HOT NEWS – April 24, 2006

Cycle Country names interim CEO
A former John Deere general manager has been named as interim CEO of Cycle Country Accessories Corp.
John Gault, a board member for Cycle Country (AMEX:ATC), replaces Ron Hickman, the Milford, Iowa, company’s previous president and CEO.
“The board was dissatisfied with our return on invested capital and decided we needed a change to enhance shareholder value and growth going forward,” said Jim Danbom, chairman of the Cycle Country Board of Directors. “John will hold the CEO position until a suitable candidate is found.”
Gault had a 30-year career with Deere and Company and worked with several subsidiaries of the company before retiring as general manager of John Deere Harvester Works in 2002. At that time, he was responsible for an agricultural equipment factory with annual sales of nearly $2 billion. He also has served on product councils for combines in North America, Western Europe and South America.
Cycle Country designs and manufactures custom-fitting accessories for virtually every brand of utility all-terrain vehicles.
For more on the change in management, please see Joe Delmont’s column on page 8.
Colaninno Updates Piaggio IPO
Officials at Italy’s Piaggio & Co. SpA may bring the company to market earlier than initially predicated, Piaggio Chairman Roberto Colaninno said recently.
“We think towards June,” Colannino said, indicating that the schedule for Piaggio’s initial public offering (IPO) depends solely on bureaucratic issues.
Piaggio, owner of the Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Derbi, Piaggio, Vespa and Gilera powersports brands, has applied for listing on the electronic stock market MTA (Mercato Telematico Azionario) segment of Borsa Italiana. Colaninno previously suggested the company could go public by August.
Colaninno is also president of IMMSI SpA, the largest shareholder in Piaggio. He suggested IMMSI won’t reduce its share in Piaggio through the public offering, but will instead work to strengthen its ownership in the powersports manufacturer. “IMMSI isn’t selling anything but it will use its call option, buying shares from Morgan Grenfell,” he told news service AGI SpA.
Colaninno made the comments this month while in Rome for a contract signing between the Sultanate of Oman and Rodriguez shipbuilders. IMMSI SpA also controls Rodriguez.
In a final piece of Piaggio news, the company signed a technical, commercial, sporting and communication cooperative deal with Eni to use the Agip brand in association with all Piaggio brands.
The four-year deal will focus on developing technical synergies between Agip oil products for motorcycles and scooters, the companies announced in a joint statement.
New Board Appointed at Ducati Motor Holding
A new board of directors was appointed during the Ordinary Shareholders Meeting of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (NYSE: DMH and Borsa Italiana S.p.A: DMH).
The board, appointed April 10, is composed of Matteo Tamburini, Massimo Bergami, Roberto Consonni, Ulrich Weiss, Dante Razzano, Mauro Benetton, Federico Minoli, Carlo Pasquale Campanini Bonomi, Antonio Perricone, Marco Giovannini, Roberto Maestroni and Giampiero Paoli. The newly appointed board will remain in office until the approval of the financial statements for the period ending Dec. 31.
Outgoing directors include David Bonderman, Abel Halpern, Andrea Lipparini, Paolo Pietrogrande, Giorgio Seragnoli and Giles Thorley.
In December, Ducati majority shareholder Texas Pacific Group agreed to sell its controlling stake in the motorcycle manufacturer to Italian private equity firm Investindustrial Holdings.
TPG, a major private equity company headed by David Bonderman, originally bought 51 percent of Ducati in 1996 when the finances of former parent Cagiva SpA soured. In 1999, the company recouped some of its investment when Ducati was floated on the stock market. Today, TPG’s 35 percent share is worth approximately $79.3 million.
United Motors, Hyosung Announce Agreement
United Motors, Inc., supplier of motorcycles, scooters and ATVs sold under the UM brand name, and Hyosung Motors & Machinery, Inc., Korea’s largest manufacturer of two-wheel motorcycles and ATVs sold under the Hyosung brand name, announced a “cooperation agreement” they say was designed to increase their global competitiveness and market share.
Hyosung Motors will manufacture OEM products for United Motors sold under the UM brand in selected countries and markets around the world where UM has a strong distribution network. United Motors will design and develop high displacement motorcycles, including a line of 250cc and 650cc sport bikes and cruisers manufactured by Hyosung Motors.
The companies say another area of the cooperation includes joint product development in different displacement ranges.
West Virginia Enacts New Biker-Friendly Law
West Virginia has enacted a law supporting the goals of the AMA’s “Justice for All” campaign.
The Reckless Driving Bill, also known as “Danny’s Law” after West Virginia motorcyclist Danny Kneisly, passed unanimously in both houses of the state legislature and was signed into law April 4 by Gov. Joe Manchin, himself an avid motorcyclist. The new law increases penalties, including jail time, for reckless-driving violations.
The AMA launched Justice for All in 2004, after former U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow received just 100 days in a South Dakota county jail for second-degree manslaughter related to a traffic crash that claimed a motorcyclist’s life.
West Virginia joins eight other states in passing legislation that supports Justice for All: Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. South Dakota has not addressed the issue.
Team Green Plans 25th Anniversary
Kawasaki is extending an invitation to all former Team Green riders and staff to join them at Team Green’s 25th Anniversary Celebration at the AMA Amateur National Championships, Aug. 1-5 at Loretta Lynn’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
Team Green is requesting information from all Team Green riders and staff — past and present — describing their racing and lifestyle, and offering a gift to all who participate.
To confirm participation either by providing historical information or attending the celebration, contact Kawasaki at 949/770-0400, ext. 2226, or send an e-mail to teamgreen.rider@kmc-usa.com. Deadline for sending info is July 1.
AMA, Nationwide Mutual Insurance ink agreement
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company have announced a new partnership that makes Nationwide the AMA’s “Motorcycle Insurer of Choice” and brings new benefits to the AMA’s 270,000-plus members.
Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Nationwide will offer AMA members its Rev & Ride motorcycle coverage at discounted rates. In addition, new Nationwide motorcycle policyholders who aren’t members of the AMA will receive a one-year AMA membership. The partnership also offers Nationwide opportunities to sponsor major AMA events.
Already available in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Nationwide’s Rev & Ride coverage will be available in most states by the end of the year.
World’s largest BMW Retailer Opens in Munich
Offering an area of 9,000 sq. meters, including a 3,000 sq. meter showroom and 25 technician work stations, the world’s largest BMW motorcycle retail location opened March 25.
Located next to the company’s worldwide headquarters in Munich, the facility was completed after a year-long renovation and investment of Euro 5.6 million ($6.8 million).
Managed by Felix Herrnberger, the operation will employ 79 people.
Clarification
A caption on page 47 of the March 13 issue of Powersports Business, “Brazil grows cycle production, exports,” could be misinterpreted. All Yamaha 650 V-Star motorcycles sold in the United States are built in Japan. psb

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