Dec. 28th, 2009 – Hot News

Strong ‘Black Friday’ sales reported
Black Friday PG&A sales in dealerships remained mostly flat compared to a year ago, which is significantly better than the U.S. retail world as a whole performed.
That was the findings of an ADP Lightspeed study of approximately 400 metric and V-twin dealerships across the nation. The survey examined parts department sales from Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27-28.
Overall, the study found Black Friday sales up slightly, at less than one half of a percent.
A separate study of close to 5,000 shoppers found the average dollar amount spent per person declined 8 percent from a year ago. That survey was conducted for the National Retail Federation and was done Nov. 26-28.
While the powersports sales remained mostly flat, there were regions that showed notable improvements over last year. The Northwest was up nearly 16 percent over the year-ago period and the Midwest parts sales increased by nearly 9 percent, the ADP Lightspeed survey found.
Only the West (minus 10 percent) was off significantly from a year ago.
The National Retail Federation survey found on average shoppers spent $343.31 per person this year.
Another key holiday shopping day, Cyber Monday, was reported to be the largest yet, the National Retail Federation reported.
This year, many retailers saw Cyber Monday traffic and sales shift from mid-day hours to the early morning and evening hours as more Americans shopped for deals from home.

Harley-Davidson to keep its York operations
Harley-Davidson will keep its motorcycle operations in York, Penn., and intends to restructure those operations, according to a company press release.
The announcement follows the ratification of a new seven-year labor agreement by company employees at York.
“A restructured York operation will enable the plant to be competitive and sustainable for the future, and the new labor agreement is critical to making that happen,” Keith Wandell, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, said in the release. “On behalf of the company, I want to thank the employees at York for their vote to make the changes necessary to create a more flexible and efficient operation, and we look forward to moving ahead together to achieve that goal.”
The York operation will be consolidated under one roof and focused on the core areas of motorcycle assembly, metal fabrication and paint.
The operation will have a smaller, more flexible workforce, corresponding to the scale and scope of the operations, with about 1,000 hourly employees compared to about 1,950 today.
When fully operational in 2012, the restructuring is expected to generate about $100 million in annual operating savings compared to the current structure.

Online dealer education program enhanced
ADP Lightspeed, a provider of dealer management solutions, is adding to its “Find Hidden Cash” series, an online program aimed at improving dealer profitability.
The program was launched in July and the company said thousands of dealers have attended the series’ Webinars and read the associated articles, which are available to the entire industry. ADP Lightspeed used its data collection and the knowledge of 30-year industry expert Hal Ethington, a Powersports Business columnist, to provide industry statistics to help dealers capitalize on commonly missed cash flow opportunities. The four studies, which focused on parts, service, sales and marketing, were made to help dealers overcome economic challenges.
“We saw that the information we had accumulated was valuable for the entire industry no matter what dealer management solutions provider they were using,” said Ethington, a senior analyst for ADP Lightspeed. “This is an important time in our industry. We wanted to help make dealers stronger and saw this as one way we could.”
ADP Lightspeed has added two additional areas for the Find Hidden Cash series: “Accounting” and “How Dealers are Succeeding.” Information on these upcoming studies will be posted at

Industry veteran murr retires from Kawasaki
Tony Murr, vice president of sales and marketing for Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., has retired, ending a 35-year career there.
Murr, who had been with Kawasaki since 1974, initially assumed the national sales team management role in 2003 and added the responsibility for marketing earlier this year.
Murr began his career with Kawasaki as a dealer development manager in the company’s Atlanta offices. He was promoted to district manager two years later and was recognized three times as the East Region District Manager of the Year.
Promoted to regional sales manager in 1990, Murr had responsibility for all of the brand’s product lines in the Central Region, prior to moving to California in 2001 to accept a similar position in the company’s West Region. He was named assistant vice president of sales in 2002, prior to assuming the vice president’s role a year later.
“Tony’s contributions to this organization, and particularly the sales management team, have been significant factors in our growth over the past many years,” Takeshi Teranishi, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., president, said in a press release.
Murr said his career “has been a rewarding experience for me and my family, and retirement will be filled with great memories.”

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