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HOT NEWS – January 22, 2007

America’s PowerSports names new CEO
America’s PowerSports, one of the nation’s largest powersports dealer organizations, has hired a veteran of the automotive industry as its new CEO.
James “Jim” Bower became the group’s CEO effective Jan. 2, the company announced in a press release. Bower was most recently an executive for Sonic Automotive, one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers with 173 franchises. Bower was vice president of the company’s Texas region where he oversaw 25 stores that generated $2 billion in annual revenue.
APS, which generates annual sales of more than $200 million, owns 18 dealerships in nine states.
“We’ve been on a steady and profitable growth curve since this company was founded in 1998,” APS Director Nathan Brown said in a prepared statement, “and we’re confident that Jim can continue — and even accelerate — that growth.
“He brings a lot to the party with his strong operations background and his understanding of the dealer business. His experience on the auto side will be invaluable.”
Bower will fill the role that was initially vacated when APS founder Clark Vitulli left the company last March. At that time, the company said Vitulli’s role as president and CEO would be split between two parties, Dennis Bookshester, a founding director, and Jerry Gilding, who was named president.
APS announced it posted record sales and earnings in 2006. That’s the seventh consecutive profitable year for the group, with its same store sales rising 7 percent.
Gilding, in an interview with Powersports Business, said he expects the national dealership group to grow in the coming year.
APS added one new dealership in Columbia, Tenn., and will add up to four new franchises to existing dealerships this year.
Gilding told Powersports Business that he expects growth in the number of franchises to existing stores and new dealership acquisitions in 2007, although he couldn’t be specific on how many stores would be added.
Besides adding to the dealership number, APS also will be building two new facilities in 2007 for two of its Harley-Davidson dealers. This spring, Central Texas Harley-Davidson is scheduled to open a 50,000-square-foot store that’s about 20 miles north of Austin, Texas. Also in 2007, a 35,000-square-foot store for Bryan Harley-Davidson is scheduled to open in Moore, Okla.
Event educates industry on how to influence government
The American Motorcyclist Association has organized another Ride Into Political Action seminar. The Washington, D.C. event is for motorcyclists who want to learn how to influence governmental decisions, whether in Congress or in their local communities.
The seminar, to be held Feb. 24-27 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., allows participants to meet and learn from the AMA’s Washington staff as well as other political experts. Besides learning about state and federal issues facing motorcyclists today, participants will get tips on building relationships with government agency officials and on lobbying elected officials.
The instructors also will prepare participants to meet face-to-face with members of their own congressional delegations.
Foundation files suit over intellectual property rights
For the first time, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has filed a lawsuit.
In a suit filed in U.S. District Court, the organization charges Oregon State University, its president and Stephen Garets, both individually and in his official capacity as director of OSU’s Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program, with copyright infringement.
The suit alleges the defendants willfully misappropriated the MSF’s motorcycle safety and training curriculum materials in connection with the development and publication of Team Oregon’s Basic Rider Training curriculum materials, and prepared derivative works based on the MSF’s copyrighted curricula. It also claims the defendants have sought to distribute the misappropriated curriculum outside the state of Oregon. The suit further alleges the defendants falsely associated the MSF with, and identified the MSF as an endorser of the Team Oregon BRT.
“The MSF attempted on multiple occasions to resolve these issues without a lawsuit, but Oregon State University and Garets were unwilling to stop their unlawful conduct,” said Stuart Philip Ross, an attorney with the law firm of Ross, Dixon & Bell, LLP. psb

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