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Dec. 24, 2007 – Motorcycle Digest

December 24, 2007
Filed under Features

Japanese Exports To U.S. Cutback
Japanese OEMs’ production and exports — especially to North America — were cut back in October compared to the previous year, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
Production fell 3.5 percent compared to the previous year period and represents a decrease in production on the same month of the previous year for the second straight month. Total production this October was 152,461 units, JAMA reported.
However, production varied greatly by manufacturer. Kawasaki actually increased its motorcycle production by more than 30 percent compared to the previous year, building more than 31,000 motorcycles.
Honda, on the other hand, decreased its production by close to 22 percent to 37,014. Suzuki cut back its production of 43,667 bikes by 5.5 percent and Yamaha (40,739) was basically flat to last year.
Exports fell for the first time in three months. The export of 115,401 motorcycles represents a 9.5 percent decrease compared to October 2006.
But the export cutback was much more severe in North America. Exports were decreased by 33.4 percent to 46,172 this October compared to the same month in 2006. The export reduction was even higher in the United States, with a 35 percent decrease to 42,579.
All of the Japanese OEMs’ exports were down, with Suzuki (15 percent) and Yamaha (nearly 11 percent) being the highest. Honda (down 6.4 percent) and Kawasaki (down 2.5 percent) also exported fewer motorcycles in October.
BMW’s Worldwide Cycle Sales Still Up for 2007
Although its November sales fell, BMW recently said its worldwide motorcycle sales continue to outperform 2006.
BMW said its 2007 worldwide bike sales through November are 3.3 percent above 2006. Total motorcycles sold have topped 95,600. The company did not disclose North American numbers in its press release.
In November, the number of BMW bikes sold reached 5,980, nearly a 6 percent decline from the previous year.
For its car sales, BMW is up more than 8 percent, the press release stated.
Kawasaki Boosts Racing Program to $13 Million-plus
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. has added eight new series to its motocross and off-road schedule of events, leading to 682 earning opportunities for racers to take home some of the $13 million-plus the company has made available in contingency payouts, the company said in a Dec. 5 press release.
The contingency is the largest in Kawasaki history.
Joining the comprehensive list of series already included in the Kawasaki Contingency Program are the Baja Brawl, Bluegrass Championship MX Series, Maxxis Endurocross, Memorial Day Challenge, Mississippi MX Championship Series, South Texas MX Dealers Challenge, Texas State Motocross Championship and the West Montana MX Series.
In addition to adding qualifying series, Kawasaki increased payouts for Supercross and National Motocross and select off-road events.
Suzuki, British Firm Produce Hydrogen-Powered Bike
A U.K. company and Suzuki have developed the Crosscage, a hydrogen-powered motorcycle, a British Midland Development Corp. press release stated.
The motorcycle runs nearly silently and emits pure water. Pricing has prevented previous mass-produced hydrogen bikes, but the partnership between Suzuki and Intelligent Energy, a commercial developer of Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell technology, has created a breakthrough.
“This is just one of many examples of innovation coming out of the British Midlands,” Vern Sebby, president and CEO of the British Midlands Development Corp., said in the release. “There are over 3,000 foreign companies operating in the Midlands and many of them are there to partner with our local companies and universities.”
Suzuki To Build Second Motorcycle Plant in China
Suzuki Motor Corp. said in a recent press release it plans to build a second motorcycle factory in China.
The factory is expected to begin operations in spring 2009, according to the Nikkei Business Daily. The factory is expected to produce 500,000 motorcycles in the first year and more than 2 million units a year by 2014.
Suzuki hopes to increase its share of China’s motorcycle market with the second factory.
Pak Mail Becomes Official Shipper Of Sturgis Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally announced that Pak Mail Centers of America has been named the official shipping provider for the 2008 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, according to Ronda Gusinsky, president of OutSource Solutions, the rally’s official sponsorship agent.
Pak Mail will serve as the official packing and shipping resource for rally attendees and vendors. As the rally continues to grow, the need for on-site convenient and professional packing and shipping services has risen.
A new service will now be made available by Pak Mail to 2008 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally visitors. Through the company’s logistics division, motorcycles can be picked up from any destination, including a local motorcycle dealership, transported to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and then back home again. PSB

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