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June 4, 2007 – Motorcycle Digest

June 4, 2007
Filed under Features

Victory Launches Online Vision Pre-Order Program
Due to strong demand from consumers interested in reserving Victory’s new Vision motorcycle, the company recently launched an online program that allows consumers to pre-order a bike from their home computer.
Mark Blackwell, vice president of Victory, says since the bike’s initial launch in New York, the company has received about 250,000 visits to its Web site, with 16,500 expressing interest in the Vision. Of those, 3,500 have requested to reserve a Vision, so Victory decided to create its online program.
“Basically, consumers can go there and pick their model (street or tour), they pick their color and then they get their initial pricing specs,” he said. “While on the site, customers will get to choose from a list of dealers in their area, and then the dealer they’d like to work with. From there they go down to the dealer, who will pick up the information, confirm the customer’s request and then take a deposit.”
Although Victory already has a custom order program for the rest of its line of motorcycles, Blackwell says this program is unique because it gives consumers a chance to pre-order a bike that’s in hot demand.
“This new online program gives customers a chance to get in line, so to speak, to make sure they’re one of the first people to get a bike,” he said. “And because we don’t launch until the fall, it also gives us a way to keep a dialogue with the customer and alert them to any updates on the bike, and when we come to their area they’ll be the first to have a chance to demo it.”
Potential Fuel Leak Forces KTM Recall
KTM North America Inc. issued a voluntary recall for about 20,000 motorcycles May 23 in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) because of a fuel leak.
The off-road bikes pose a hazard because the seal around the fuel tank can loosen, allowing fuel to leak, which poses a fire hazard to consumers.
The company had received 5,114 reports of leaking fuel tanks by press time. The CPSC had received one report of a minor chemical burn because of fuel coming into contact with a consumer’s skin.
Models involved in the recall are the 2005-2007 250SX-F; the 2006-2007 200XC, 200XCW, 250XCW, 250SX-F, 250XCF-W, 300XC, 300SCW, 450SC; 2006 400 EXC-G, 450EXC-G, 525EXC-G; and 2007 125SX, 144SX, 250XC, 250XC-F, 250SX, 400XCW, 450XC, 450XCW, 450SX-F, 505SF-X and 525XCW.
KTM dealers sold the Austria-made motorcycles across the United States from Nov. 2004 through April 2007 for between $5,400 and $7,800.
Consumers with the recalled vehicles were sent direct notices from KTM.
Piaggio To Launch More Than 50 New Models This Year
Piaggio SpA will launch about 55 new models this year, including 25 completely new products for the group’s various brands, said Roberto Colaninno, group chairman at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
At the meeting, Colaninno hailed the recently launched three-wheeled MP3 scooter “a big success.” He also announced Piaggio’s Gilera brand will launch an 800cc scooter in September that will reach a speed of nearly 125 miles per hour.
In Europe, where the market is flat, Piaggio intends to take market share from competitors, while in growth markets, such as India, sales will expand, Colaninno says.
In the United States, sales are on target to reach $135 million this year, against $108 million in 2006, he said.
Triumph Announces Special-Edition Motorcycle
Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. has created a special-edition motorcycle that will be delivered to dealers in June.
The special edition Speed Triple 1050 features the race-styled Arrow 3 into 1 Exhaust System, five carbon fiber accessories, black seat cowl and belly pan and anodized axle covers. The special edition bike will sell for $11,999, which Triumph says is a savings of almost $1,000 when compared to the price of the separate components.
Triumph only will be selling 50 of these special-edition bikes.
Kawasaki Increases Women’s MX Sponsorship
Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. has stepped up its Women’s Motocross Association Inc. sponsorship and will be a presenting sponsor for the 2007 WMA Championship.
The six-race AMA/WMA Women’s National Motocross Championship got under way recently at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif.
Kawasaki also will sponsor the WMA Cup, which takes place in November at the Cycle Ranch MX Park in Floresville, Texas.
Kawasaki will have a presence at all seven races and special Kawasaki events will include Team Green dealer appearances and special activities within the WMA pits.
United Motors Announces Its Summer Finance Programs
United Motors has announced a new spring/summer financing program.
The finance promotion runs until July 31 and is open, at no cost, to dealers who are currently enrolled in the UM Finance Program.
Highlights of the program include 7.9 percent annual percentage rate for the first 12 months, reduced from the initial 12.9 percent rate. The program applies to all new United Motors products from model year 2007 and earlier and has initial payments as low as $19/month for the first 12 months.
“The program is designed to help everyone,” said Henry Lonski, UM’s vice president of sales for North America. “Dealers benefit from it, and it’s a great way for new customers to be able to take that step into the world of powersports without breaking the bank.”
Headquartered in Miami, UM has more than 600 full-line UM Dealerships and 17 distributors throughout the world, including three North American distribution centers.
H-D Opens Its First Dealership in Morocco
Harley-Davidson’s newest franchise is in a new country for the Motor Company.
Casablanca Harley-Davidson is in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the first authorized H-D dealership in the country. It also will sell Keeway and Maxxstar motorcycles, choppers, scooters and quads.
Casablanca Harley-Davidson will have H-D motorcycles, a large service center, complete parts warehouse, accessories and motor clothes. The 6,000-square-feet showroom and 4,000-square-feet service facility also will feature Harley-Davidson-trained mechanics.
The dealership’s opening, planned for May 26, will also include launching the country’s first HOG chapter.
Bill Conner of San Diego is the dealer principal for Casablanca Harley-Davidson. Chad Conner is vice president and Sekkat-Tadili of Casablanca has been named general manager.
Xtreme Offers Financing for the Independent Dealer
Xtreme Motor Co. has partnered with Dealer Service Corp (DSC) to offer a new choice in dealer financing.
“Both large-scale and small-level dealerships continue to make up a significant part of our dealer base, and we are excited to offer options for everyone” says Layne Smith, VP of Motorsports. “We urge dealers to consider this new financing option.”
Applying for DSC services is simple, just complete an application and submit the required materials. A decision is usually available within just a few days. For more about this service, you can visit DSC direct at www.DiscoverDSC.com or contact an Xtreme representative.
For more information on Xtreme Motor Co., call 888/844-9440 or visit www.XtremeMotorCo.com.
eBay Motors Promotes Two Senior Execs
eBay Motors announced the promotion of two senior leaders. Senior Director Rob Chesney has been promoted to vice president of eBay Motors, Marketplaces, and Senior Manager Curtis Kroeker to director of Vehicles.
As vice president of eBay Motors, Chesney is responsible for the strategic direction, technical execution and overall success of the entire eBay Motors marketplace, which includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, and automotive parts and accessories. Previously, Chesney served as senior director of eBay Motors and was responsible for overseeing the vehicles and parts categories of eBay Motors.
With the appointment of Chesney to vice president, Curtis Kroeker was promoted to director of Vehicles. In this role, Kroeker oversees all vehicle categories on eBay Motors, including cars, trucks, motorcycles and classic cars. His responsibilities include day-to-day operations and management of vehicle categories and the management of dealer relationships. Previously, Kroeker served as senior manager for motorcycles, powersports and other vehicles.
“Rob and Curtis have both played an invaluable role in making eBay Motors the
No. 1 automotive site online, and their expertise continues to be crucial to the success of the marketplace,” said Michael Linton, senior vice president, Marketplaces Adjacencies for eBay.
Linton, who joined eBay in December, is a recent addition to the growing eBay Motors management team. Linton previously served as CMO at Best Buy for several years.
Japan’s Yamaha Corp. To Cut Stake in Yamaha Motor
Maker of musical instruments Yamaha Corp. will cut its stake in Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd to 14.9 percent from 22.7 percent to reduce the influence of the powersport manufacturer’s earnings on its own earnings, the two companies said.
They said Yamaha Corp. would remain the largest shareholder in Yamaha Motor, but Yamaha Motor would no longer be an equity-method affiliate — a status it has at present because Yamaha Corp has a stake of at least 20 percent and includes Yamaha Motor’s net earnings in its own non-operating earnings.
Among the buyers of the Yamaha Motor shares that Yamaha Corp plans to unload is trading house Mitsui & Co. Ltd, which will purchase a stake of 3 percent for a yet-to-be agreed price and rank as the motorcycle maker’s seventh largest shareholder. This is intended to reinforce the ties between Mitsui & Co. and Yamaha Motor in the distribution abroad of Yamaha Motor motorcycles and to facilitate collaboration in other areas business.
The rest of shares Yamaha Corp plans to sell will go to unidentified institutional investors through block trades brokered by securities firms.
KTM NA Managing Director to Head NASMOTO
North American SuperMoto has named co-founder and board member John Zolikoff president and CEO.
Zolikoff comes to NASMOTO from KTM North America, where he served as managing director of business development, managed KTM’s parts, accessories and apparel, and was responsible for aspects of KTM’s SuperMoto efforts in North America. Preceding his move to KTM, Zolikoff was an international sales and marketing manager for Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
Zolikoff’s first priority after taking charge at NASMOTO was to assemble a new operational team with expertise in event management, education, communication, racing and commercial development. The team has moved to expand its race schedule and new partnerships and ventures, which the company will announce soon.
Another move Zolikoff has made to ensure NASMOTO stays in tune with the needs of the industry was to institute a SuperMoto advisory board.
FAMI Discusses Intellectual Property Rights
The Federation of Asian Motorcycle Industries held its third intellectual property rights symposium last month in Thailand.
The gathering was filled with keynote addresses, lectures and expert panel discussions. About 100 government, industry, university and press representatives took part in the discourse.
The third IPR symposium focused on the need to establish an intellectual property-friendly environment capable of ensuring the ongoing development and cultivation of the motorcycle sector.
Attendees also discussed the critical demand for mounting responses to counterfeit products. psb

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