March 8, 2010: Hot News

Polaris acquires Swiss engine developer
Polaris Industries has acquired engine developer Swissauto Powersports, according to a release from Polaris.
Founded in 1987, the Burgdorf, Switzerland-based company’s core capabilities are in development, prototyping and manufacturing of internal combustion engines.
Polaris has worked with Swissauto in the past. The high-performance, four-stroke Weber engine that Polaris uses in several current snowmobile models was developed by Swissauto.
In addition to recreational vehicle engines, Swissauto has developed engines for world motorcycle GP. The company also developed a racing bike that competed against metric manufacturers during the late 1990s. Polaris acquired the powersports portion of Swissauto and will continue to operate in the current Swissauto facility in Burgdorf. The automotive division of Swissauto was not involved in the acquisition and will continue to operate autonomously.

Former AMA board chairman sentenced to prison
Former American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Board Chairman Dal Smilie recently was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years probation for embezzling more than $100,000 through fraudulent travel reimbursement claims submitted to the AMA over a period of years ending in 2007.
Smilie pleaded guilty to felony counts of grand theft by deception and of receiving stolen property, an AMA press release stated.
Speaking to the judge before his sentencing, Smilie said, “I’ve got much to apologize for, and many people to apologize to, including AMA members, AMA staff, my fellow board members and volunteers,” he said. “I’ve let them down.”
According to the AMA press release, Smilie acknowledged his fraudulent travel-reimbursement claims stemmed from his time as an AMA board member. “I overstated travel claims,” he said. “I co-mingled funds. That’s misappropriation. That’s theft. That’s a breach of trust, and I’m sorry for that.”

Company acquires the assets of Ridley Motorcycle
2 Wheel Ventures LLC, a former Ridley Motorcycle Co. licensee, last week acquired all of Ridley’s significant assets, according to a company press release.
The purchase includes intellectual property rights, tooling/fixtures, parts inventory and manufacturing management software/hardware systems. 2 Wheel Ventures reports it also secured the company’s manufacturing plant and former key personnel.
“The past two years have been extremely challenging for our industry,” Ridley co-founder Jay Ridley said in the release. “With the rapid growth Ridley was experiencing in 2005, 2006 and 2007, the company over-leveraged itself in order to meet demand for its products. When the credit market began to crash in 2008, it was almost impossible for the company to overcome its debts.”
In 2007, Ridley Motorcycle Co. licensed 2 Wheel Ventures to market the company’s brand on apparel and accessories. The license expanded in 2009 to include parts and technical help.
2 Wheel Ventures says it is committed to reorganizing the company’s assets, providing parts, reconditioning pre-owned Ridley motorcycles and offering technical support to Ridley owners, dealers and service centers. As the market conditions improve, 2 Wheel says it will evaluate the option of restarting production of new Ridley motorcycles.
Ridley Motorcycle Co. was established in 1995 as a line of fully automatic motorcycles, with a continuously variable transmission that allows riders to cruise without manual shifting or clutching.

Yamaha GRANTs more than $80,000 in fourth quarter
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., granted more than $80,000 in cash and equipment to 11 organizations through its off-highway vehicle Access Initiative GRANT program, announced the company.
This brings the program’s year-end funding total to more than $685,000 and two-year total to more than $1.3 million in support of the OHV community nationwide.
“Yamaha is proud of the OHV Access Initiative’s success reaching riding areas across the country and promoting safe, responsible recreation,” Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/SxS group marketing manager, said in the release. “While we’ve enjoyed great progress the past two years, we’re most excited about the future of the program as we meet the continuing and expanding need for OHV support. Yamaha’s OHV Access Initiative will continue to provide essential resources to OHV riding clubs, state associations and public land management agencies at local, state and federal levels for years to come.”
The 2010 Access Initiative GRANT schedule is now available at along with the application form and guidelines.

Salvage Direct’s
new facility expands East Coast capacity
Salvage Direct, a pioneer of online salvage vehicle, watercraft, motorcycle and powersport auctions, announced its new, state-of-the-art Enhanced Processing Center near Philadelphia.
SD New Britain is Salvage Direct’s sixth facility in Pennsylvania, 80th worldwide and the first of its 2010 expansion plan, the company said in a press release.
Every facility in the Salvage Direct logistics network recently upgraded the processing and preservation capabilities to include a more in-depth, value-driven service with an emphasis on engine and transmission performance. The Enhanced Processing Program will expose more detailed information to bidders and increase the number of units in inventory that run and move.
“We’re excited about the Enhanced Processing Program,” said Bob Joyce, founder of Salvage Direct. “This initiative takes vehicle information to the next level. Our runs/drives initiatives will now contain additional power and drive train information complete with a new, multi-media presentation. Buyers benefit from complete disclosure and suppliers will experience even better recovery on their invested assets.”
The SD New Britain facility is situated on a 21-acre parcel. It is located between the Philadelphia and Allentown, Pa., markets.

New Dunlop director
formerly worked with forD?MOTOR CO.
Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America has appointed Christine Moore as its new director of marketing.
In her new position, Moore will be responsible for managing all marketing-related business for the Dunlop motorcycle and ATV tire business unit, including brand strategy, advertising, product marketing consumer services and public relations.
Moore will report to Joe Rosen, chairman and president of Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America.
Prior to joining Dunlop, Moore held a variety of marketing positions with the Ford Motor Co., including regional marketing manager, brand manager, and vehicle line product manager. Most recently, she served as vice president of marketing and corporate communications for global business services provider SIRVA Inc.

Ideal computer sponsors free F&I training Webinar
Ideal Computer Systems, a provider of dealer management systems for the powersports industry, is sponsoring Troy Simon’s Foundation for
Profitable F&I training Webinar to help dealers boost profitability.
Simon, an independent F&I consultant, will use his 16-plus years of experience in the F&I and banking industry to educate dealers on how to build the foundation for a profitable F&I department in their dealership.
In the hour-long session, dealers will learn how to ensure they have the correct F&I staff on board that will build relationships with their sales staff and business office, sell quality products that will fit their customers’ needs, properly qualify and educate their customers about payment options and prevent charge backs.
The free online presentation will be Wednesday, March 24, at 1 p.m. CST.

Motorcycle builder reaches deal with eyewear company
Bryan Fuller, a hot rod and motorcycle builder and owner of Fuller Hot Rods, has reached an endorsement agreement with polarized driving sunglass manufacturer Petrol Eyewear, a press release stated.
Petrol offers driving optics designed to increase depth perception, sharpen vision, reduce eye fatigue and protect the wearer from harmful UV and high-intensity light.

Motorcycle Value Program, M.V.P. Inc., is not affiliated in any way with the Harley-Davidson Motor Co., as reported in the Feb. 8 edition of Powersports Business. MVP Inc. is a stand-alone entity, headquartered in
St. Paul, Minn., that provides a national motorcycle loyalty program through 24 locations throughout the United States. Powersports Business regrets the error.

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