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Sept. 22, 2008 – Motorcycle Digest

September 22, 2008
Filed under Features

Metric Motorcycle Exports to the U.S. Decreased in July

Extending a year-long trend, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers exported fewer new motorcycles to the United States in July than the previous year.
The export of 24,736 bikes was a 20 percent decrease compared to the year-ago period, according to the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
JAMA members, including Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki, also manufactured fewer bikes in July compared to July 2007. JAMA manufacturers made more than 95,000 motorcycles, a 23.3 percent drop from the year-ago period.
Yamaha was the one exception. Yamaha built 31,613 motorcycles, up more than 5 percent compared to July 2007. The other three OEMs all were down substantially. Honda made 33,489 bikes, down nearly 19 percent. Suzuki was down even more, making 19,074 bikes, a 45.2 percent drop. Kawasaki decreased production by 38 percent to 11,745.
Exports by metric manufacturers also fell in July. Overall exports in July numbered 61,792, a drop of nearly 22 percent from the year-ago period.
Yamaha had the slightest decrease in exports. It was down 3.3 percent as it shipped 23,639 bikes in July. Honda’s exports fell by nearly 27 percent to 15,889. Suzuki’s export total of 12,482 was down 19 percent while Kawasaki reported the biggest drop. Its total of 9,782 was down 43.5 percent from the year-ago period.

Honda Expands its MD250H Program

American Honda Motor Co. and Moriwaki Engineering Japan announced the MD250H Powered by Honda race bikes — currently offered for sale to youth riders competing in the United States Grand Prix Racers Union road racing series — will now be open to any eligible buyers.
The MD250H is powered by a 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke Unicam engine from Honda’s CRF250X that has been race tuned by Moriwaki Engineering.
The original release of this motorcycle targeted youth racing in America through the United States Grand Prix Racers Union. A potential candidate must order the motorcycle through an approved Moriwaki/Honda dealership and provide a race resume or equivalent at the time of order.
Contingency will remain exclusive to the United States Grand Prix Racers Union youth racing program, and 2008 year models will continue to qualify for contingency in 2009.
Suggested retail price for the MD250H is $11,699. It is sold exclusively through select Honda dealers. For information about the race series, visit www.usgpru.net.

Piaggio Group USA Names Vice President of Sales

Piaggio Group USA announces the appointment of Gary Pietruszewski to vice president of sales and marketing.
Pietruszewski, who has led the company’s sales and dealer development group since 2003, also assumes U.S. marketing responsibilities for all Piaggio scooter and motorcycle brands, including Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa. His added areas of responsibilities include advertising, brand management, promotional events, affinity partnerships and marketing communications.
Prior to joining Piaggio, Pietruszewski spent more than 15 years in the automotive and transportation industry, creating successful sales, service, marketing and retail development programs for leading global manufacturers like Bentley Motor Cars, BRP and Subaru.
Under Pietruszewski’s leadership at Piaggio Group USA, the company’s U.S. dealer network has expanded to more than 400 retail points and unit sales have increased steadily each year to current all-time sales and market share records.
Pietruszewski is based at the company’s U.S. headquarters in New York.

California Safety Program Establishes New Record

A new record has been set for the number of motorcyclists who trained in one month in California. The record was set in June after 7,840 riders took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s (MSF) Basic RiderCourse throughout the state, the MSF reported.
The previous record was 7,138 riders who took the course in July 2006. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has currently trained 16 percent more riders year-to-date than during the same period in 2007. Last year, more than 62,000 riders did the training in California.
Robert Gladden, MSF’s director of program administration of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, says the training is more popular than ever.
“We’ve added new training sites to meet demand and keep the wait time for classes short, and have been adding new CMSP-recognized MSF RiderCoaches to conduct training for the increasing number of new riders,” he said in the release. “A tip of the helmet goes to the RiderCoaches and training site administrators for meeting this high demand so successfully and to the California Highway Patrol for its leadership in overseeing such a comprehensive program.”

KTM to Offer 1190 RC8 in Limited Quantities

The newly revealed “Ready to Race” KTM 1190 RC8 will be available in limited quantities at select KTM dealers starting the first week of September.
KTM’s new superbike was first unveiled to the North American public at the AMA Superbike race at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 2. It was most recently on display for KTM dealers at the 2009 KTM North America Dealer Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The first 1190 RC8s will be shipping to select KTM dealers throughout North America. There will only be 50 2008 limited-edition KTM 1190 RC8s and each unit will include a commemorative certificate of authenticity.
The KTM 1190 RC8 also will be on display amongst the other KTM street motorcycles’ at the Indianapolis Moto GP event taking place Sept. 12 -14 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The full-line of KTM street motorcycles, including the brand new 1190 RC8, also will be available for demo rides at the Indianapolis event.
For more information on the KTM 1190 RC8, please visit www.ktmusa.com.

Ducati Retail Design Showroom Opened in Southern California

Ducati North America announced the grand opening of its largest Ducati-exclusive showroom in North America at Southern California Ducati. In conjunction with Stripe Design Group designer, Suna Lock, the Ducati brand married the previously dated space with the vision of a “destination dealership” — a place for local enthusiasts to not only eye the new models of motorcycles and apparel, but also a chance to embrace the Italian motorcycle culture and become part of the Ducati family.
“Our dealership isn’t just for selling motorcycles anymore,” said Southern California Ducati owner Tom Hicks. “It’s about forming relationships with our Ducatisti and providing them a premier experience. We hope to use our design story as a benchmark for future destination dealerships.”

Sturgis Site Hosts More Than 300 Custom Motorcycles

More than 350 custom bikes entered bike shows during six days at Thunder Road during the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally.
Official overall traffic numbers for Sturgis were down this year but vendors at Thunder Road saw an increase in sales and traffic. Thunder road features six acres of paved vending space and the nearly 40,000-square-foot Thunder Dome.
Six bike shows were held at the Thunderdome, including Trike Wars: Trike and Sidecar Show, The Horse Backstreet Choppers Bike Show, Metzeler Bike Show, Perewitz Custom Paint Bike Show, Rats Hole Bike Show and Bikernet.com Brouhaha.
The Seminole Hard Rock Roadhouse was at the center of the action with giveaways, contests and great entertainment. The Seminole Hard Rock Roadhouse featured bike builders Gard Hollinger, Russell Mitchell, Billy Lane and Paul Cox, who all had bikes displayed.

Yamaha to Help Establish Cambodian Bike Factory

Yamaha Motor Corp. has announced it will help develop a motorcycle production plant in Cambodia.
A new company, in partnership with other Japanese companies, was created in Phnom Penh Aug. 31 for the plant, with Yamaha officials saying it will begin operations in October.
The company will take over operations at Asia Motors’ factory and its sales network and will acquire a large lot in Phnom Penh’s special economic zone, according to Yamaha officials.
Yamaha says the new factory is expected to reduce costs and time for manufacturing motorcycles. The plant will be responsible for assembling motorcycle parts and components supplied as complete kits of knock-down parts, that have already been assembled for manufacturing in Thailand. psb

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