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Apr. 6, 2009 – Motorcycle Digest

April 6, 2009
Filed under Features

New mid-range offerings boost Aprilia’s early sales

A relatively new trio of mid-range motorcycles has helped boost Aprilia’s early season sales for its U.S. motorcycle market, Paolo Timoni, CEO of Piaggio Group Americas, told Powersports Business.
Thanks in part to the additions of the Shiver 750, Mana 850 and Dorsoduro 750, Aprilia’s motorcycle sales for January and February were up 44 percent over the prior-year period, Timoni says.
“Our numbers our still very small,” he said of Aprilia’s retail sales, before adding, “but we have positive momentum. We are very happy not only with our motorscooter business, but also with our motorcycle business.”
All three mid-range Aprilia motorcycles were introduced to the U.S. market last year.
Aprilia USA saw a 66 percent year-over-year increase in bike and scooter sales in 2008, the company reported in a recent statement.
Aprilia’s U.S. motorcycle sales rose more than 19 percent, and scooter sales doubled during the 12-month period.
The company credits the addition of four new motorcycles, three new scooter models and a strengthening of its dealer network for the gains.
“Much of our success can be attributed to a broader product range in dealer showrooms,” Gary Pietruszewski, vice president of sales and marketing for Piaggio Group Americas, said in the statement. “For 2009 we expect to continue sales growth, thanks to new product like the much-anticipated RSV4 superbike and continued expansion of the dealer network.”
Aprilia’s U.S. dealer network grew in 2008 to more than 170 retailers.

New Honda bike features unique fuel injection system

A Honda subsidiary will begin sales in Brazil of a motorcycle with a flexible-fuel technology that is the first of its kind, according to a press release.
The company is planning to sell 200,000 units of the CG150 TITAN MIX starting this month. Honda has not indicated whether that motorcycle will be available in North America in the future.
The motorcycle’s Mix Fuel Injection System enables a “flexible mixture” of bio-ethanol and gasoline fuels, the press release stated. Flexible-fuel technology is well advanced in Brazil as 90 percent of new cars sold there have flexible-fuel technology.

Buell Annual Homecoming Set for June 5-7

Motorcycle enthusiasts are invited to visit Buell Motorcycle Co.’s Wisconsin headquarters for the company’s 2009 homecoming celebration, which will be held June 5-7, at the East Troy factory in conjunction with AMA Pro Racing’s scheduled stop at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Scheduled activities at East Troy on Friday, June 5 include an open house at Buell Motorcycle Co., factory tours, outdoor product display and an autograph session with Erik Buell.
All events at East Troy are open and free for any Buell enthusiast.
For more information about the Buell Homecoming, log onto buell.com.

Group plans to monitor California smog-check bill

The Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) says it is unclear how a proposed biennial California smog-check bill might affect dual sport bikes, but the group plans to monitor progress of the legislation closely.
California Sen. Fran Pavley introduced a bill on Feb. 26 that would require all on-road motorcycles model year 2000 and newer to get a biennial smog check. Still in its early stages, the bill has been assigned to the committee on Transportation and Housing and may be acted upon in the coming weeks.
“ORBA understands the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also believes that it can be done in a manner that does not harm our industry — an industry that has been particularly hard hit by the condition of the economy and the recent federal ban on youth ATV and motorcycle sales,” ORBA said in a release.
California’s emission laws often serve as a model for other states.
ORBA says it will try to work with Pavley as the bill is being crafted.
“We are optimistic,” the group said in its release, “that we can work with Sen. Pavley to fashion a constructive piece of legislation.”

PSB poll: Majority says stimulus will make an impact

Most of the respondents from Powersports Business’ online poll said the motorcycle part of the U.S. stimulus plan would impact their companies.
About 47 percent of voters think it will affect them slightly, and 13 percent think it will significantly.
A considerable portion of respondents doesn’t think the motorcycle part of the plan will impact their companies at all.
Votes on this poll and others can be cast online at PowersportsBusiness.com

BMW’s worldwide motorcycle sales fall in February

BMW’s worldwide motorcycle sales slumped in February, the company reported.
The manufacturer’s worldwide motorcycle sales fell nearly 30 percent compared to the previous year period to 4,401 units. Sales data for North America was not available.
For the year to date, BMW’s sales are off slightly more than 18 percent at 9,955. Sales in January, however, were slightly up over the previous-year period.
BMW also reported a decrease in worldwide auto sales for February. Total sales of 106,368 were off 24.4 percent from the previous-year period.

Yamaha promotes military rider safety in ads

Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. has started running a series of advertisements in an effort to promote proper riding training specifically geared to members of the U.S. military. This effort follows numerous public concerns regarding high incidences of accidents within the U.S. Armed Forces.
“We are very pleased that the growth and popularity of motorcycling in recent years is particularly evident amongst the men and women of our military,” Bob Starr, general manager of Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.’s motorsports communications, said in a release. He continued, “The level of training members of the military are receiving for riding motorcycles is not the same rate of training they would receive with other military equipment.”
The Yamaha motorcycle training campaign geared toward the military starts in March and will continue into early summer.

Indian announces upcoming dealership grand openings

The Indian Motorcycle show truck will roll up at dealership grand openings across the country in the coming months.
Dealership grand opening celebrations are scheduled so far for Phoenix on the weekend of March 27, Paducah, Ky., on the weekend of April 3, Tampa, Fla., on the weekend of April 10, Pittsburgh on the weekend of April 17, Atlanta on the weekend of April 24, Wichita, Kan., on the weekend of May 22, Omaha, Neb., on the weekend of May 29, Dallas on the weekend of June 5, and Detroit on the weekend of June 26.
“It has been an exciting year so far for Indian Motorcycles,” Chris Bernauer, Indian’s general manager, said, noting 2009 Indian Chief Motorcycles have shipped and nine dealerships have opened across the nation.
The Indian Motorcycle show truck and event staff also will be present at Arizona Bike Week in Scottsdale, Ariz., Laughlin River Run in Laughlin, Nev., Laconia Rally in Laconia, N.H., and Sturgis in Sturgis, S.D.

Sabertooth Motorcycles expands its lineup

Sabertooth Motorcycles is developing several new models this year, boasting V8 power and new designs.
“The demand for the WildCat has greatly exceeded our expectations,” Sabertooth President Ben Daniels said in a press release. “Not only have we improved upon the original WildCat design but we listened to our customers and have already introduced four new models catering to the V8 biker enthusiast, and will be rolling out a pro-street line later this year.”
The new 2009 models include the WildCat,?the original from Sabertooth Motorcycles that has a new multiport fuel injection system with distributorless ignition and a dual exhaust with a catalytic converter. PSB

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