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Nov. 13, 2006 – Aftermarket Digest

November 13, 2006
Filed under Features

Strike could affect powersports’ tire supply
The United Steelworkers’ strike at Goodyear plants in North America seems likely to affect the powersports industry if it continues.
About 15,000 steelworkers went on strike on Oct. 5 at 16 plants, including the Buffalo plant, the lone Goodyear-Dunlop plant in the United States that makes motorcycle and ATV tires.
“There will certainly be some affect on our supply that we get from Dunlop,” said Greg Blackwell, vice president of sales for LeMans Corp., which owns Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties.
Even before the strike, Blackwell said Dunlop was having supply issues with some of its models, including some of its Harley-Davidson tires.
Dunlop has notified LeMans that it plans to fill orders from its current inventory. The company in media reports also said it is supplying tires from nonunion plants and its international operations. It has more than 100 facilities in 29 countries.
Blackwell said LeMans has notified its sales reps of the strike, of the potential for a supply shortage for the Dunlop brand and “other products that we have in stock that can be used” as replacements.
“If there’s a shortage, people with motorcycles are not going to sit around waiting for their tires,” Blackwell said. “They want to be out riding.”
Dunlop, the market share leader in motorcycle tire sales, makes more than 4 million tires a year at its Buffalo plant.
Puma Enters Cycle Industry
German sneaker and sportswear manufacturer Puma AG has entered the motorcycle industry with a collection of riding boots.
Puma, a competitor of Alpinestars in the motorsports apparel market — both outfit drivers in Formula One and World Rally Championship competition — offers four models of boot: the 1000, a high-quality race-approved sport boot; the Brutale, a sporty touring boot with Gore-Tex protection; the Bonneville High, a high-cut touring boot with Gore-Tex membrane; and the Bonneville Mid, the same boot as the Bonneville High but shorter.
Puma brand sales grew 16.1 percent to Euro 1.356 billion ($1.7 billion) for the first six months of the year. Footwear sales increased 13.9 percent to Euro 770 million ($983 million), apparel improved by 19.2 percent to Euro 469 million ($599 million) and accessories rose by 18.9 percent to Euro 118 million ($150 million).
Puma says the new motorcycle boots will be made available to consumers in the United States through Cycle Gear, www.cyclegear.com.
Puma also recently teamed up with Ducati. The three-year deal includes two separate agreements: Puma will be the footwear official supplier of the Ducati Corse racing teams from 2007 and in a licensing agreement with Ducati Motor Holding, the two companies will create and market co-branded products starting in 2007.
The performance and sports lifestyle collection will be launched in spring 2007 and distributed in selected Ducati and Puma retail stores as well as in wholesale partner stores.
Amazon.com Launches Parts, Accessories Store
Dealers, get ready for more competition from the Internet.
Amazon.com recently opened its Automotive Parts and Accessories Store featuring more than 1 million new, used and remanufactured items from leading parts and accessories manufacturers. Product categories include Motorcycle Parts and Accessories, Interior and Exterior Accessories, Replacement Parts, Car Care, Performance Parts and Tools and Equipment.
Core brands include Actron, Fram, Holley, Hurst, K&N Engineering, Lund, Meguiar’s, Raybestos and Schumacher. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of additional items are listed on the site by more than 250 independent motorcycle, auto and truck retailers.
A key feature of Amazon’s Automotive Store is its innovative Part Finder, allowing owners of approximately 10,000 vehicles to find the parts that fit their vehicles. Simply enter the year, make and model of a vehicle into the Part Finder to find a desired product. The Part Finder also enables third-party data providers and retailers to share part and vehicle information.
Amazon.com also provides free shipping.
“Amazon’s core principles of selection, convenience and low prices will help us meet the needs of this growing segment in the online marketplace,” said Steve Frazier, vice president, Automotive at Amazon.com
Taiwan Industry Show Attracts 140 Firms
About 140 exhibitors took part in the 2006 Taiwan International Motorcycle Industry Show, held Oct. 27-29 at the Taipei World Trade Center.
Exhibitors, including some from the United States, Pakistan, Japan, Vietnam and India, showed motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, mobility scooters and electro-bikes; frames, engines and components; accessories and riding paraphernalia; and testing and inspection equipment. The show organizer, Taiwan External Trade Development Council, also held a series of industry seminars.
Taiwan has become an important production base of scooters and ATVs for many international brands, including Arctic Cat, Can-Am, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki and Yamaha.
Motonation, Spidi Offer Apparel Test Ride
Motonation, the exclusive U.S. importer of Spidi race and touring apparel, recently announced a program in which authorized Spidi retailers will provide test rides in selected Spidi apparel.
Motonation and Spidi selected two dealers — Denver’s Performance Cycle of Colorado and Rockville Harley-Davidson of Gaithersburg, Md., — to test the program through Thanksgiving.
The first product to be offered as part of this program is the Spidi Step In Road waterproof leather/textile jacket. Bill Berroth, president of Motonation, said the program will allow participating dealers to have a size selection of the Step In Road on hand along with a point of purchase display that highlights the features and benefits of the jacket as well as details of the test ride program.
Paul Eddy, Motonation’s national sales manager, said interested dealers should contact him at peddy@motonation.com
Wheel Supplier Launches new Brand
Advanced Metalforming Technologies, Inc. (AMT), a manufacturer of high-end aluminum wheels and a blanks supplier to many of the industry’s leading wheel manufacturers, recently started manufacturing motorcycle wheels under its own in-house brand — Forge-Tec Motorcycle Wheels and Accessories.
AMT, Oxnard, Calif., has two manufacturing facilities totaling about 150,000 square feet. Forge-Tec Motorcycle wheels are currently found on bikes from Swift, Hellbound Steel Motorcycles and American Performance Cycles/APC. On the automotive side of the business, the company works with Lexani/Asanti, MHT Luxury Alloys, American Rim Supply, US Wheel, Roush Racing, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires and Wheels.
Mark Finnie, formerly vice president and general manager at Weld Racing Motorcycle as well as the director of operations for Performance Machine, recently joined AMT.
Look for new sales and marketing programs from Forge-Tec in the near future.
Fake Parts Get Attention
The Federation of Asia Motorcycle Industries (FAMI) says the sale of fake motorcycle spare parts is becoming a serious threat to the industry.
FAMI President Datuk Syed Mohamad Aidid Syed Murtaza said the global trade in counterfeit motorcycle components is nearly a $450 billion business. He said between 5 and 7 percent of all motorcycle spare parts traded on the open market are counterfeit, and said 94 percent of the fake items were manufactured in Asian countries.
Syed Mohamd Aidid, who had just returned from FAMI’s Second Intellectual Property Rights Symposium held in the Philippines in October, said the fake components issue caught the interests of FAMI delegates from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Among the weaknesses identified in curbing the use of fake motorcycle parts were lack of cooperation, expertise, knowledge and laws.
Syed Mohamd Aidid said the association’s members had agreed to fight the crime, beginning with the IPR symposium series and continuing with a traveling program educating manufacturers on IPR issues.
Two Join SuperTrapp
Powersports industry veteran Jeff Wells has joined SuperTrapp Industries, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, to take responsibility for developing SuperTrapp sales and marketing strategies.
Wells’ experience includes positions with White Brothers, Progressive Suspension, Pivot Works/Hot Cams and Spyke.
“Not only does Jeff have extensive industry experience, but he also knows the sales representatives and dealers who represent SuperTrapp exhausts,” SuperTrapp President Kevin Berger said.
Wells and Berger attended Intermot in Cologne to promote the SuperTrapp product line.
A second new hire, Gina Pastuszynski joined SuperTrapp as marketing manager. Pastuszynski will coordinate and implement overall marketing initiatives while promoting SuperTrapp’s brand and products to customers. psb

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