HOT NEWS – December 8, 2003

Jose Boisjoli has been named president of Bombardier Recreational Products. He replaces Michel Baril, who left the company to pursue other interests, according to a company statement. The changes are effective immediately. Neither Baril nor Boisjoli were available for comment.
“We are announcing the appointment of Jose Boisjoli with the agreement of the purchasers of Bombardier Recreational Products,” said Bombardier, Inc., President and CEO Paul Tellier. Bombardier, Inc., is in the process of selling the recreational products unit to the Bombardier family in a move that is expected to be completed this year.
Boisjoli joined Bombardier in 1989 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in procurement and management. He has served as president of Snowmobiles, Watercraft and ATVs, Bombardier Recreational Products’ largest division, since 1998.
Baril has served as president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Recreational Products since Feb. 1, 2001. In that position he was responsible for the overall operations of the group’s product lines: the Sea-Doo watercraft and sport boats, the Ski-Doo and the Lynx snowmobiles, the Bombardier ATV, the Bombardier utility vehicles, the Rotax engines and karts, the Johnson and Evinrude outboard engines.
Prior to joining the Recreational Products business, he served as executive vice president of Bombardier Transportation where he was responsible for all aspects of Bombardier Transportation operations worldwide.

Anderson opens scorpion
Eric Anderson, long-time powersports marketing executive, is launching a new U.S. helmet company called Scorpion Sports, Inc. Scorpion, based in Lake Forest, Calif., plans to offer a full line of dirt and street helmets using new patented technology. The helmet line will be shown for the first time at the Dealer Expo, Feb. 14-16, in Indianapolis, where dealers will be able to place their initial orders.
The helmets will be sold direct to powersports dealers, as are several other brands, including Fulmer and Bell. Scorpion helmets will be priced mid-range, Anderson told Powersports Business, and dealer profit margins will exceed the 35% to 38% they receive by buying through distributors, he said.
“Helmets have become a lot like sunglasses and wristwatches in the marketplace,” says Anderson. “It seems everyone is making them for someone else so they are all starting to look the same. It’s time to shake things up. Dealers won’t think about, buy or sell helmets the same way after we hit the market in 2004.”
Anderson, who is a co-founder of the company, has a partner in China, where the helmets will be manufactured. Scorpion is hiring individuals to handle shipping, customer service and sales.
For details, call Anderson toll free at 888/6 SCORPION or e-mail him at

Is Aprilia eyeing Hero?
Italian motorbike manufacturer Aprilia SpA reportedly is planning to pick up a 20% stake in Indian scooter and bike maker Hero Motors for approximately $21.3 million dollars.
The Business Line newspaper quoted Pankaj Munjal, managing director of Hero Motors , as saying that his company was in negotiations with the Italian firm to acquire a 20% equity stake in Hero. Hero Motors is owned by the Munjal family, also a part owner of India’s largest motorcycle maker Hero Honda, which has annual sales of 1.4 million motorcycles.
A part of the Aprilia/Hero deal includes a strategic partnership through which Hero would use Aprilia’s technology to manufacture co-branded motor scooters in an effort to capture 10% of its home scooter market.

Viper Plans New Supplier
Viper Motorcycle Company may be in the final stages of finding a new engine supplier following the problems plaguing its previous supplier, Merch Performance, Inc.
Terry Nesbitt, vice president of sales at Minnesota-based Viper told Powersports Business he is preparing to announce a venture with Patrick Racing Inc. in which the engine builder will provide proprietary and private labeled 127 cubic inch engines for the brand. He says he expects to receive the first engine within the next couple of weeks.
Nesbitt says Viper had a joint venture agreement with Merch that would have had Merch providing private labeled engines for the motorcycle brand.
“The rumors were true that we were negotiating to acquire and merge Merch into Viper,” Nesbitt reports. But he said that Merch’s problems “prevented the acquisition/merger and created circumstances beyond our control.”
While the Patrick Racing tie-up could provide Viper with an engine for its Diablo bike, Patrick is not the only engine specialist being courted by the brand.
“This situation will not prevent us from moving forward with a proprietary motor as planned,” Nesbitt says. “We have been working a parallel path from the beginning with a European partner to develop our own engines exclusive to Viper. The 100 inch motor in the recently announced Vago is not a Merch product and was not intended to be. The Vago will utilize our own billet engine with Viper graphics and features.”
In other Viper news, the firm completed a $1 million private placement from accredited investors and secured an additional $1 million in debt financing. Furthermore, Nesbitt says General Electric Distribution Finance Corporation signed to be the company’s exclusive provider of wholesale and retail financing.

Ducati Sales Up in 3Q
Ducati Motor Holding SpA, Bologna, Italy, says it sold 6,865 motorcycles during the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2003, an 18.8% increase over the same period in 2002 and the highest number of motorcycles ever sold by the company in a third quarter.
Total revenues for the period were Euro 75.3 million, up 24.7% excluding foreign exchange effects, over the same period in 2002. Third quarter revenues from motorcycles increased 26.6% to Euro 55.9 million and represented 74.2% of revenues. Motorcycle-related products — spare parts, technical accessories and apparel — increased 17.7% to Euro 18.9 million over the comparable period in the previous year. Gross margin was 37.7% of revenues versus 41.4% in the period, mainly due to a negative motorcycle mix and foreign exchange effects, the company said.
Third quarter unofficial Ducati worldwide registrations, a measure of retail sales, were up 10% versus the same period last year. The increase follows declines of 18% and 4% in the first and second quarter of 2003, respectively.
For the first nine months, unofficial Ducati worldwide registrations were down 5% versus the comparable nine-month period in 2002, with the U.S. down 20%, the U.K. down 11%, Japan down 11%, France down 7%, Germany down 2% and Italy down 1%.

Tweet, Struthers honored
Ole Tweet, vice president of new product development at Arctic Cat, and Idaho dealer Jack Struthers will enter the Snowmobile Hall Of Fame on Jan. 15.
Tweet and Struthers are two of four new inductees. Also being honored are Gene Bloom of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Vernon LeDuc of Errol, New Hampshire. The ceremony will take place in Eagle River, Wis., and the museum is located in nearby St. Germain.
A talented and respected engineer, Tweet has spent his career at Arctic Cat. In 1983 he was part of the group that was responsible for the rebirth of Arctic Cat after the company filed for bankruptcy.
Struthers, who owns Carl’s Cycle in Boise, Idaho, is being inducted for his snowmobile racing accomplishments. Struthers drove his Polaris to two I-500 victories; 1991 and 1994. He also holds numerous Rocky Mountain Cross-Country titles and was the 1996 Motorsports Racing Plus Pro Open points champ.
Bloom is also being inducted for his racing abilities as a oval racer and factory driver for Rupp. LeDuc helped pioneer snowmobiling in New Hampshire.

OEMs sue chinese
Honda Motor Co. has sued three Chinese companies for infringing on its trademark, the China Daily news service reported. The first hearing of the case was held Nov. 17 in Beijing.
The Japanese manufacturer is demanding compensation of more than $3 million from two Chongqing-based manufacturing companies and a Beijing motor retailer for alleged economic losses, the report said.
Honda reportedly claims that motors produced by two motorcycle makers – the Chongqing Lifan Industry (Group) Co. and the Chongqing Lifan Motor Factory – carry the trademark “Hongda.” The third accused — the Beijing Zili Ziqiang Motor Shop — said in court at the start of proceedings that since the motors were allegedly produced by two independent entities, the case should not go ahead but be heard separately.
The court did not accept the request and decided the hearing should proceed.
A lawyer representing the Chongqing Lifan Industry (Group) reportedly denied that the company has produced motors with the Hongda symbol, and noted that “Lifan” is the group’s trademark.
Also unhappy with the use of its trademark in China, Suzuki Motor Corp. filed its own lawsuits against Chinese motorcycle makers, claiming that their products infringe on the Japanese manufacturer’s trademarks or design copyrights.
Suzuki produced 362,000 motorcycles in China last year.
In one instance, the Japanese manufacturer reportedly filed a trademark infringement suit with a court in Hunan Province against a motorcycle maker in Fujian Province. In a second instance, Suzuki reportedly filed a lawsuit with a Shanghai court against a motorcycle maker in Jiangsu Province and a dealer in Shanghai, alleging that they made or sold motorcycles that closely resemble Suzuki models. Suzuki is seeking suspension of production and sales of the motorcycles, and a public apology by the local company.
While members of Japan’s Big Four motorcycle manufacturers fight out trademark suits with Chinese firms, Germany’s BMW AG reportedly is working towards selling 50 of its bikes on the Chinese mainland this year.
“That is a big number, since we have just launched our motorcycle business in China,” Herbert Pferinger motorcycle area manager forBMW AG’s Beijing representative office, told China Business Weekly.

The telephone number for OZ Bike USA of Miami, Fla. was wrong as published in the Nov. 17 edition of Powersports Business. The business can be reached by calling 305/889-1800. Fax is 305/889-1801 OZ Bike USA manufactures custom 1/2-scale motorcycles powered by 150cc engines. Built to order, these street-legal bikes feature five-speed transmissions and electric start.

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