February 7, 2011-A stronger finish to 2010 at retail

For the fifth straight year, annual new unit sales as reported by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) have declined.
The latest drop, however, is a mixture of positive and troubling news.
The latter isn’t difficult to identify as motorcycle, scooter and ATV sales declined more than 17 percent in 2010 compared to a year ago, according to the MIC data. The data reflects two- and four-wheel sales of the industry’s largest manufacturers.
However, it does not count perhaps one of the largest vehicle segments in the industry: side-by-sides. Powersports Business, through industry sources, has identified side-by-sides, or UTVs, as likely the third largest industry vehicle category in terms of new unit sales behind on-road motorcycles and ATVs.
UTV retail sales for 2010 appeared to have finished the year in the black.
“While we don’t have clear monthly industry data on side-by-sides, we believe the side-by-side industry grew around 10 percent for both the fourth quarter and the full year 2010,” Polaris Industries President and Chief Operating Officer Bennett Morgan said in the company’s recent earnings conference call.
Another positive for the four-wheel market: The percentage decline in ATV sales narrowed considerably in December to high single-digits, according to the MIC data.
For the year, however, ATV sales dropped 20 percent to 256,000 units.
The industry’s largest market, on-road motorcycles, also saw a relatively strong December. Monthly sales were off nearly 2 percent. For the year, on-road motorcycles finished down 14 percent to 306,000 units.
Another positive: Two on-road sectors showed retail sale increases in December. Both dual sport motorcycles and scooters saw percentage increases. Scooters finished up more than 20 percent in December and dual sport bike sales rose 7 percent.
Scooters were the category least affected by the overall retail sales decrease in 2010, declining 9 percent to 28,000 units.
The final count of new units sold in 2010, as reported by the MIC, represents the most significant part of the mixed news report. The rate of percentage decline in 2010 compared to the previous year was much healthier, at 17 percent compared to nearly 37 percent in 2009. However, the total number of units retailed in 2010 — 696,000 units — represents a notable decrease from the total seen just two years ago. The difference between the number of new units retailed in 2010 compared to 2006: more than 600,000 units.
Motorcycle Industry Council Elects 2011 Board of Directors
The final results of the 2011 Motorcycle Industry Council Board of Directors election are in. Three Directors, representing aftermarket/allied trades members, were chosen to serve the two-year term which expires in 2013.
Newly elected director Steve Johnson, president and COO of Tucker Rocky Distributing, will join re-elected directors Frank Esposito, president of Kendon Industries Inc.; and Don Emde, owner and president of Don Emde Inc., on the 12-director board, six of whom are elected and six who are appointed by OEMs.
“As we continue our focus on reviving the powersports industry in 2011, we look forward to the vital perspectives offered by both our new and returning Directors,” said Tim Buche, president and CEO of Motorcycle Industry Council. “We are excited to gain Steve’s valuable insights from his many years at Tucker Rocky Distributing, a leader in aftermarket distribution and longtime member of the MIC.”
The remaining three elected directors will serve one more year of their two-year term that expires in February 2012: Eric Anderson, vice president of sales and marketing of Motorsport Aftermarket Group; Mark Blackwell, vice president of motorcycles in Polaris Industries, Inc. and MIC Chairman Larry Little, CEO of The Little Group.
The above join the six directors appointed by the motorcycle manufacturer/distributor members who pay market share dues: Ray Blank, senior vice president of motorcycle division, American Honda Motor Co.; Steve Bortolamedi, senior communications manager of American Suzuki Motor Corp.; Jon-Erik Burleson, president of KTM North America Inc.; Pieter De Waal, vice president of BMW Motorrad USA; Roger Hagie, director of public affairs for Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA and Dennis McNeal, vice president of motorcycle operations of Yamaha Motor Corp., USA.
“On behalf of the MIC board and members, we would also like to thank outgoing director Paolo Timoni, president and CEO of Piaggio Group Americas Inc., and outgoing director Sarah Schilke, marketing and technical communications manager of Schuberth North America, for their four years of service,” said Buche. “As the first female director to serve on the board, Sarah brought a fresh perspective to our decision-making process, while Paolo’s enthusiasm to introduce new riders to our sport was shared and appreciated by all. I am confident that our newly elected directors will continue to build upon their significant contributions.”
MIC’s members with voting status submitted ballots by mail or the electronic voting site. Election results were independently tabulated by Hall & Jones, CPA.
Scorpion & Peak Honda Racing Team Up Again For 2011
Roadracing frontrunners Peak Racing Honda celebrated a banner season in 2010 with no less than seven WERA Class Championships, four WERA National wins and one AMA Amateur Championship.
In fact, the team of Oliver Gooden and Nick Lefurgey finished on the podium 93.2 percent of the time.
The Peak riders credit their Scorpion helmets for keeping their heads in the game all season long and are renewing their affiliation for 2011. “Peak Honda Racing is proud to announce we have once again partnered with Scorpion,” Gooden said in a press release. “We sported Scorpion EXO-700 helmets on the way to 7 Class Championships, and for 2011 we will not only be wearing the new EXO-750 helmets, but the Scorpion Hurricane race suit as well.”
“I’m very proud that Scorpion has chosen to work with us again in 2011 and up their level of commitment to our program,” Lefurgey said. “It means a lot to have a world-class company like Scorpion on our side.”
Scorpion Sports Inc. is the home of the Scorpion brand supplying helmets and technical apparel directly to motorcycle dealerships. SSI imports a full line of unique dirt, snow and street helmets from their state-of-the-art production facilities.
Former Biker’s Choice Vice President Partners With New Firm
Walter Clark, former vice president of Biker’s Choice, has joined D2M.
D2M, which stands for “Direct 2 Manufacturer,” is a new company that is aimed at helping manufacturers sell directly to dealers.
Clark will head up the dealer-direct operation’s V-twin division as well as assisting with the day-to-day management of the company. During his tenure at Biker’s Choice, Tucker Rocky Distributing’s V-twin division, Clark grew the division to become an important part of the distributor’s overall business, according to the press release.
“Walter is well liked and respected in both the V-twin and metric sides of the industry and we couldn’t be more happy to have him part of our team,”?D2M co-founder Tim Pritchard said in a press release. “When you look back at your work experiences, there are always a few people you have had a lot of success and fun with and you wish you could work with again. Walter is one of those guys and we are fortunate to be able to work with him again.”
Martin Racing Entering Electric Scooter Business
Martin Racing, an American powersports third party logistics and parts manufacturer, will be entering the electric motorized driven cycle market.
“We are at our early stages, but we feel we will be a player in the growing EV parts business as it begins to grow in North America,” Jeff Mello, an EV consultant for Martin Racing, said in a press release.
The company is reaching out to potential partners and investors to work in co-operation with the company.
Martin Racing president Joel Martin said they are working with several Taiwanese suppliers of electric components. “One of our brands in Taiwan has significant resources and will be helping us work with all the new EV makers, which long term will be the leaders in putting these on U.S. roads, so we want to be the go to guys for those replacement parts,” he said.
According to Martin Racing, several Taiwanese OEMs have started making electric bikes or hybrid vehicles for the European markets, including SYM, Motive Power Industry Co. Ltd. (PGO brand), Eton, Apax of Japen and many of these have expressed interest in the U.S. market.
Dunlop Opens West Coast Center To Service Racers
Dunlop has opened a second distribution center to service off-road racers in the western half of the United States.
The new Corona, Calif. Center opened Monday, according to a press release from the company. It has been added as the second distribution center, with the Grove City, Pa., center continuing operations. Both will support Dunlop’s amateur racing efforts through the Team Dunlop/HookIt support program. With the addition of a second center, Dunlop expects to reduce shipping costs and speed shipments. PSB

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