September 3, 2007 – Hot News

KYMCO Expands Joint Venture With U.S. Affiliate
Kwang Yang Motor Co., manufacturer of KYMCO products, is increasing its stake in its U.S. affiliate, a move that is expected to increase the company’s U.S. marketing dollars and produce more product specific to the North American market, officials told Powersports Business.
The parent company recently took a 50 percent stake in KYMCO USA and will now send key personnel from Taiwan to join the KYMCO USA team in South Carolina.
The new personnel will become part of the U.S. board of directors and will concentrate on new product development, with the main focus being on the needs of the American consumer.
“From our standpoint, it gives us a much better communication channel,” said Bruce Ramsey, vice president of marketing and sales of KYMCO USA, “because they (the personnel from Taiwan) will be in a role with us now in developing product for the U.S. market. A lot of that will be in the ATV market.”
The volume of KYMCO products will most likely increase as demand is predicted to rise.
Dealers can expect to see new models as early as spring of 2008 and more will come later on in the year as the 2009 models arrive.
During the past seven years, Ramsey said KMYCO USA has done a considerable job of promoting itself to dealers and powersports-related businesses, but “our consumer awareness is lacking.”
“We still have people asking, ‘What is KYMCO? Where is it made?’” Ramsey said. “That is the focus of what we want to change at this point.”
Companies Provide Units For Minnesota Bridge Recovery
Polaris Industries worked with Minnesota dealer Digger’s Polaris & Marine to provide Sportsman ATVs and Ranger side-by-side vehicles to help with recovery efforts related to the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Polaris said in a press release Aug. 6.
“As a Minnesota company, we share in the sorrow this tragedy has left on our state,” said Bennett Morgan, Polaris president and chief operating officer, in the statement. “It’s our hope that the units provided make this very difficult effort a bit easier for all involved.”
Prior Lake, Minn.-based Digger’s Polaris provided six Sportsman 500 ATVs and six Polaris Ranger 4x4s to the Minneapolis Police Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to aid in the effort. Triton Trailers and Recreational Supply Corp. also provided equipment.
Polaris vehicles also were used in recovery and clean up efforts for Hurricane Katrina, at Ground Zero and during various Minnesota flood relief efforts.
“When our dealership was contacted to provide ATVs and side-by-side vehicles for the recovery effort, there was no doubt in my mind we would make it happen,” said Doug Nagle, Digger’s owner. “This tragedy has hit very close to home and providing these units is our way to help with the effort.”
Viper Powersports Acquires Melling Sports Cars
Viper Powersports Inc. has agreed to buy 100 percent of the outstanding shares of Melling Sports Cars Inc. stock.
Once the transaction closes, Viper Powersports will become Viper-Melling Corp. and will own Viper Motorcycle Co., Melling Sports Cars and Al Melling Performance as 100 percent owned subsidiaries, according to a press release.
Melling Sports Cars, based in Rochdale, England, designs and develops proprietary sports cars and sports car engines. Al Melling, managing director of Melling Sports Cars, said in the release their cars are of “the best engineering possible; the joining of Melling with Viper enhances this concept.”
John Lai, president of Viper-Melling, said in the release that the joining of the companies will enhance their premium lifestyle branding strategy.
Dealer Part Of Record-Setting Accomplishment
A Montana powersports dealer was part of a team that accomlished a new land speed record.
Cliff Gullet, owner of Team Bozeman in Montana, and Team Bullett set the 350cc class motorcycle record Aug. 17 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
The Team Bullett Costella-Gullett 350cc streamliner was designed and built by Jack Costella and is powered by a Yamaha 350cc powerplant race prepared by Swedetech Racing Engines.
Gullett delivered a qualifying run that was recorded at 195.005 mph with an exit speed of 197.822 mph. The following day, a record-setting second run confirmed the bike’s speed. The morning run was clocked at 189.812 mph with an exit speed of 193.821 mph.
The Southern California Timing Association has conferred the new recorded now held by Team Bullett at 192.408 mph.
Yamaha Motors To Open Philippine Plant
As an aim to raise production in Southeast Asia’s emerging market, Yamaha Motor Co. announced its plans to build a new factory in the Philippines, according to a company press release.
The new plant will be located in the city of Lipa, south of Manila, which will allow a faster response rate to changes in the Philippines’ growing two-wheeler market. It is scheduled to start operation in early 2009.
Details concerning production capacity, production models and capital investment for the new plant are currently being considered.
Motorcycle sales have been rising steadily in the Philippines due partially to the steady domestic economy. In 2006, the market scale reached 620,000 motorcycles for a 6 percent increase compared to the previous year.
Honda Adds Liquids To Weight Specs
Honda Motor Co. has modified its official weight specification standards, the company said in a statement Aug. 6.
Beginning this year, the official weight specification for all the company’s products will be a full wet, or curb, weight. Curb weight includes all standard equipment, required fluids and a full tank of fuel.
“We are making this change to provide the public with a real world figure, which is easier to verify and compare,” a company official said in the release.
Oxtar Boots Changes Its Name To TCX
A recent rebranding of the Oxtar line of boots was spurred by the acquisition of Oxtar S.p.A. by Novation S.p.A.
The boots and other Oxtar products will now have the TCX brand name.
A company press release said TCX will maintain the organization’s reputation for high performance at all levels, starting with R&D and continuing through manufacturing and distribution.
Oxtar has enjoyed its status as the leading brand of motorcycle boots in Europe and the name change to TCX denotes a renewed emphasis on the technical aspects of the full line of products. The new TCX brand also creates a separate, more distinctive identity to clear the way for widespread global trademark usage.
Novation Motorbike S.p.A. is a newly formed subsidiary of Novation S.p.A., with a specific focus on creating innovative products for the motorcycling market. Novation S.p.A. has a decades-long heritage as a leader in engineering, research and technical development for sports equipment, casual shoes, work wear, safety shoes, accessories and shoes for sports. Located in Montebelluna, Italy, Novation S.p.A. has CNC design and molding experience in a variety of materials from plastic to steel to carbon fiber. psb

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