HOT NEWS – September 27, 2004

Motorycle Dealer Group Being Formed
Officials at MBA Holdings Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., say the company has become a major investor in the formation of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA). MBA Holdings has been appointed to provide management and administration of the new association, which also is based in Scottsdale.
Open to motorcycle dealers in the United States and Canada willing to pay an annual membership fee, the NMDA was formed to assist dealers in “being professional, successful, and profitable through the offering of special services, products and programs,” it says.
The NMDA says it plans to “provide dealership education and training to maximize overall dealer C.S.I.; empower dealers to assure a voice at local, state and federal levels; and gain purchase power as a combined dealer association,” according to a prepared statement released by MBA Holdings.
Association founders also plan to offer an affiliate membership program open to manufacturers of motorcycles, motorcycle component manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, finance institutions, insurance agencies, insurance companies, industry associations, trade press, publications, motorcycle software vendors, etc. The affiliate program also will require a yearly membership fee.
For more information about the NMDA, call 480/391-9959 or visit
Buell Sales increase
U.S. motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson’s Buell motorcycle increased European sales by more than 75% in 2004, led by Buell’s “streetfighter” XB12S product line.
Buells sales were traditionally in the 1,000-1,200 unit range, said a Buell spokesman, until it launched the faster, stripped-down streetfighter line in 2003 that has appealed to European riders who grew up with high performance bikes make by Ducati, BMW, Suzuki or other Japanese producers, he said.
Buell has sold 3,500 bikes in Europe as of the end of July, he said. Harley-Davidson’s European market share including Buell, which it acquired 10 years ago, is expected to rise to 8%-9% this year, he said, compared with 6%-7% last year. Europe accounts for 11% of Harley-Davidson’s annual sales volumes.

Piaggio Confident About completing Aprilia Deal
Italian entrepreneur Roberto Colaninno told reporters his Piaggio SpA scooter-maker will clinch a deal to buy troubled motorbike-maker Aprilia by the end of October. If Piaggio’s offer goes ahead, no jobs would be cut at Aprilia, nor would any of the Italian manufacturer’s brands or core assets be sold off, he said. “We see Aprilia as a fundamental part of our plan and have no intention of selling it off in parts,” Colaninno said.
At the same time, he downplayed a rival offer from Ducati Motor Holding SpA (DMH), saying it “is not comparable to ours.”
Meanwhile, Ducati Chairman Federico Minoli said his company’s offer to buy Aprilia remained valid, adding Ducati would also be interested in buying just the Moto Guzzi brand Aprilia owns.

America’s PowerSports (APS), a leading national power sports dealer group based in Nashville, Tenn., has named Craig C. Lindsay senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Most recently, Lindsay spent two years as vice president, finance for the North Texas District of AutoNation, a $1.4 billion division of the auto retailing leader. Prior to his AutoNation experience, he was the CFO for UnitedAuto Group – West, the western division of another leading auto dealer group. He also has served as CFO for an electronics company, an applications service provider, and a retailing brand management company, among others. He began his CFO career in the real estate industry, and practiced public accounting with firms such as KPMG Peat Marwick and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Formed in November 1998, America’s PowerSports is one of the nation’s largest retail power sports dealer networks and has 13 dealership locations in five states.

Fairchild Sports Names Advertising Agency
Fairchild Sports, Tustin, Calif., formerly named Intersport Fashions West, a designer and distributor of motorcycle apparel, boots and helmets, has named creative agency Truth and Advertising, Santa Ana, its agency of record.
Initial plans call for consumer and trade print ads, Web design and development, direct mail, collateral, trade show support and alternative media tie-ins.
Fairchild Sports designs and produces apparel such as FIRST GEAR and Hein Gericke as well as several private labeled products for third parties, including Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, Arctic Cat and others.
Fairchild Sports is owned by The Fairchild Corporation, based in McLean, Va.

Polaris Picks Bourgeois
Pat Bourgeois has been named marketing and communications manager for the snowmobile division at Polaris Industries. He will be primarily responsible for the planning and execution of marketing efforts related to the snowmobile division.
Most recently, he has served as external relations coordinator for Polaris’ Victory Motorcycles. His replacement is expected to be named soon.

Go-Ped Sues Retailer
Patmont Motor Works, Inc., the creator of the Go-Ped scooter brand, has filed a lawsuit against CSK Auto Inc., the Delaware-based owner of Checker Auto Parts, Schuck’s Auto Supply and Kragen Auto Parts.
Patmont, based in Minden, Nev., alleges that CSK sold motorized scooters made in China which infringe on Patmont trademarks and copyrights.
Last March, Patmont filed a federal suit, charging the Chinese government and an association of Chinese companies with unfair trade practices and conspiracy to restrain trade under anti-trust laws. On July 16, a federal district judge issued an injunction prohibiting the importation of infringing gas and electric motorized scooters from China, Taiwan and Korea.

Polaris Plans Center
Polaris Industries , Medina, Minn., said it plans to establish a dealer training center at the State University of New York campus in Canton, N.Y. The facility houses the University’s motorsports performance and repair certification program, but will also accommodate Polaris’ Master Service Dealer Training Program year-round.
Polaris conducts dealer training courses at Central Tech in Drumright, Okla., at the Polaris America dealership in Conyers, Ga., and at Polaris headquarters . The program has dealers from across the country spending four to five days in training courses for servicing Polaris machines.

Harley Combines Lines
Harley-Davidson’s York, Penn. facility has combined two production lines into one in an effort to balance work flow, increase efficiency and reduce redundancies.
The change, made Sept. 7, connects two lines producing touring motorcycles. The motorcycles built on the two lines use more than 500 of the same parts. The lines, which previously operated in two independent circles, now are attached at one end in two places. It will take the same amount of time for a motorcycle to travel down the line, but the time at each stop will be cut in half to an estimated two minutes.

Red Bull, KTM Team Set
Off-road riders Kellon Walch, Chris Blais and Andy Grider have been tapped to take part in the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Dakar team.
Selections were made after a punishing five-day Dakar-style desert challenge held near Primm, Nev., and in Dumont Dunes. Scot Harden, vice president of media relations for KTM North America, will serve double duty as the team manager and a rider. Walch and Blais will join Harden on the three-man roster; Grider joins as an alternate.
Additional members of the Red Bull KTM U.S. Dakar team include mechanics Thomas McDonald and Bret Leef, and team physician Dr. Jonathan Edwards.

Honda plans Factory
PT Astra Honda Motor Inc., Honda’s joint venture company in Indonesia responsible for motorcycle production and sales, announced construction of its third manufacturing plant.
The motorcycle market in Indonesia, the third largest in the world, expanded to 3.1 million units in 2003, a 22% increase from the previous year.
Total investment in the plant is expected to be approximately $100 million. It is expected to become operational in October 2005 with an annual capacity of approximately one million units.
In 2003, PT Astra Honda Motor became Honda’s first overseas operation to achieve cumulative motorcycle production of 10 million units.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has more than 120 manufacturing facilities in 30 countries worldwide. Established in December 2000, PT Astra Honda Motor is active in motorcycle parts production, motorcycle engine and chassis assembly, and motorcycle sales. The venture currently employs 9,000 people and produces four models, the Karisma-X (125cc), Supra Fit (100cc), Mega Pro (150cc), Tiger2000 (200cc).

Markel Awards Sweepstakes Winner
Markel American Insurance Company named Richard Milner of Arkansas as the winner of its direct mail sweepstakes.
Markel American’s BikelinE Insurance Program sent 50,000 direct mail pieces with the “Spring into Cash with BikelinE” sweepstakes offer to 36 states.
Markel, Pewaukee, Wisc., has offered motorcycle insurance for more than 35 years.

Johnson Joins Ehlert’s Snowmobile Group
Colby Johnson has joined Ehlert Publishing Inc. as an associate editor on the snowmobile titles. Johnson will contribute to Snow Week, Snow Goer and Snowmobile magazines. Previously, Johnson was staff writer South Washington County Bulletin newspaper, covering the local government beat.


The Sept. 6, 2004, issue of Powersports Business incorrectly identified the targeted price points for motorcycles to be offered by Saxon Motorcycles. Prices are expected to be in the low $20,000 range, a company official said.

Yamaha Adds To Boat Line
Yamaha’s jet boat lineup got bigger by two boats for 2005. The new SX230 High Output (H.O.) and AR230 H.O. each pack twin MR-1 1052cc four-cylinder four-stroke engines that pump out an estimated 320 hp. For comparison, the non-H.O. SX230 and AR230 each have 998cc four-cylinder four-stroke mills with an estimated 280 hp.
The 23-foot SX230 H.O. is classified into Yamaha’s bowrider lineup. It seats 10 people and is based on the SX230. The SX230 H.O. comes with a 36-quart built-in ice chest, ergonomically designed bucket seats and a new No Wake Mode that sets the engine rpm to no wake speed with a simple touch of a button. The manufacturers suggested retail price is $32,499.
The new AR230 H.O., meanwhile, is Yamaha’s new high-output wakeboard boat, and is based on the AR230. Like the SX230 H.0., the 23-foot, 10-person capacity AR230 H.O. comes with a No Wake Mode that limits engine rpm to no wake speed at the touch of a button. Other features include a 36-quart built-in ice chest, bucket seats, dual engine control and more.

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