HOT NEWS – July 3, 2006

BRP to take over Dealer Network in Europe
Montreal-based Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) plans to establish direct commercial operations in Spain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Ireland following the sale of former distributor Jets Marivent.
The shareholders of Jets Marivent have agreed to sell the company to an affiliate of privately owned BRP.
BRP will distribute its powersports and marine products directly through its own dealer network in the aforementioned countries beginning Oct. 1. Until that date, BRP products will continue to be supported by Jets Marivent.
BRP officials say the move constitutes the second phase of the company’s European growth strategy. The company established its own dealer network in France in 2005, and operates networks in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan and Scandinavia.
BRP has been present in Europe for more than 30 years, with manufacturing facilities in Austria (BRP-Rotax) and in Finland (BRP-Finland). Jets Marivent has specialized in recreational products since 1988 and has been dedicated to the import and distribution of BRP recreational product since 1993. Today, Jets Marivent is present in 14 European countries and has a network of almost 700 licensed dealers. The firm is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, and has offices in Madrid, Holland, Great Britain and Germany.
“Along with our dealers and business partners, we built this business from the ground up, starting out with only two models of Sea-Doo personal watercraft in Spain over 10 years ago,” said Oliver Frols, founder and president of Jets Marivent. “This would not have been possible without the experience and business support of our dealers, and BRP’s excellent product innovation and continuous support.”
“Over time, we firmly believe that this decision will provide significant benefits to dealers and consumers in these markets, including increased efficiency in customer service and logistics support as well as branding, product positioning and market responsiveness,” said Michel Hade, vice-president and general manager, BRP international sales and marketing.
Cape Breton TT Canceled
The Cape Breton TT Festival of Speed, an open road race scheduled to take place on an island off the northeast coast of Nova Scotia, has been canceled following the provincial government’s refusal to issue a permit for the event to happen on the 32.3-mile course.
The announcement came after 12 months of planning and organization.
“The official word delivered by the province came as a devastating blow and without notice after almost a year of work and official filings for sanctioning and insurance were completed,” said Maureen Carroll, chair of the Cape Breton Festival of Speed Association.
Carroll said the event had the support of the municipality and federal government and the economic development agencies on Cape Breton Island along with enthusiastic participation of community groups and organizations essential for staging such an event.
“The province has been well aware of the event and designated it as a signature event with no indication that they had fundamental issues beyond the understandable need to pass the public safety requirements, which were being organized by a professional technical team and race director,” she said. “It appears that the process of proper and formal evaluation and communications were flawed within the departments.”
The event was sanctioned by the Canadian Motorcycle Association and listed on the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme International Road Racing calendar.
Initiated by the Membertou Development Corporation, the festival served as an opportunity to bring a major annual event to Canada’s eastern-most province.
Organizers had forecast an economic impact to the island of $15 million, and said 5,000 room-nights had been booked six months ahead of the event just on the prospect and rumor it would occur.
“The cancellation news is regrettable and disappointing for all of the volunteer members of the community who have acted in good faith and invested in the development of an event which promised to deliver significant economic return for the region,” Carroll said.
H-D Applauds U.S. Trade Agreement with Vietnam
While Harley-Davidson has not yet announced any definitive plans for selling motorcycles in Vietnam, the company recently expressed satisfaction with a new trade agreement that reduces the Southeast Asian nation’s barriers to motorcycle imports and operation.
During the final round of negotiations in the Bilateral WTO Market Access Agreement between the United States and Vietnam, officials of the Office of the United States Trade Representative were successful in eliminating or lowering longstanding barriers to Harley-Davidson’s market entry in Vietnam.
The agreement in principle lifts an outright ban on large displacement motorcycles, calls for the adoption of a basic and transparent motorcycle operators licensing system, relaxes distribution restrictions and reduces tariffs on heavyweight (650cc-plus engine displacement) motorcycles by 60 percent over time.
Harley-Davidson officials say the company has long been interested in expanding its presence in Asia and considers market access of the kind provided by the trade agreement as key to its future expansion into Vietnam.
Suzuki recalls R450 QuadRacer
American Suzuki Motor Corp. is recalling about 6,300 units of its 2006 model year R450 QuadRacer ATV. The company says the cushion lever mounting bracket on the ATV frame can break. If this occurs the rider could lose control of the ATV and crash, posing a risk of serious injury or death.
Manufactured in Japan, the units were distributed in the continental U.S. by American Suzuki; in Hawaii by Montgomery Motors, Ltd.; and in Puerto Rico by Suzuki del Caribe.
Suzuki has received 27 reports of the cushion lever mounting bracket breaking, resulting in one report of a head injury.
Only 2006 LTR450K6 model ATVs with vehicle identification numbers ending with 00089 through 11626 are included in this recall. They were retailed from January 2006 through May 2006 for about $7,300.
Consumers with the recalled ATVs are being sent notices from Suzuki. They are being asked to stop using these vehicles immediately and to contact a local Suzuki ATV dealer to schedule an appointment for a free repair.
Ten Companies Join MIC
The Motorcycle Industry Council’s Board of Directors approved the following 10 new members in April:

  • Agri-Cover, Inc. (ACI) — manufacturer of truck covers, tarp systems, snow and ATV plows.
  • AMA Prostar — Motorcycle drag racing sanctioning body.
  • Assurant Solutions — Provider of specialty insurance, extended service contracts and risk management solutions.
  • Fuchs Lubricants Co. — Manufacturer of Silkolene motorcycle and motorsport lubricants.
  • Geico Motorcycle Insurance.
  • Max Moto Distribution — Importer/distributor of forks, steering, suspensions, exhausts, fenders, frames, tanks, etc.
  • Motorcycle Capital Company, LLC — An acquisition and funding company, working with motorcycle dealerships.
  • Nexx New York, Inc. — Apparel manufacturer, including men’s and women’s leather jackets.
  • SDG Motors, Inc. — Manufacturer of off-highway motorcycles.
    MIC Promotes Two
    The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) made two recent promotions.
    Kathy Van Kleeck was promoted to senior vice president, government relations and Pat Murphy was promoted to vice president, research and technology standards. Van Kleeck held the positions of managing director and vice president of government relations since 1995, and has been with the MIC since 1976.
    Murphy, previously manager and director of research and technology standards, joined the MIC in 1980 following six years with Kawasaki Motor Corp., USA.
    Murray Joins Yamaha
    Powersports industry veteran Maurice Murray has joined Yamaha Motor Corp., USA as division manager for the manufacturer’s parts and accessories group.
    Murray is a former senior vice president of brand development at Global Motorsport Group. He left Global in December 2004 to set up his own strategic marketing business, Zoom Strategic Marketing. Zoom, which Murray operated with Dave Scott, has closed its business. Scott has joined Advanstar. psb

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