Italian Unit Sales Increase
Italy’s 2004 motorcycle, scooter and moped sales in September rose 24.7%, or 28,400 units, over the same month last year, the Italian motorcycle accessories association ANCMA said. Scooter sales in September 2004 exceeded by 3,600 units the sales for the same month of 2003, increasing 31.9%.
A total 373,206 motorcycles were sold in the country for January through September 2004, an increase of 4.5% over the same period of 2003. Scooter sales, however, slipped 0.8% year-on-year to 238,996 units for the first nine months of 2004.
Italy’s total motorcycle, scooter and moped registrations rose to 79,698 units in July and August 2004, compared to 77,983 units in July and August 2003.
UTI Drops Credit Facility
Universal Technical Institute, Inc., a provider of motorcycle and auto technical training, terminated its $30 million credit facility with Heller Financial, Inc., effective Sept. 30, 2004.
UTI said it hopes to secure a lower-cost credit facility with Wells Fargo Bank. The change in lenders, the company said, will result in a one-time, fourth quarter charge of approximately $400,000 “related to the write-off of unauthorized deferred financing costs,” prepaid loan administration fees and legal costs. UTI said it expects to save approximately $400,000 in annual interest cost savings under the new credit facility.
At the time of the termination, the UTI had no outstanding borrowings under the credit facility. The credit facility had been used to secure a letter of credit in favor of the Department of Education related to the company’s Title IV funding eligibility. UTI plans to secure this existing letter of credit with cash until its expiration or replacement in November 2004.
UTI also said it plans to issue a replacement letter of credit to the Department of Education under the new facility prior to the November expiration of the current letter of credit.
UTI provides technical education training for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. UTI’s brands include Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI).
Kawasaki Adds Manager
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., Irvine, Calif., has named Bruce Gill, Jr., a 16-year veteran of the auto industry, to the top sales position in the western states. As regional sales manager, Gill will oversee a team of district managers who are responsible for wholesale sales to a network of more than 300 dealers in the territory. Most recently employed by Mitsubishi Motor Sales, Gill held various positions during his tenure at the company.
The western territory includes all or parts of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.
BMW Motorrad Sales Slip
Dr. Herbert Diess, president of BMW Motorrad, says BMW Motorrad’s year-to-date sales through August in Germany were down 6% versus the same period last year. Worldwide retail deliveries year-to-date through August were down 4.1% versus the previous year.
A total of 64,785 units were delivered in 2004 versus 67,428 units in 2003. Sales were mixed across European countries. In Spain, for example, sales increased in the same period by 18.3%, and in France, where the overall market is slightly declining, retail deliveries were up 10%.
Diess said the company expects 2004 worldwide sales to match those of 2003. He said that 2004 retail sales have been affected by the changeover to new models and by customers waiting for other new Boxers still in the pipeline.
Kawasaki Picks Ad Agency
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC), Irvine, Calif., has named O’Leary and Partners to succeed FCB Worldwide as its advertising agency. The new arrangement, effective immediately, will cover all products marketed by the company, including motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft, utility vehicles, and associated accessories.
KMC will continue its relationships with The Falls Agency, Minneapolis, which handles dealer promotional advertising, and with Freeman/McCue, Santa Ana, the company’s public relations firm, said Tom Orbe, vice president, sales and marketing.
O’Leary and Partners is a $75 million independent advertising and public relations agency providing marketing communications services to a broad range of clients.
ATVs Strong in Germany
The German Motorcycle Industry Association says ATV sales in the first half of 2004 reached 14,800 units compared to the 16,135 units registered during full-year 2003. The group says sales for market leader Standard Motor eclipse those of Kymco and Yamaha.
Honda Renews Pact
Honda Motorcycles and the Retail Sales Finance unit of GE Consumer Finance have signed a multi-year renewal agreement under which GE will provide promotional and other retail financing to Honda customers in the United States. The services will be for the purchase of powersports equipment, including motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, personal watercraft and accessories.
The Honda Card Financing Program is offered through a network of independently-owned dealers throughout the United States. It’s designed to provide revolving credit financing services through special credit promotions, discounts and dealer rebates.
Boating Report Released
The recently completed 2002 National Recreational Boating Survey Report, compilded by the Strategic Research Group for the United States Coast Guard, offers some insight into personal watercraft usage, as well as boating usage overall.
According to the survey, almost 60 million recreational boats were used between September 2001 and 2002. Personal watercraft accounted for the third most-used vessel, and PWC users on average spent three hours a day on the water while aboard their craft. Surprisingly, 14% of owners actually claim to fish from their craft.
Of some concern is that of boat owners who had less than 10 hours of boating experience, personal watercraft held the second highest percentage (23%). Not necessarily a bad thing, but a fact that drives home the need for education of new buyers.
Those interested in the entire 154-page report can find it at the following typist’s nightmare: www.uscgboating.org/statistics/ USCG_NRBS%202002-Report.pdf