Aug. 9, 2010 – Hot News

Ducati North America CEO joins electric vehicle OEM

Michael Lock, the CEO of Ducati North America who oversaw the Italian manufacturer’s rapid growth in the United States in the past decade, is leaving the motorcycle maker to join an electric vehicle manufacturer.
Lock will be the chief marketing officer of THINK, an Oslo, Norway-based electric car manufacturer that is increasing its global footprint both in Europe and North America.
Lock told Powersports Business he will be overseeing the commercial start of THINK’s U.S. operations as one of his new responsibilities. The company has announced it will build a production facility next year in Elkhart County, Indiana. It is also working with a Japanese company to develop operations in Asia. The company already is retailing its car, which can run nearly 100 miles and up to 68 mph on one charge, in Europe.
In Lock’s absence, Ducati Motor Holding Vice President of Sales Cristiano Silei will fill the role of Ducati North America CEO for an interim basis.
“North America is the most important international market for Ducati and the one I personally know the best,” Silei said in a press release. “Our goals are to support our dealer network and keep improving our market share thanks to an ever-expanding product lineup, innovative branding and sound commercial policies.”
Silei praised the work Lock did during his seven-year tenure as the leader of Ducati North America.
“Michael has been the driving force behind the great success Ducati has enjoyed in North America this past seven years,” Silei said.
“He has nurtured the brand, developed the dealer network and put together an outstanding team in the United States, Canada and Mexico alike.”
Lock helped Ducati achieve its highest U.S. market share ever last year and has overseen a rapid rise in sales in Canada, which increased four-fold between 2003-’09. Lock’s leadership led to him being named a past Powersports Business Executive of the Year.
“I am delighted to be joining the pioneering team at THINK at an embryonic phase in this exciting new industry,” Lock said in a press release. “THINK has some of the most sophisticated electric vehicle technology on the market, with potential to become a household name as demand for EVs (electric vehicles) grows in cities all over the world.”
The Norway company said it has raised $87 million since last August as it started a new phase of production with a strategic partner.

U.S. Congressman visits Marshall Distributing

Marshall Distributing hosted U.S. Congressman Dale Killdee (D-Mich.) at its Cass City, Mich., warehouse, according to a press release from Marshall.
Congressman Kildee toured the facility, met the employees and held a brief meeting with Marshall’s management staff to review legislation that affects all members of the powersports industry at the federal level.
The discussion included the lead paint ban and its effect on unit sales/secondary testing/ the rules passed and subsequently proposed; motorcycle safety and licensing issues; motorcycle equipment and snowmobile registrations.

Investigator: Arson cause of Carter Bros. fire

The blaze that destroyed a powersports manufacturer’s Alabama facility has been ruled an arson by investigators.
“The crime of arson has been committed,” Alabama State Fire Marshall Ed Paulk told the Troy Messenger in regard to the fire that consumed the Carter Bros.’ warehouse.
The warehouse caught fire in the early morning hours of July 12. Paulk said in the report that the facility was not fire code compliant because it lacked sprinkler systems.
According to the Troy Messenger report, no suspects have been identified and investigators do not know whether the fire was started by one individual or a number of individuals.
Paulk also told the Troy Messenger that owners of Carter Bros. are cooperating fully with the investigation.
Carter Bros. is a provider of a number of powersports vehicles, including go-karts, ATVs and side-by-sides, and has distributed SYM scooters in the United States.

U.S. Highland executives’ plane crashes, three die

Three executives of motorcycle manufacturer U.S. Highland perished in a fatal plane crash, as stated in a recent company press release released.
The three members of the executive management team included president Mats Malmber, COO Chase Bales and CFO Damian Riddoch. They were returning from a business trip in Detroit when the plane had to make an emergency landing at Tulsa International Airport. The plane did not make it, reportedly because of low fuel, and went down in a wooded area of a city-park northwest of the airport, killing all three.
“This is a human tragedy beyond imagination,” stated U.S. Highland CEO Steven Moell in the release. “Our hearts and prayers go out to their families. No words can describe the loss the families are experiencing.”
Malmberg, 41, is survived by his wife and three children. Bales, 51, is survived by his wife and two children and Riddoch, 37, is survived by his wife and four children.


Due to an editing error, Hal Ethington’s opening paragraph in his Dollars and Sense column in the July 12 issue was incorrectly worded. The opening paragraph should have read, “They were new Honda MT125s, and we couldn’t sell a one. No kick start, so had to run and bump-start it. The two-stroke engine burned a mix, and it had to be north of nine grand before you had any power at all. It was so bad my guys in the shop were sure that the “MT” stood for “Moto-Turkey.” The sales crew was convinced that it wouldn’t sell, and son-of-a-gun, they were right.” Powersports Business apologizes for the error. PSB

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