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Nov. 13, 2006 – ATV Report

November 13, 2006
Filed under Features

Kawasaki recalls Bayou 250
Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA, Irvine, Calif., has recalled 291 units of its 2007 model year Bayou 250 ATV for potential steering control problems.
Kawasaki says the nuts securing the tie-rod ends to the steering shaft may not have been tightened sufficiently during assembly of the units. If the nuts loosen during operation, the operator could lose steering control, posing a risk of crashing.
No incidents or injuries have been reported.
Manufactured in the United States, the units in question were sold nationwide from September through October for about $3,000.
Kawasaki asks consumers to stop using the ATV and to contact a Kawasaki dealer to schedule a free repair. The correction will consist of tightening the tie-rod end mounting nuts to the proper torque.
Taiwan ATV Industry Powers Up
Taiwan’s ATV industry has grown quickly in the past decade. In 1997, one manufacturer from the island nation produced quads. Today, about 30 companies call ATV production their primary business.
According to the Taiwan Transportation Vehicle Manufacturers Association (TTVMA), such growth suggests Taiwan is poised to boost its share of the global ATV market to more than 30 percent, putting it just behind the United States and Japan.
But the rapid development of Taiwan’s ATV market has not been without problems. The TTVMA said there are three particular issues: 1) with the exception of a few bigger players that have the R&D muscle to turn out new and innovative models, many of the new producers turn out nearly identical products using many of the same basic components as their larger competitors; 2) since many brands have found acceptance overseas, most producers now are forced to compete on price, putting intense downward pressure on profit margins; and 3) lower-end items turned out by China and other developing nations further cut into opportunities.
Polaris shifts production
Polaris Industries is reshuffling its ATV, UTV and Victory motorcycle production at two of its manufacturing facilities in Roseau, Minn., and Spirit Lake, Iowa.
As it currently stands, the 725,000-square-foot Roseau plant produces ATVs, snowmobiles and a portion of the Ranger utility vehicles.
Spirit Lake, a 283,000-square-foot facility in northern Iowa, produces the remaining Rangers, sport ATVs and Victory motorcycles.
After the transition, Roseau will manufacture all of Polaris’ ATVs and snowmobiles. All of the Ranger production will then be shifted to Spirit Lake. Victory motorcycles also will continue to be produced at the Spirit Lake facility.
“We were able to realize some operational efficiencies by being able to focus our resources at each plant on just Rangers or just ATVs, rather than being spread out focusing both plants on both products,” said Mark Karl, director of operations in Roseau.
The transition began earlier this year and will be completed before 2007. Karl added that both facilities still will be able to produce Rangers and ATVs, should the need arise.
“We’re doing this because we can be more cost effective and efficient in doing so,” he said
NOHVCC working to save OHV access
The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) is hosting a series of regional workshops to ensure that OHV riding access is preserved under the new Forest Service OHV Route Designation Rule.
The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) are providing the resources to develop and conduct a series of workshops for U.S. Forest Service personnel and OHV enthusiasts.
NOHVCC Executive Director Russ Ehnes said, “I can’t stress enough how important it will be for riders to be involved in the process.”
The workshops will be conducted by NOHVCC and held at selected locations throughout the country. psb

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