Nov. 10, 2008 – Hot News

Polaris testing potential new distribution program

Polaris Industries has begun expanded testing on a new dealer distribution program, company officials said in a recent conference call.
The distribution system that is in testing would “enable retail order management to be done twice a month rather than twice a year,” Polaris President and Chief Operating Officer Bennett Morgan said on the conference call.
Polaris first tested the proposed distribution system with about 30 dealers for about a year and has since enlarged that testing to a larger, regional base of approximately 150 dealers.
“We will evaluate and learn from this regional test quickly over the upcoming months with the goal of having the right product at the right time for our customers, with less system-wide inventory,” Morgan said. “As we gain experience and become smarter, we would expect to expand this initiative more broadly across our dealer network.”
Although Morgan noted it was very early in the process, Polaris did see positives from early testing, including significant dealer inventory reductions, market share gains and an increase in dealer and customer satisfaction as a result of the potential new distribution program.

Harley-Davidson to move testing operations

Harley-Davidson reached an agreement with Chrysler to test its bikes at the automaker’s Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca, Ariz., according to a H-D press release.
H-D will start moving its operations from its current Arizona facilities in Mesa in April. The company will be fully moved by July 1. The agreement was initiated when General Motors said it was going to sell the Mesa testing facility, where H-D currently leases for testing.
Harley-Davidson will occupy several buildings at the Arizona Proving Grounds’ 3,650-acre facility and use an existing five-mile, high-speed, banked oval track for vehicle testing. Harley also will construct a durability road and a vehicle dynamics road course that will be used exclusively for Harley-Davidson and Buell testing.
Senior Vice President Ron Hutchinson said, “We are pleased with the new facility and anticipate a smooth transition with little impact to our continued ability to test current and future Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycles.”

AMA vice president re-elected to key governing body post

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Director of International Affairs Robert Rasor was recently re-elected to the position of vice president for the FIM, the international governing body for both motorcycle sport and touring.
Rasor was re-elected to a four-year term. He’s one of six FIM vice presidents, and joins Andrzej Witkowski of Poland and Juan Moreta of Spain in being re-elected this year.
“It is a privilege to be able to serve motorcycling as a member of the FIM Management Council and also to represent the interests of the AMA and riders in North America,” Rasor said in the press release.
AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman stated, “This is a very prestigious position that gives Rob the opportunity to counsel the FIM in ways that will not only benefit the AMA and riders in the United States, but also around the world. There is nobody more capable to serve in this important position.”
Rasor is also head of the FIM’s Alternative Energy Working Group. Before that, Rasor served as president of the FIM’s Commission on Mobility, Transport, Road Safety and Public Policy, increasing the organization’s involvement in motorcyclists’ rights. He has also served as president of the North American Motorcycle Union.

Australian atv, cycle sales increase

The number of motorcycles, ATVs and scooters sold in Australia has increased 5 percent through September compared to the year-ago period, according to Manufacturers’ Monthly.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported 96,281 motorcycles, scooters and ATVs were sold through the end of September.
Scooters played a significant role in the growth as the segment had a 14.5 percent increase compared to the prior-year period.
Road bikes, the most popular segment, had a 10.8 percent increase over the same period last year. ATVs also saw an increase, by 2.2 percent. The one down segment was off-road motorcycles, which experienced a 2 percent decrease.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ Chief Executive Andrew McKellar says it’s encouraging to see the motorcycle market showing positive results in the current economic circumstances.
“The increasing popularity of scooters reflect the community’s concerns with higher fuel prices, road congestion and city parking,” McKellar said in the article.

Brembo purchases remainder of KBX joint venture

Brembo, supplier of high-performance brake systems, signed an agreement with Bosch Chassis Systems India to purchase the remaining 50 percent of KBX Motorbike Products Private, according to a Brembo press release.
The acquisition is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. The agreed upon price is equal to about $1.3 million.
KBX holds a 50 percent market share of motorcycle brake systems manufactured in India and its main clients include Bajaj, Hero Honda, Honda Motors, Yamaha, Suzuki and Royal Henfield.
Alberto Bombassei, chairman of Brembo S.p.A., said in the press release, “This acquisition is another important step for the growth of Brembo in a fast growing market. Brembo will continue to search for further development opportunities also in other segments of its core business.” psb

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