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HOT NEWS – January 19, 2004

January 19, 2004
Filed under News

MAJOR KART SHOWS SET FOR 2004
Two major kart shows are scheduled in the U.S. during the next couple of months: KartFest, Jan. 23-24 in Hickory, N.C.; and Kart Expo International, Feb. 21-22 in St. Charles, Ill.

Kartfest, presented by World Karting Association, takes place at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. Show hours are 12pm-6pm Jan. 23 and 10am-6pm Jan. 24.
Exhibitors are to include manufacturers and distributors of karts and associated parts, garments and accessories. The traditionally well-attended seminar schedule includes Getting Started in Karting, Cams and Motors, 4-Cycle Tech, Chassis Set-Up, Collecting and Analyzing Race Data for Better Performance, and a Divisional Directors Meeting for members of the WKA.

The WKA also plans to hold its annual awards banquets and breakfasts during KartFest weekend. For more information, call 704/455-1606 or visit www.worldkarting.com.

Kart Expo International, presented by SSC Racing, takes place at the Pheasant Run Resort and Convention Center in St. Charles, Ill. Trade-only show hours are 9am-12pm Feb. 21; public hours are 12pm-6pm Feb. 21 and 10am-4pm Feb. 22.

Fee-based workshops/seminars include the day-long Track Directors Workshop and three-hour 2-Cycle Tech Seminar. Other seminars include Indoor Kart Racing Business: making the right choices; Introduction to Data Acquisition; TAG USA — A New Beginning; Speed Secrets; Collecting and Analyzing Race Data for Better Performance; Be Pit Fit — Driver Fitness Training; and Introduction to the National Interscholastic Motorsports Association.

Kart Expo International also plans to host various awards banquets and other meetings during Kart Expo weekend. For more information, call 630/653-7368 or visit www.e-KMI.com.

MERCURY CLAIMS DUMPING
Mercury Marine, Fond Du Lac, Wisc., a division of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Brunswick Corp., has filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission this week, claiming that Japanese manufacturers of outboard engines have violated U.S. anti-dumping laws.

Japanese manufacturers have been selling their outboard engines in the U.S. at prices “well below” what they sell for in Japan, said Mercury President Patrick C. Mackey.

While it was not singled out in the petition, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. responded to Brunswick’s allegations by issuing a vigorous denial of dumping outboard motors in the U.S. market.

There is no basis for the allegations, said a Yamaha representative in a prepared statement. Yamaha is typically among the highest priced suppliers to the U.S. market and has been successful because of the quality and dependability of its motors, not because of price, Yamaha said.

AMA PLANS SEMINAR
The AMA plans to host a seminar for motorcyclists who want to learn how to influence governmental decisions at the national and local levels.

The seminar, scheduled for March 6-9 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. will allow participants to meet and learn from the AMA’s Washington staff as well as other political experts. Participants will get tips on building relationships with government-agency officials, lobbying elected officials, and preparing to meet face-to-face with members of the congressional delegation.

AMA membership is required. Registration deadline is Feb. 11; a fee of $75 is being charged. For more information, or to register, contact Sharon Titus at 614/856-1900, ext. 1252, or by e-mail at stitus@ama-cycle.org.

HiPER RELOCATES
HiPer Technology, a manufacturer of high-tech plastics and a supplier to the powersports industry, plans to move its lone manufacturing plant from Armada, Mich., to a building about six times larger, a 76,000 sq. ft. former Honeywell plant in Lawrence, Kan.

HiPer uses a special carbon-fiber plastic to manufacture racing wheels for all-terrain vehicles, but has plans to begin selling a wheel for sprint cars, a junior dragster wheel, an all-purpose utility wheel for ATVs and a motorcycle wheel for motocross racers within the next three months.

In addition to the move, HiPer recently signed a contract to produce 20,000 wheels for a Japanese company that supplies components to major ATV manufacturers.

“We have big plans,” Doug Baker, CEO, told the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper. HiPer has approximately $1 million in annual sales, but Baker told the newspaper he’s optimistic the company will reach the $5 million mark in 2004.

The Lawrence location will employ four people transferring from Michigan, open with about 15 employees, and employ an estimated 45 within three years.

HONDA ADDS ANTI-THEFT
Honda is now selling a motorcycle outfitted with a proprietary anti-theft system, dubbed the Honda Ignition Security System (HISS), to consumers in Japan. Available on the CB400SS as of Dec. 25, HISS features an electronic interlock that prevents the engine from being started without using the bike’s two original keys. Electric-start, the four-stroke is sold for $4,370 — $93 more than the model without HISS.

eMACHINESHOP LOGS ON
eMachineShop, a Web-based business headquartered in Midland Park, N.J., says it now offers an online service enabling users to design, price and order custom parts via the Internet. It’s the first service of its kind, says the firm.

Using eMachineShop’s free computer aided design (CAD) software, users can design custom mechanical parts. The software provides immediate analysis, instant price quotes and online ordering, says the company. By simplifying the design, pricing, expert feedback, and ordering process, eMachineShop says it can save substantial time, effort and crucial time to market.

The eMachineShop service offers CNC milling, turning, punching, laser cutting, wire cutting, plastic extrusion, thermoforming, tapping, bending, and will soon offer injection molding.

eMachineShop says parts ordered during the year-long beta test phase included electronic panels, enclosures, signs, scientific devices, and parts for airplanes, trucks, cars, motorcycles, and scooters, among other items.
For more information, visit www.emachineshop.com.

SUZUKI REALIGNMENT
American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) started 2004 by reorganizing the management structure at its headquarters in Brea, Calif. The moves are designed to facilitate its five-year growth plan aimed at tripling Suzuki’s U.S. auto business by 2007.

“This realignment won’t really have any significant impact on the powersports business side of things,” said Mark Reese, ASMC press manager. “For us it mainly changes some of the chain of command, but the motorcycle/ATV and marine side of things will operate as we have been.”

Under the new structure, ASMC is split into three operational units — Automotive, Motorcycle/Marine, and Corporate Operations.

President Rick Suzuki will become president of Corporate Operations, which will work across all operations to support the needs of ASMC’s two product business units, Automotive and Motorcycle/Marine.

Mac Kato, assistant to Rick for two years on the motorcycle/ATV side, becomes president of Motorcycle/Marine Operations.

BIKERS SUE STATE
The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association has filed suit in the state’s highest court, claiming the Commissioner of Insurance’s rate decision for 2004 was unfair and discriminatory. The suit also claims insurers have enjoyed over $100 million in excessive profits from motorcycle premiums the past three years.

The suit asks the Court to order the commissioner to provide optional coverages similar to those available to other motor vehicle consumers and retroactive relief for overcharging motorcyclists excessive premiums.

CORRECTION
In the Dec. 8, 2003, issue of Powersports Business, it was incorrectly reported that the Suzuki TwinPeaks model ATV would be replaced in the Suzuki lineup by the King Quad 700 in 2004.

The King Quad will be added to the lineup as a 700cc single-cylinder-powered machine, while the TwinPeaks will remain in the lineup as a twin-cylinder offering.

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