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Jan. 17, 2011 – Hot News

January 17, 2011
Filed under Features

Metric motorcycle exports continue upward trend

Exports of metric motorcycles into the United States have risen compared to a year ago for the fourth straight month.
More than 11,000 units were shipped to the United States in November, an increase of 53 percent, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), which includes Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. October’s increase was 44 percent over the year-ago month.
Metric exports to Canada also increased over 2009.
In November, more than 1,400 motorcycles were shipped there, an increase of
39 percent over the year-ago month. The increase is part of a three-month upward trend for the country.

Polaris chooses date for plant shutdown

Polaris Industries will begin shutting down its Osceola, Wis., plant beginning March 1, according to published reports.
The company notified the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development of its intentions this week. The company’s planned six-month closure will leave 484 employees without a job, multiple Wisconsin media outlets are reporting. Polaris announced in May that it would close or sell operations in the northwest Wisconsin city. Other plans include enhancing the existing Roseau, Minn., and Spirit Lake, Iowa, production facilities and establishing a facility in Mexico.
In early December, Grafton, Wis.-based metal fabrication and stamping company Kapco Inc. acquired Polaris’ metalworking operations. The deal allowed Kapco to become a Tier 1 supplier to Polaris while seeking other customers. Kapco planned to hire 50 new employees to work at the facility.

Honda motor to sell share of joint venture in India

Honda Motor Co. is selling its shares in one of India’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, Hero Honda, the company reported.
Honda will sell all of the shares it currently holds in a joint venture with Hero Honda Motors, which is 26 percent of Hero Honda’s outstanding shares, the company said.
Hero Honda was established in 1984. It has grown to be an industry leader in India, a press release stated. In 2009 Hero Honda sold approximately 4.3 million units of motorcycles in India, a 23 percent increase compared to 2008.
“In order to assure service to the customers, Honda will grant the necessary license to enable continued production and sales of current products as well as a license for new products,” Fumihiko Ike, Honda’s COO for regional operations in Asia & Oceania, said in the press release.

Answer Racing teams with headphone manufacturer

Answer Racing is collaborating with headphone manufacturer Skullcandy to create a new Answer Racing-Skullcandy line designed after a set of Skullcandy’s headphones.
The gear line, available this spring, will consist of one design in two color schemes to match Skullcandy headphones that will be released at the same time, according to a press release from Answer Racing. The gear will be available to Tucker Rocky dealers, while the headphones can be purchased at www.skullcandy.com.
“Teaming up with Skullcandy shows the progressive thinking of Answer Racing,” Answer Racing Director Dave Casella said in the release. “Answer is constantly advancing its apparel and co-branding product with such a distinctive company like Skullcandy is what we aspire for here.”
The JDR KTM teams were set to showcase the line at Anaheim 1.

Drag Specialties releases 2011 FatBook and OldBook

Drag Specialties has released its 1,300-page 2011 FatBook and its 600-page 2011 OldBook, according to a press release from the company.
The FatBook, a resource for late-model V-twin information, parts and accessories, features Drag Specialties products, along with those from Python, Memphis Shades, Vance & Hines, Klock Werks, Saddlemen, Covington’s, Carl Brouhard and Revolution Performance. It also includes new manufacturers, such as Hell’s Foundry.
The OldBook, which focuses on 1984 and older models, features products from Shovelhead, Panhead, Knucklehead and Ironhead XL, as well as a general section for all-inclusive items.
For more information on the books, visit www.dragspecialties.com or contact a Drag Specialties sales rep.

Helmet maker KBC goes dealer-direct

Helmet manufacturer KBC America Inc. is partnering with another industry company to sell and supply its products directly to dealers, according to a press release from KBC.
KBC is working with D2M, a new company that helps manufacturers sell directly to dealers. Under the arrangement, KBC will have a B2B software system accessible to approved dealers starting in early 2011, so orders and inquiries can be processed in real time.
KBC also will warehouse a full stock of inventory at several distribution centers across the United States for expedited delivery of its products, and KBC sales representatives will be available throughout the continental United States.

Tire company makes internal changes

Pirelli Tire has made some changes in its North American motorcycle division, a company press release stated.
Jeff Johnston, Pirelli’s North American motorcycle division product manager, will now assume the additional responsibilities of North American motorcycle road racing and OE account management. Johnston started with Pirelli in 1994 and is looking forward to these new challenges for next year, the press release said.
Located in Rome, Ga., Pirelli’s Modular Integrated Robotized System employs state-of-the-art technology to manufacture tires for export and domestic markets.

LeoVince named exhaust sponsor of enduro series

LeoVince USA has been named the official exhaust sponsor of the American Motorcyclist Association’s National Enduro Series, according to a press release from the company.
LeoVince will provide race and equipment support, sales and sound/spark arrestor inspection at each of the 10 races, which begin Feb. 27 in South Carolina and conclude Oct. 1 at Covered Bridge in Matthews, Ind.
“We are really happy to be a sponsor and an educational outlet for riders,” Ted Campbell, LeoVince USA’s racing manager, said in the release. “I’ll be attending these events and working alongside the series’ promoters to raise awareness on issues such as sound and land protection, while also offering race support, product sales and sound testing.”
LeoVince’s X3 exhausts earned two titles in the World Enduro Championship in 2010.

California teen motorcycling law goes into effect

A new law heightening the requirements to earn a motorcycle license for teens and young adults in California took effect Jan. 1.
Beginning in 2011, riders under the age of 21 have to attend a 15-hour motorcycle skills and safety course before hitting the streets, according to a report from The Sacramento Bee. Previously, teens 15½ and older could ride a motorcycle after taking only a written exam.
Under the new law, once a teen has passed the $150 course, the rider earns a learner’s permit. With the permit, the cyclist can ride on streets but not freeways, cannot ride at night and cannot carry passengers. After six months, the teen receives a motorcycle license. Those under age 18 with a license are still given restrictions, however, including no riding between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and no passengers until the rider reaches age 20.
The course is administered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and authorized by the California Highway Patrol.

Bike history report site links with sprocketlist.com

A Sparta Commercial Services Inc. subsidiary has formed a strategic alliance with an online classified advertising website focused on the powersports market, the companies announced in a press release.
The website, SprocketList.com, is part of the Raceway Media network of online classifieds websites and will feature integrated links to Cyclechex (www.cycle-chex.com). This will enable SprocketList.com’s visitors to quickly and easily purchase Cyclechex’s exclusive motorcycle history reports as an added feature to their listing or to help in confidently making a purchase.
“This relationship with SprocketList means that exposure to the value of the Cyclechex Motorcycle History Reports will dramatically increase among enthusiasts and retail powersports dealers, given the exceptionally large audience that SprocketList.com attracts,” Anthony Havens, CEO of both Sparta and Cyclechex, said in the press release. “We expect that with access to a network of classifieds sites yielding nearly 1 million unique visitors viewing over 70 million pages per month, this alliance will add significantly to the current volume of sales of Cyclechex reports.”

Aftermarket company nears major milestone

Aftermarket parts manufacturer and distributor Big Bike Parts is nearing a company milestone.
The Rice Lake, Wis.-based company will be celebrating its 30th year of operation in 2011, the company said in a press release.
The company now has a dealer network on six continents. Among its achievements over the past 30 years include:

  • In 1993, UltraGard Bike Covers was established in response to consumer desires for color choices and quality fitments.
  • With Honda’s introduction of the VT1100 Shadow American Classic Edition and Valkyrie in 1997, Big Bike Parts reintroduced itself into the Honda cruiser markets.
  • Also in 1997, the company acquired the Hopnel product line to compliment its fast-growing cruiser and Goldwing accessories. Hopnel is known as a leader in design of on-bike storage pouches and pockets and other accessories. PSB
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