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Dec. 27, 2010 – Hot News

December 27, 2010
Filed under Features

Survey: Improved U.S. dealer sales continues into November

While the increases continue to be modest, the trend of improved same store sales at U.S. dealerships continued into November.
Dealership sales in November were 4.5 percent better than the year-ago month, according to an ADP Lightspeed survey conducted for Powersports Business. The survey includes more than 700 dealerships from across the United States and includes both V-twin and metric stores.
November marks the third straight month that dealership same store sales have improved. In each of those months, the improvement has been modest, in the single digits. But the performance in the past three months has been much better than this summer when average store sales were off anywhere from high single digits to double-digit percentages.
The rate of improvement has varied by region. That was again the case in November, when four of the five regions saw sales growth over a year ago.
Only the West was down in November.
The survey includes both used and new major unit sales, and it’s believed the used sales are allowing dealers to see growth over the 2009 months.
For a complete view of the November results, see pg. 7.

Yamaha motor manufacturing executive Iio retires

Tony Iio, president of Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Co. and former Yamaha racing executive, retired this week.
Iio, or as former world champion Kenny Roberts called him, “Mr. 100 Percent,” was instrumental in the early racing careers of many riders. He also helped to bring Scott Russell to Florida for his 1997 and 1998 wins at the Daytona 200 for Yamaha. Iio also spent many years during the late ’80s at Ohlins suspension company in Sweden working directly with Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey on suspension components for their YZR500s.

Western Power Sports adds to its sales force

National distributor Western Power Sports (WPS) has added six new employees to its sales force.
Claire Maguire is the new Fly Street Gear brand manager. She has nearly 20 years of industry experience and previously served as the Fieldsheer brand manager at Ansai Corp.
Nathan Pfeiffer, the Southwest regional sales manager, has been in the powersports industry for
24 years, most recently at Scala Rider in charge of West Coast sales.
Eric Peters, a former KTM dealer support and field service representative, will work in outside sales in Wisconsin, and David McCord, a former employee of Bell Industries and Robinsons Inc., will work in outside sales in Wisconsin and Michigan. Also hired in outside sales were Scott Foster, whose territory includes Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, and D.J. Jordan, a representative for Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

New limited-edition side-by-side offered

KYMCO USA has introduced a Limited Edition UXV 500 SE with exclusive factory-installed features.
The new side-by-side debuts in blue and includes a hard top and a half windshield. The UXV 500 SE also comes with aluminum alloy wheels and factory-installed dual beverage holders.
With this new level of the UXV line, riders still receive the standard KYMCO side-by-side features, including what the company calls “its class-leading suspension.”
KYMCO has been building UTVs since 2008. Like all KYMCO vehicles, the new UTV comes with a one-year limited factory warranty.

ADP Lightspeed adds phone integration to services

ADP Lightspeed, a provider of dealer management systems (DMS), announced integration with a phone service that is aimed at improving customer service.
ADP Lightspeed can now work with ADP Network Phone, which uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) or Internet Phone technology to offer phone service that interacts with the company’s DMS.
“LightspeedNXT’s ADP Network Phone interface represents the biggest innovation in customer service and data for the powersports industry ever,”
Greg Smith, vice president of ADP Lightspeed, said in a press release. “It completely changes the way the dealership serves their customers.”
When customers call in for updates on special orders, service repair or sales inquiries, they can be transferred throughout the dealership to locate the person that they last spoke with. This process can be frustrating for customers as they are forced to wait on hold or explain their needs multiple times to get to the right person.
LightspeedNXT’s interface with ADP Network Phone pulls all open and past parts, service and sales activities related to the customer automatically. The information is displayed before the call is even answered.

New company seeks to aid direct-to-dealer manufacturers

Former Tucker Rocky Distributing officials have started a company that is aimed at helping manufacturers sell directly to dealers.
The company, D2M — which stands for “Direct 2 Manufacturer” — is not a distributor, a company press release states. They don’t buy and resell products as is common in two-step distribution.
“D2M has manufacturer’s reps visiting dealers nationwide to make it very easy to do business with each other,” company co-founder Tim Pritchard said in a press release. “Several manufacturers currently or have tried to sell their products directly to dealers in the past.
“While some have certainly had success, the challenges with costs, service levels and scalability have made most attempts either unsuccessful or less successful than what the distributors currently provide.”
Josh Whitaker, a partner and head of marketing for D2M, said, “We studied some of the best ideas concerning traditional and modern day distribution, blended our industry-specific needs, and connected it with the latest technologies to create a unique program to take the powersports industry into the future.”
In the press release, the company says it has partnered with several quality brands within the industry, leading up to an official launch at Dealer Expo in Indy.

Tennessee Harley store adds new partner

Rocket Harley-Davidson/Buell has added a new general manager/partner in Ken Vitulli. A veteran of the auto and powersports industries, Vitulli joins Rocket Harley-Davidson with 25 years of experience.
Having owned and operated several powersports dealerships in the Tennessee Valley market, Vitulli’s experience is vast. He has represented Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Polaris, Victory and Featherlite brands ranking in the top 5 percent for customer satisfaction.
“We are genuinely happy to announce the addition of Ken to our team,” said Glo Cuiffi, interim general manager and COO of Scott Fischer Enterprises, which owns Rocket Harley-Davidson. “His experience suits the position well and his customer service-driven leadership will serve the dealership and our customers well.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” said Vitulli. “Our goal is to make Rocket Harley-Davidson the premier destination for riders and the general public throughout the Tennessee Valley.”
Rocket Harley-Davidson/Buell is located in Mooresville, Tenn.

Kawasaki puts hold on 2011 Ninja ZX-10R

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. has temporarily stopped selling its 2011 Ninja ZX-10R sport bike in what the company is calling a “technical hold.”
The company is asking for unsold units to be returned to Kawasaki warehouses. The units will be redistributed once “Kawasaki is 100 percent confident they reflect company standards for this highly technical, race-bred machine,” stated a press release.
Kawasaki also said those who have already taken delivery of the new sport bike will be instructed to return the unit to the dealership for a full refund “and will be among the first to have the option of receiving a new unit once the technical hold has been lifted.”
The Kawasaki press release did not state the reason for the technical hold.

Motorcycle application now on iTunes

CycleTrader.com recently released its new iPad application in iTunes. Users will be able to view 150,000 new and used motorcycles for sale across the United States.
The GPS-sensitive application lets users search for motorcycles by city, state, zip code and radius. Enhanced search functions give motorcyclists a way to drill down further by price, year and type. A scrollbar at the top lets users select from dozens of top brands like Harley-Davidson, Honda and Kawasaki motorcycles.
CycleTrader.com’s iPad application lets users:

  • View photos using the iPad’s Multi-TouchTM display for more detail;
  • Estimate monthly payments using a built-in financing calculator;
  • Contact the seller directly from the application when they are ready to obtain more information or see the motorcycle in-person;
  • Share a favorite motorcycle with their social network.

    Wisconsin company buys polaris osceola factory

    Kapco Inc., a Grafton, Wis.-based metal fabrication and stamping company, has acquired Polaris Industries’ metalworking operations in Osceola, Wis., according to published reports.
    The deal comes after Polaris’ announcement in May to close or sell operations in the northwest Wisconsin city while enhancing the existing Roseau, Minn., and Spirit Lake, Iowa, production facilities and establishing a new facility in Mexico.
    Kapco will lease the Osceola plant and become a Tier 1 supplier to Polaris, while Polaris allows Kapco to seek other customers in Minnesota, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Kapco will buy Polaris’ metalworking equipment at the plant, and it plans to hire at least 50 new employees. Polaris reported to the Journal Sentinel in May that it had 515 employees at the plant.
    Kapco is a family run business that supplies metal components to Harley-Davidson, Oshkosh Corp. and other companies. PSB

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