Arctic Cat’s longtime leader to retire
For the first time since the 1980s, Arctic Cat will enter a new year with new leadership.
The company announced longtime CEO Christopher Twomey will retire as CEO at the end of December. Twomey, however, will continue to serve on Arctic Cat’s board of directors as chairman.
Replacing Twomey will be Claude Jordan, the company’s president and chief operating officer. Jordan joined Arctic Cat in 2008 after serving in executive roles with The Home Depot and GE.
“During the past two years, Claude played a significant role in the company’s return to profitability, despite a recession that hit the powersports industry hard,” Twomey said in a press release. “His understanding, energy and passion for this business will serve Arctic Cat well.”
Twomey will leave as CEO after leading the company since 1986. In the 24 years since, he has led Arctic Cat through an initial public offering in 1990, increased the number of employees from 99 to more than 1,300, and grew revenues from $7.5 million to more than $450 million in fiscal 2010. Under Twomey’s leadership, Arctic Cat also entered the ATV business, which now accounts for the largest percent of the company’s revenues.
“He built Arctic Cat into a market leader in the powersports industry, and is leaving the company in strong financial shape with an outstanding team,” Kenneth Roering, lead director of Arctic Cat’s board, said of Twomey.
Metric U.S. bike exports rise
Metric manufacturers’ new motorcycle exports to the United States saw a considerable jump in August, ending a year-long trend of declines.
Exports to the United States in August totaled more than 6,700 units, a 42.5 percent increase from the year-ago month, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). The association includes Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki.
Metric exports to the U.S. had declined by almost 40 percent in July and were down significantly in the first half of 2010.
While August metric exports to the U.S. rose, they fell substantially in Canada. Exports there totaled 504 units, a drop of 41.5 percent.
BMW records record month for bike sales
BMW reported a historic month of September for its worldwide motorcycle sales.
The company’s sales increased 4.5 percent from the year-ago month, with more than 8,000 worldwide deliveries to its customers.
For the year, BMW’s sales remain well above its 2009 total. BMW’s 2010 sales through September have totaled more than 81,500 units, a nearly 17 percent increase over the year-ago month.
Honda releases new 249cc sport bike
American Honda Motor Co. has announced the release of an all-new sport bike, the CBR250R, according to a press release from the company.
The 2011 model, which will be available in the spring, has a newly designed 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with a four-valve DOHC cylinder head, engine counterbalancer and fuel injection. The model comes with disc brakes and an option for ABS. The motorcycle will come in Metallic Black and Red/Silver.
The bike has nimble handling, easily accessible power and low operating costs, according to Honda.
Yamaha launches mobile site
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has launched a mobile Web site that gives access to vehicle information, dealer locations and text alerts.
The site, m.yamaha-motor.com, provides customers with photos, MSRP and detailed specs about each of the company’s 2009-2011 vehicles. It also has a dealer locator in which customers search using a zip code or a city and state. Visitors also can sign up for text alerts for the latest information on the OEM’s various vehicles.
ARI updates online shopping software
ARI, a provider of technology-enabled business solutions, has released an update to its PartStream software, the company recently announced.
PartStream 2.0’s new interface is designed to make shopping an online parts catalog easier on an ARI Web site or a third-party site. The improvements will include: notifications when an outdated part has been replaced; parts diagram menus for customers to view price and add parts to their online shopping carts; an interface control that supports up to six languages; a custom administration area for modifying prices and descriptions at any time; and improvements to the search function.
“We believe that PartStream 2.0 will exceed customers’ expectations in their ability to locate parts,” Brad Smith, ARI product manager, said in a press release. “The platform not only makes it easier to identify needed parts, but to quickly order the right parts online.”
Bel-Ray adds Canadian distributor
Bel-Ray Co., Inc., a U.S.-based lubrication manufacturing company, has added Importations Thibault to its Canadian powersports distribution channel, Bel-Ray announced in a press release.
Importations Thibault, a distributor of aftermarket parts and accessories for motorcycle, ATV and snowmobile dealers, is located near Montreal. The distributor expects to begin delivering Bel-Ray lubricants in late November.
AMA opposes EPA’s E15 gasoline waiver
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is concerned about the effects of E15 gasoline on motorcycles and their warranties, the organization said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently granted a waiver to allow gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol – also known as E15 – to be sold for use in 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. The fuel isn’t approved for motorcycles, ATVs or other vehicles with gasoline-powered engines. However, the AMA is worried that motorcyclists will accidentally use the fuel and harm their engines.
“The AMA supports the use of cleaner-burning fuels, but we are concerned that gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol could result in premature engine damage or failure while a motorcycle is being ridden,” said Imre Szauter, AMA government affairs manager, in a press release. “We’re also concerned about any degradation in performance, fuel economy and rideability that may result from the long-term use of blended fuels with greater than 10 percent ethanol.”
Motorcycle manufacturers only certify their vehicles to run on gasoline that has up to 10 percent ethanol, so using E15 could void the vehicle’s warranty, Szauter said. The EPA has proposed pump-labeling requirements to avoid such confusion.
The EPA granted the waiver in an effort to increase the volume of renewable fuels in compliance with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, according to the EPA.
Kawasaki, BMW recall motorcycles
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. and BMW of North America have recently announced motorcycle recalls to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Kawasaki is recalling certain 2009-’10 Vulcans because the engine may stall if the rider is coasting with the clutch pulled in because of an improper setting of the engine control unit (ECU). The company’s concern is engine stalling could lead to a crash.
Kawasaki dealers will replace the existing ECU with one that has revised settings to address the engine stalling issue. The recall is expected to begin on or before Nov. 1.
BMW has recalled certain 2007-2010 F650GS models manufactured November 2006-January 2010. The concern is a washer may interfere with the front disc brake fasteners’ torque, and a fastener or multiple fasteners could become loose over time, causing the brake disc to become loose. A loose brake disc may increase the risk of a crash.
Safety foundation introduces Dr. Jim
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)?is encouraging motorcyclists to be more involved with safety by creating “Dr. Jim’s Question of the Day” on its Web site and Twitter page.
Dr. James Heideman, MSF’s director of licensing, will ask a multiple-choice question about motorcycle safety each day. Riders then pick what they think is the best response, and the site will tell them which is correct. Heideman then directs the user to the MSF’s Operator’s Manual for more details. The questions will be posted on its site, www.msf-usa.org, and on Twitter site, twitter.com/msf__usa. PSB