HOT NEWS – March 29, 2004

Hits climb at Cycle Trader
Officials at say the average number of enthusiasts visiting the site went from 1.2 million each month in 2002 to 1.4 million each month in 2003 — a 17% increase.
“This is especially significant because at the end of 2002, we launched, which took ATV enthusiasts who had previously visited and sent them to a new site,” says Danielle Kerner, business development manager at “Not only did we grow traffic to by 30%, we saw over 200% growth on the ATV side.”
Launched in October 2002, also experienced significant growth during 2003, building from 76,000 monthly visitors in December 2002 to 252,000 monthly visitors in December 2003.’s traffic reached a seasonal high of 260,000 visitors in October 2003, and the number of searches for new and used ATVs on the site increased from 249,000 in December 2002 to 966,000 in December 2003.
Kerner attributes the growth of the two sites to an increased awareness among the industry. is part of the, an operating unit of the Trader Electronic Media division of Trader Publishing Company.
More than 8.4 million searches are performed monthly in’s classified database of over 80,000 new and used motorcycles, PWCs and snowmobiles.
Dumping probe advances
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) says it will proceed with an investigation into the pricing strategies of Japanese engine manufacturers. In a 6-0 decision, the trade panel found that there was a reasonable indication that imports from Japan were harming the U.S. outboard engine industry.
The investigation began in January, when Mercury Marine submitted a petition alleging that foreign engine builders were selling product in the U.S. market at less than the price they charged in their own home market or below costs, a tactic known as “dumping.” Mercury also has alleged that the dumping has caused material injury to the domestic producers of the product in the U.S. market.
“This early decision simply reflects the low threshold imposed on the ITC for continuing the case, not the realities of the marketplace,” Phil Dyskow, Yamaha Marine group president said in a prepared statement. “Mercury’s problems were created by Mercury not by Yamaha or other Japanese producers.”
While Suzuki Marine says it does not agree with the ITC ruling, the Japan-based manufacturer also said it is not surprised by the action.
Suzuki said that it believes the commission has “ample evidence” to show the domestic outboard marked has been “unsettled” by several factors, including technological advances, growing consumer demand for four-stroke motors, and reliability problems with direct-injected two-stroke motors.
“The bankruptcy of Outboard Marine Corporation created additional disruptions among the buying public and upset relationships with boatbuilders and dealers,” Suzuki said in a prepared statement. “These factors — and not claims of pricing irregularities — have provided opportunities for some manufacturers and challenges for others.”
Copies of the ITC’s recent findings are expected to be available after March 22, and can be obtained by calling 202/205-1809. Requests may also be faxed to 202/205-2104.
Polaris Loses Ad Agency
Minneapolis-based advertising agency Martin/Williams has resigned from its account with Polaris Industries Inc.
Martin/Williams produced materials for all of the manufacturer’s market segments during the past five years. Published reports have speculated the deal to be worth $15 million. Steve Collins, Martin/Williams president and CEO, declined to confirm details of the concluded deal during an interview with Powersports Business.
“I think what’s happened over the years, since we began working with them, is they’ve grown more diverse, especially in advertising areas. So we sat down and told them maybe it would be better for them to explore other (advertising) options.”
American Honda News
Shaking up the company unit that generated more than half of its global operating profits during the fiscal year that ended March 31, Japan-based Honda Motor Co. says Koichi Kondo will replace Koichi Amemiya as CEO of American Honda Motor Co. Inc. on April 1.
Amemiya, 63, joined American Honda in 1984, holding the post of CEO since 1989. He will remain as president of Honda North America Inc., the coordinating arm for Honda’s North American operations, continuing to work from American Honda’s headquarters in Torrance, Calif.
Kondo, 57, moved to American Honda last June as president and is currently the company’s COO. He previously headed Honda’s Brazilian operations, where, during seven years, he helped boost sales more than tenfold.
In other news from American Honda, the company recently announced that it’s 2004 contingency program will post more than $7 million at over 700 events across the country and will now include ATV, Off-Road/Enduro and Supermoto events in addition to Supercross, Motocross, Dirt Track and Road Racing.
For complete details on the contingency program, including eligibility and payout schedules, go to
More About Aprilia, Hero
Aprilia’s recently announced alliance to source components, engines and even completely built units from India’s Hero Motors was reportedly necessitated by the low-cost sourcing efforts of its Japanese rivals.
With production and sourcing facilities spread across low-cost countries in Asia, Honda and Yamaha have announced a 20% across-the-board price cut for all their “international models” by 2005, followed by another cut of 10% in the following year. That means the price of a 2,700 Euro motorcycle in Europe could fall to around 2,000 Euro.
“The only way to beat Japanese competition is to lower our cost in Europe and compete with Honda and Yamaha in emerging markets,” Aprilia CEO Vittorino Filippas reportedly told The Economic Times of India.
Filippas said 90% of Aprilia’s annual sales volume comes from Europe, where the company plans to obtain an additional 5% market share on the back of Hero’s low-cost design and manufacturing facilities. “With India providing 25-30% cost savings, we will not only match the price cuts by Honda and Yamaha but even gain market share from them,” the newspaper quoted Filippas.
Aprilia reportedly plans to begin the Hero deal by having the Indian company produce 15% of its global requirements. While Hero’s exports of individual components have already started, and the first shipment of fully built scooter engines is slated to leave India’s shores by the last quarter of the fiscal year, exports of complete Aprilia branded scooters have yet to be scheduled.
Hero has said it plans to set up a new factory to manufacture Aprilia scooters for domestic and export markets. Scheduled to begin operations by October 2005, the facility should be capable of producing approximately 200,000 units annually.
Ducati Week set May 17-23
Ducati’s fourth international meeting, World Ducati Week, is scheduled to be held May 17-23 at the Santa Monica track in Misano.
The Italian motorcycle manufacturer hopes to position WDW 2004 as a full week of activity dedicated to the passion for sport motorcycles. Open to motorcyclists of all ages, tastes and abilities, tens of thousands of Ducatisti are expected at the event.
For details, see
Polaris upgrades distribution
Polaris Industries has retained RedPrairie, a Wisconsin-based leader in global supply chain technology solutions, to assist in the distribution process of its parts, garments and accessories.
Scott Swenson, Pure Polaris general manager, said the move is expected to reduce freight costs and reduce labor expenditures by adding a streamlined pick and pack operation.
H-D adds Rider Course
Rider’s Edge, the Harley-Davidson Academy of Motorcycling, says its new Skilled Rider Course now offers experienced motorcyclists additional riding tips and tactics.
Similar to the Rider’s Edge New Rider Course, the Skilled Rider Course uses the proven curriculum of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) Experienced Rider Course (ERC) Suite. Additionally, all Skilled Rider Course instructors are MSF and Harley-Davidson certified.
The Rider’s Edge Skilled Rider Course takes place in the dealership and at nearby range facilities, with class sizes ranging from six to twelve students.
Rider’s Edge currently offers three training courses: the New Rider Course, the Skilled Rider Course and the Group Riding Course. Spain’s February Cycle Sales climb 47.6%
New motorcycle sales in Spain rose by 47.6% year-on-year to 5,971 units during February 2004, according to Anesdor, Spain’s motorcycle manufacturers’ association.
A total of 12,135 new units were sold during the first two months of 2004, a 34.5% year-on-year increase.
Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Honda ranked first in sales on the Spanish market in February 2004 with sales of 1,479 units, up 55.7%. Its Japanese rival Yamaha-MBK came second with 903 units sold, a 29% increase, while Suzuki ranked third with 820 units sold, up 59.8%.
A total of 7,107 mopeds were sold during February 2004, 5.3% more than sold during February 2003. Yamaha-MBK led in sales with 1,977 units, a two-fold increase from February 2003. Italy’s Piaggio-Vespa-Gilera sold 1,676 units, up 22.5%, and Derbi sold 770 units, up 6.9%. Sales of mopeds totaled 13,413 units in Spain in the first two months of 2004, up 1.7% year-on-year.
Beldock to Ride in Sicily Race
John Beldock, owner of Erico Motorsports of Denver, Colo., has been chosen through an international selection process to be one of the riders of the 2004 Motogiro d’Italia, held May 25-29, 2004, on the island of Sicily.
A tradition that began in 1914, the Motogiro has become Italy’s quintessential vintage motorcycling long distance road race. The last three events have been sponsored by Ducati.
Beldock says his interest in the Motogiro was piqued by John Dillard, who rode the race on three previous occasions. Beldock first teamed up with Dillard to present Vintage Moto, Dillard’s private collection of more than 300 vintage European motorcycles that are on display at Erico Motorsports.
Beldock’s ride for the event will be a 1958 Ducati 125 Sport owned by Chris Bushell of Kent, England.
A top Triumph dealer also awarded “Best New Ducati Dealer in 2003,” Erico Motorsports retails Ducati, Triumph and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, and recently purchased Colorado Vespa. psb

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