeal and long-term impact on the industry.
Editors of Watercraft World commented, “The creation of something new, something refined and forward thinking is how we define innovation for the award.
“Polaris did not simply add a new twist to an existing platform, but rather created a whole new package — hull, top deck, engine, and most definitely, attitude, with the MSX.”
“We are very excited to receive this very important recognition,” said Ron Bills, general manager, Polaris Marine division.
“With the MSX, Polaris set out to ignite the Polaris Marine brand and redefine industry standards. The MSX separates itself from the competition in terms of styling, attention to detail, fit and finish, and mid-size versatility with an incredible ride quality.
“The recent accolades from Watercraft World prove the MSX has clearly achieved these goals. Bottom line is the MSX delivers a watercraft with passion and soul in a versatile, complete package.”

Indian ceases production
Indian Motorcycle Company (IMC), Gilroy, Calif., says it ceased production and laid off 380 employees on Friday, Sept. 19, in an effort to conserve cash and preserve its assets.
“These steps were taken in order to allow the board time to explore other options that would permit the company to continue as a going concern,” Frank O’Connell, chairman of the board, said in a prepared statement. “At present the company is operating with a small group of management in place and will continue to do so until a decision is made concerning Indian's future.
“We have made tremendous progress in the last few years in rebuilding the Indian brand,” he continued, “and we are hopeful that a way can be found to maintain the viability of the company.”
Employees were told that a deal with a new investor had fallen through.
“The motor-vehicle industry is not for the faint of heart,” Fran O’Hagan, Indian's executive vice president, told the San Jose Mercury News. “It has huge capital requirements and very long time horizons. In the end, we didn’t have the momentum” to fund both current operations and future projects, he said.
IMC appeared to enjoy slow but steady growth during its five years in existance. O’Hagan told the newspaper the company was “on target” to sell a record 4,500 bikes this year.
“The great irony is, the 2004 products finally put Indian where no explanation or apology was necessary to compare Indian to any other brand,” he said.

Vaughan leaves Triumph
Mike Vaughan, CEO of Triumph Motorcycle’s U.S. operations has left the company and is looking for another position in the powersports industry. He was responsible for marketing and promotion of the Triumph brand in the U.S.
When contacted by Powersports Business, Vaughan declined to provide details of the separation.
Mark Brady, Triumph USA’s general manager, declined to comment regarding the change.
In a prepared statement Sept. 4, Brady said Triumph “gratefully recognizes” Vaughan’s dedication to Triumph and “applauds his many accomplishments.” In his statement, Brady said the company “conducted a major corporate strategic review” over the last six months aimed at strengthening “our marketing efforts by building a strong central marketing team.”
Triumph’s unit sales in the U.S. through June were off close to 20%, or about 600 units. Many of the company’s top products, including the Bonneville America, the Speedmaster and the Daytona 600, were not available until May and June this year, near the end of the peak motorcycle selling season.
Vaughan, who has more than 20 years experience in powersports, says he would like to hook up with another company in the industry.
Vaughan served as director of marketing at Kawasaki for more than 11 years, among his other assignments.

Japan’s Production Down
Japan produced 151,367 motorcycles during July 2003, 18.8% fewer than were produced during the same month in the prior year, reports Japan Automobile Manufacturer Association (JAMA).
The figures for July represent the sixth straight month of decline in production and bring production from January 2003 through July 2003 to 1,093,332 units, down 130,641 units or 10.7% compared to the 1,223,973 units produced during the same seven months in 2002.
This list shows each manufacturer’s July 2003 motorcycle production totals followed by July 2002 production, according to figures compiled by JAMA:

    Honda – 66,943; 83,465

    Yamaha – 39,279; 63,818

    Suzuki – 31,167; 24,779

    Kawasaki – 13,935; 14,373

    Other – 43; 45

The following shows each manufacturer’s July 2003 motorcycle export totals followed by July 2002 exports, according to JAMA:
Yamaha Grows in Russia
Japan’s Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. says it plans to open a five-person “representative office” in Moscow to serve as a liaison between the firm’s headquarters and its Russian business partners.
Yamaha says the new Russian office will conduct domestic market and product research; map out business plans; develop Russian business specialists; and build the brand.

Oxlite Adds Manager
Oxlite Manufacturing has appointed English Josey Jr. as production manager. Josey brings to Oxlite Manufacturing over 30 years of large quantity production and operations management experience from several different manufacturing markets.

EDN Integrates with KMC
Electronic Distribution Networks, Inc. (EDN)
, a privately held Web-based software communications provider based in Newport Beach, Calif., says its e-ordering capability has been integrated to work with various dealer management systems (DMS) sending electronic purchase orders to Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC).
A key aspect of the integration is that the cumbersome, time consuming task of entering part numbers into a dealer’s DMS, and then re-entering those same part numbers into KMC’s proprietary K-Share application, is eliminated.

Clarification
In the August 18, 2003, issue of Powersports Business, a story about the Lightspeed/MIC BankCard program incorrectly stated the cost of the computer software to participate in the
program.
The Lightspeed DMS/credit card interface is free to all current customers, but dealers need POS software and a credit card swiper to process cards via the MIC BankCard program. Lightspeed users can purchase the necessary POS software and swipers through ProQuest for $450.

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