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April 2, 2007 – Motorcycle Digest

April 2, 2007
Filed under Features

Buell To Build Off-road Bikes Within Two Years
Buell Motorcycle Co. says it has plans to enter a new motorcycle segment — the off-road market.
The company plans to design off-road bikes specifically designed for closed-course competition.
“We’ve told our dealers about our plans to bring an off-road, closed-course competition motorcycle to market within the next two years,” said Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Erik Buell. “This will allow Buell dealers time to make plans to meet the needs of this new market and customer.”
“Harley-Davidson and Buell are highly committed to broadening the range of products we offer and reaching out to new groups of customers,” said Buell President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Flickinger. “We’re always looking at new market opportunities, but this one is particularly exciting.”
The company also started a new program that will open premium race tracks around the United States to riders of all brands and give them the opportunity to test ride the latest Buell models on-track during the event.
The program, called “Inside Pass: The Ultimate Track Day,” will allow licensed riders the chance to experience a premium track day aboard their personal motorcycles and also take on-track demo rides of the latest Buell models.
New Study Finds Baby Boomer Riders At Risk
According to a recently published study, the number of motorcyclists 45 and older killed in crashes nearly quadrupled from 2001 to 2005 (the last year for which data is available) in Michigan.
Crashes among the 45-and-over age group increased more than 60 percent during the study period, compared with a 6 percent drop in the number of crashes for younger motorcycle riders, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
Younger bikers are still nearly three times as likely to be involved in a crash than their older counterparts and are also more likely to be cited for hazardous actions, such as speeding, reckless driving and careless or negligent driving.
Triumph Motorcycles Fills Key Positions
Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd., filled key positions in dealer development, sales and clothing.
Industry veteran Mike Cunningham has joined Triumph to lead the dealer development efforts for the company. With more than 30 years in the industry, Cunningham has a unique background as both a dealer principle and executive level manager on the OEM side of the business.
“My goal for 2007 is to work with the existing dealers to increase sales and profit growth while finding select dealers in open markets to help grow the brand,” Cunningham said in a press release.
Gennaro Della Corte has joined Triumph as a regional manager. Della Corte will be managing Triumph’s Northeastern region, which covers New Jersey, New York and the New England states. He will be responsible for assisting dealers in growing their sales of motorcycles, clothing and accessories.
Matt Weinert, a two-year Triumph veteran, has been promoted to fill the newly created post of clothing manager. This role was previously combined with accessories, but was split off because of the increasing importance of Triumph’s apparel sales.
Ducati Hypermotard Undergoes Final Testing
Ducati Motor Holding SpA says it continued to test its new Hypermotard in March in the days leading up to its production.
The motorcycle, announced in Milan during EICMA 2006, will be in Ducati stores throughout the world this May.
Ducati said in a press release that final tests on the bike confirm that everything is progressing as scheduled.
Vittoriano Guareschi, the official Ducati MotoGP Team test rider, performed the testing.
“These tests have allowed us to define the set-up and make a few final modifications before going into production,”?Guareschi said in a press release. “Everything is on schedule and things really couldn’t be better.”
International Cycle Sales, Registrations On The Rise
Two countries are reporting positive news on motorcycle sales or registrations.
In different reports, manufacturing associations from England and Vietnam show increases in two-wheel sales.
In England, total new motorcycle registrations were up 6 percent in January compared to January 2006. Scooter sales were up even more, at 12 percent. Specific motorcycle segments that were up the most included adventure sport (up 46 percent) and supersport (18 percent). On the other hand, the custom (down 16 percent) and sport touring (20 percent) segments showed declines.
In Vietnam, four motorcycle joint ventures — Honda Vietnam, Yamaha Vietnam, Suzuki Vietnam and SYM — reported a sales increase of 29 percent for January and 28 percent for February compared to the previous year periods, according to an online report at english.vietnamnet.vn. psb

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