April 5, 2010: Hot News

Survey: Half of dealers seeing improved March unit sales
An early spring survey of dealers shows a likely stabilization in new unit sales, if not a slight rebound.
The survey conducted by Powersports Business on March 22-23 showed 50 percent of dealers were above their new unit sales compared to March of the previous year. Another 40 percent were down from a year ago.
However, some dealers who reported decreased new unit sales were still ahead of their major unit sales pace from a year ago because of escalating preowned sales.
For those dealers who were reporting a rise in new unit sales, their volume was up an average of 18 percent over a year ago. Those dealers reporting a decrease in sales were down by an average of 26 percent.
The survey contacted 20 dealers from all segments of the industry in 17 states.
Total Motorcycle Industry Council-reported new unit sales declined nearly 37 percent in 2009, so a stable or slightly improved March would be welcome news. ADP Lightspeed’s dealer same store sales reports for Powersports Business have showed a slow start to the year, with new unit sales volume down 26 percent nationally in January and 16 percent in February. The ADP Lightspeed study examines data from more than 400 national dealerships.

Consumers planning to spend their tax refunds increase
There has been a slight percent increase in the number of people planning to spend their tax refunds on a major purchase, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2010 Tax Returns Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.
About 44 percent of Americans expecting a refund will pay down debt, which is fewer than the 48 percent in 2009. However, only 65.5 percent of taxpayers are expecting a refund, which is down from 68.4 percent last year.
According to the survey, 12.5 percent of people expecting a refund plan to treat themselves or their families to a major purchase, such as a new television, furniture or car, up from 11 percent last year.
“A little bit of free money will go a long way for Americans this year,” Tracy Mullin, president and CEO of the NRF, said in the press release. “Retailers planning special promotions over the next few months may find that shoppers are a bit more receptive to opening up their wallets than they have been for the past year.”

BMW’s motorcycle deliveries up through February
BMW is reporting a double-digit percentage increase in its worldwide motorcycle deliveries after the first two months of the year.
Worldwide deliveries increased nearly 25 percent in February to 5,485 units. For January and February, the company’s deliveries have totaled 9,299 motorcycles, a 14.4 percent increase over the year-ago period.
BMW said its revised R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure and R 1200 RT have contributed to this growth as well as its newly introduced super sport bike, the S1000 RR.
Specific data for the North American market were not available on the online report.

Honda to increase its capacity in large motorcycle market
Honda’s subsidiary in India says the company will build a second production plant there to meet increasing demand.
The new plant is scheduled to become operational in the latter half of 2011 with annual production capacity of 600,000 units, according to a press release. Honda also said it is expanding capacity of its existing plant from the current 1.25 million units to 1.55 million units by the end of this month, with a further expansion to 1.6 million units scheduled for next year.
India represents the world’s second-largest motorcycle market behind only China, and industry-wide motorcycle sales in India last year reached 8.7 million units, up 19 percent compared to 2008. The new plant, which will cost $97 million, will employ approximately 2,000, the release stated.

Icon announces recent settlements in two court cases
Icon Motosports recently has negotiated court settlements in cases where its intellectual property rights were threatened by competitors, the company said in a press release.
The Parts Unlimited house brand said in the press release that it has settled recently with two companies, EBL Enterprises Inc. and Soaring Helmet Corp. No other details on the settlements were provided.
“This issue is something we have been faced with since our inception,” Icon Design Director Kurt Walter said in a press release. “It has reached a point where we have decided to actively pursue all competitor companies who blatantly copy our product.”
Icon, a protective apparel and helmet provider, began selling products in 2002.
AMA Pro Racing Announce New Vance & Hines XR1200 Series AMA Pro Racing and Vance & Hines announced the launch of the new AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series, a spec-bike five race championship featuring specially modified Harley-Davidson XR1200 motorcycles.
This new series will provide loyal Harley-Davidson owners, dealers and enthusiasts a chance to join the action at selected AMA Pro Road Racing weekends.
As the presenting sponsor, Vance & Hines will also serve as the official race kit supplier for the class. The kit will consist of a Vance & Hines XR1200 exhaust system, a Fuelpak fuel management system, race bodywork including number plate, single seat tail section and belly pan, 17-inch front wheel with matching front fender, steering damper, oil cooler relocator and race decal package.

Safety Foundation names new gm
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has promoted Rob Gladden to general manager, reporting to MSF President Tim Buche. Gladden previously was director of program administration for MSF.
Gladden is responsible for managing the staff as the MSF team works to carry out its mission to best serve the nation’s 25 million riders. Gladden is responsible for MSF’s day-to-day operations, project timelines, budget planning and tracking, and effective resource application. Gladden also will be involved with Buche and the MSF board of trustees on strategic planning and the development and implementation of safety and training initiatives.

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