HOT NEWS – December 29, 2003

Following a career spanning more than 20 years with Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., John Hoover, director of product management, has announced his retirement effective Jan. 5, 2004.
Hoover joined Kawasaki in 1983 as a district manager, moving to the California corporate offices as manager of marketing services in 1988.
His contributions to the company have ranged from the implementation of InfoMIC, a data analysis software package that provides sophisticated sales data to Kawasaki’s sales and marketing departments, to an integral role in developing and marketing the Vulcan line of cruiser motorcycles, beginning in 1996. There’s no word on Hoover’s future plans nor on his replacement.
The recreational products unit being sold by Bombardier, Inc., is seeking to raise C$875 million through the sale of debt securities, according to Moody’s Investment Service. Proceeds, along with C$50 million in new preferred stock, will be used to fund the purchase of recreational products from Bombardier.
The securities will be sold by the company called Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc., (BRP), the parent company that will own the assets of the recreational products operation.
Moody’s said its ratings for the securities were “restrained” because of BRP’s “modest” cash flow projections relative to its debt load and other financial and marketing considerations, including exposure to foreign currency exchange rates between the U.S. and Canada.
On the positive side, Moody’s says BRP has “strong brand names and stable market positions in its core product categories.”
Mike Vaughan, long time motorcycle executive who left Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. in September, is the new publisher of Dealernews, an industry magazine based in Santa Ana, Calif.
A 30-year veteran of the powersports industry, Vaughan has served on the OEM side of the table as district manager, market researcher, marketing manager and, most recently, CEO. As publisher, he will lead Dealernews with Mary Slepicka, who recently became group editor for the magazine after serving as publishing director for the past two years.
The position at Dealernews opened in October, when Robin Hartfiel, publisher and editor-in-chief, left the magazine after 14 years to join Motorcycle Product News (MPN).
Japanese motorcycle production in October 2003 was 158,797 units, according to figures compiled by the Japan Automobile Manufactuers Association (JAMA). This is down 28,039 units or 15.0% compared to 186,836 units reported in the same month last year. October is the ninth consecutive month that production has declined from the same month in 2002. Motorcycle exports in October 2003 were 122,430 units, up 13,686 units or 12.6% over the 108,744 units recorded for October 2002. Exports increased for the first time following five months of decreases.
Triumph Motorcycles has given its new power cruiser — the Rocket III — the first production motorcycle to break the 2-liter barrier, an MSRP of $15,990 in the U.S. The Rocket III is powered by a unique triple cylinder engine. Its fuel-injected, longitudinally mounted, in-line three-cylinder engine has a cubic capacity of 2,294cc — 140 cubic inches. It’s scheduled to be in dealer showrooms next summer 2004.
Arctic Cat Inc., Thief River Falls, Minn., has recalled all 2003 model-year Arctic Cat Firecat snowmobiles produced with red plastic skis. Arctic says the red plastic skis could be damaged by UV light exposure which could cause the skis to crack or break during use. If this occurs, it could lead to a loss of control that could result in severe injury or death.
The 3,700 Firecats involved were sold at Arctic Cat dealerships worldwide from June 2002 through December 2003 for between $6,500 and $8,500. Arctic says no injuries have been reported associated with the recalled skis (part # 1703-131), but said consumers should stop using the sleds immediately.
Japan’s Yamaha Motor Co Ltd. reportedly expects to sell 3.28 million units in the fiscal 2004/2005 year, ending March 2005. That’s 20% more bikes than it had forecasted to sell for 2003/2004. Yamaha said it expects to sell 205,000 motorcycles in the U.S., according to the Japanese News Digest. That’s a 10% jump in U.S. sales.
While the worldwide demand for motorcycles is expected to grow by some 4% in 2004/2005, the company said it expects its motorcycle sales in the U.S. to drop in 2003/2004 compared to 2002/2003.

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