Dec. 3, 2007 – Hot News

Agreement with Indian Company Won’t Change KTM’s Strategy
KTM will not change its corporate strategy of building a relatively small number of premium powersports vehicles after a recent agreement with one of the largest powersports manufacturers in the world.
That was the message from Hubert Trunkenpolz, the director of sales and marketing for KTM Powersports AG.
Trunkenpolz spoke to Powersports Business from a Dubai motorcycle show not long after KTM announced the joint agreement with Bajaj Auto, an Indian manufacturer that ranks among the top five motorcycle producers in the world, according to a KTM press release.
“We will remain a premium manufacturer in all aspects,” Trunkenpolz said, also noting the agreement with Bajaj would not affect the European manufacturer’s North American market.
Where Trunkenpolz and KTM do see gains with the new partnership is in the development of a small displacement street bike for the European market. Such motorcycles are becoming more significant with a new law that allows European riders of street bikes with 125cc or less to drive with an automobile license.
“We will develop together with the Indian partners a premium entry (level) motorcycle,” Trunkenpolz said.
The sourcing for the production and the assembling of these future 125cc bikes will occur in India, KTM reported in its press release. In return, KTM will share its technology know-how on a water-cooled, four-stroke engine that will be used in the new 125cc bike but also be available for Bajaj products.
Trunkenpolz also says the agreement calls for Bajaj to be KTM’s exclusive distributor for India and elsewhere in southeast Asia. Bajaj also reported in the press release that it will be given access to the European market through KTM.
As part of the deal, Bajaj increased its share of ownership in KTM. As a result, it now holds voting rights and a share of more than 15 percent but not more than 20 percent in KTM, according to the press release.
Bajaj, in the fiscal year 2006-’07, produced and sold more than 2.3 million motorcycles and more than 320,000 automotive three-wheelers. Its motorcycle brands are popular, according to the press release, in India, south and southeast Asia, Africa and Latin and Central American countries.
ORBA Director Testifies Against Wilderness Bill
The Off-Road Business Association recently testified at the U.S. House of Representatives against a bill that could impact riding access to 200,000 acres in California.
U.S. Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would designate almost 200,000 acres in Riverside County, Calif. as wilderness, ORBA said in a statement Nov. 15.
“A wilderness designation places the most extreme limitation on the use of public lands,” Bill Dart, ORBA’s?director of Land Use, said in his testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests, Parks and Public Lands.
“It prohibits mechanized and motorized uses including OHVs, bicycles and wheelchairs. As a result, these areas are no longer accessible to a large portion of American society, namely the very young, the elderly and the handicapped, who are not able to hike long distances. ORBA believes these areas deserve protection from future development but should not be off limits to such a large segment of the population.”
Dart also said “the recreation community would like to see a ‘backcountry’ designation created that allows for recreation while at the same time prohibiting future development.”
Dart stated, “We are also concerned because, to our knowledge, Congresswoman Bono has not attempted to seek input from the OHV community with regard to how this bill will affect our recreation opportunities. We are in the process of trying to work with Congresswoman Bono’s staff to ensure that she understands the concerns the OHV community has with this bill.”
Channel Blade Technologies Names New CEO
Channel Blade Technologies, provider of online marketing, management and sales education solutions in the marine, RV and powersports industries, announced Jon Lintvet as its new CEO, according to its press release.
Owner Chuck Lewis says Lintvet’s election is the culmination of a year-long process.
“As the company continued to experience rapid growth, we felt there was a powerful opportunity to bring a visionary leader onboard to run day-to-day operations and shape the company’s strategic direction,” said Lewis in the press release.
Channel Blade supports more than 50 manufacturers and 2,000 dealer locations worldwide with its solutions and hands-on education programs.
ArvinMeritor To Close U.S. Plant, Open Mexican One
ArvinMeritor announced it will close its commercial vehicle systems axle operation in Arden, N.C., by September. The closure is part of a previously announced restructuring initiative in North America and Europe, an ArvinMeritor press release stated.
The company expects the closure will impact 13 plants and 2,800 employees, which will result in an estimated annual savings of $130-140 million by 2012. Employees from the Arden plant will transfer to ArvinMeritor’s facility in Forest City, N.C., and the new plant in Monterrey, Mexico, which will open in February.
The new plant will be about 400,000 square feet for manufacturing and office space. It will provide more space for ArvinMeritor’s axle and brake assembly operations and component manufacturing.
Harley-Davidson Opens Dealership In East China
Harley-Davidson hosted a ceremony to open its first authorized dealer in East China on Nov. 3 in Shanghai.
It’s the second dealership the Milwaukee manufacturer has opened in China, according to a H-D press release.
The dealership in southwest Shanghai offers a variety of H-D’s imported American-built motorcycles along with motor parts, accessories and apparel.
H-D CEO Jim Ziemer notes the company’s excitement over the new dealership.
“We are very excited to announce the official launch of Shanghai Harley-Davidson,” Ziemer said in the release. “We look forward to getting to know Shanghai’s Harley-Davidson fans.”
H-D’s other dealership is located in Beijing, which sells the same products as the new dealership. At the time of Beijing’s opening, H-D’s management believed the move to China represented a long-term opportunity.
Honda Awards $50,000 in Research Grants
Honda Motor Co. presented $50,000 for advanced research grants to professors at seven U.S. universities at the 10th anniversary of the Honda Initiation Grant program and Technical Horizon Symposium in Mountain View, Calif., stated a Honda press release.
The Honda grant program aims to fund innovative ideas in the early stages of research that are likely to make valuable contributions to technology over a term of 5-10 years.
The seven recipients were chosen from 300 grant submissions and include:

  • Dr. Marcelo Dapino of Ohio State University for the use of smart material technology for an adaptive seat belt system;
  • Tarek El Dokor of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for development of holographic instrument panel controls and display;
  • Dr. Pu-Xian Gao of the University of Connecticut for study of nano-catalysts for automotive emissions control systems;
  • Dr. David Jacobs of the University of Maryland for the study of enhanced facial recognition computer algorithms for humanoid robotics;
  • Dr. Yaoyu Li of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the optimization of power management for plug-in hybrid vehicles when common route driving.
    Desperado Announces New Dealership in Great Britain
    Desperado Motor Racing & Motorcycles Inc. and Just Hoggs U.K., a motorcycle specialty company located in London, entered an agreement in which Just Hoggs will be the exclusive Desperado authorized dealer in the United Kingdom, according to a Desperado press release.
    Desperado Motorcycles CEO Jeff Nicklus says he’s excited to welcome a new dealer into the Desperado family.
    “With the inking of this agreement with Just Hoggs, Desperado Motorcycles will now, for the first time, be available throughout Great Britain via local representation,” Nicklus said in the release.
    “This represents a major milestone for Desperado Motor Racing & Motorcycles Inc. in our effort to expand our geographical borders and further penetrate the world marketplace.” psb

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