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HOT NEWS – December 27, 2004

December 27, 2004
Filed under News

Murray to Start Marketing Firm
Maurice Murray, senior vice president of brand development at Global Motorsport Group, plans to leave the company Dec. 31, 2004, to set up his own strategic marketing business, Powersports Business has learned. Murray told Powersports Business that his new firm will be called Zoom Strategic Marketing and that Global will be his first client.
Murray, 41, joined Global two years ago, following marketing stints at S&S Cycle and Bombardier. He also spent time in the racing business prior to joining Bombardier. “I’ve spent my whole life in powersports,” Murray said, “and this always was something I wanted to do.”
Murray said the timing of his departure was tied, to a certain extent, to Global’s recent major refinancing. “It wouldn’t have been appropriate to leave during the refinancing,” he said.
Murray’s job at Global had evolved to the point where it was more administrative and less creative, a situation he didn’t find enjoyable, he said.
Zoom initially will provide strategic marketing for Global and others, especially executives from outside the industry. “I’ll be available to validate a company’s strategic direction and its marketing tactics, especially for non-endemic managers, who don’t know this industry well,” says Murray. He believes there is a growing need for this type of service as powersports becomes increasingly attractive to outside investors.
In addition to strategic marketing consulting, Murray intends to offer creative services, media planning and buying services event/program management.
Zoom will be based in Hollister, Calif. Murray can be reached at 831/637-7801 or by calling Global.

NADA Launches Web Tool
NADAguides.com, Costa Mesa, Calif., launched a new Internet-based building and pricing tool for powersports vehicles.
The tool gives online shoppers the ability to investigate various new vehicles, including detailed specifications and features.
Specifications and a price list are provided instantly when a vehicle is selected. The tool also allows consumers to compare new vehicles side-by-side, with pricing and specification information of each unit displayed simultaneously.
In addition to new unit information, pricing and comparison tools, NADAguides.com also offers an extensive database of used and classic powersports vehicles, as well as valuations for pre-owned ATVs, personal watercraft and snowmobiles.
Consumer Research Solutions, Inc., Westminster, Mass., developed the software for NADA. The company specializes in data collection and software for the powersports industry, and also builds web-based database tools for OEMs, dealers and Internet portals.

Ehlert Acquires Consumer Show Producer
Ehlert Publishing Group, Inc., owner of Powersports Business magazine, has acquired American Recreation Unlimited, Inc. (ARU), a Minnesota-based producer of three of the largest and longest-running family-oriented consumer shows in the Midwest.
ARU, a privately held business owned and operated by Don and Lil Urban since 1965, recently produced the 40th Annual Minneapolis/St. Paul Powersports Show and the 12th Annual St. Paul Ice Fishing/Winter Sports Show. The 38th Annual Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Camping and Vacation Show is scheduled for Feb. 9-13 at the Minneapolis Convention center.
Ehlert is headquartered in Maple Grove, Minn., and has offices in Ventura, Calif.; Carson, Calif.; Scotts Valley, Calif.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The company produces 20 consumer and trade magazines, several business-to-business directories and supplier’s guides, custom publications, Web sites and television shows serving the motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, PWC, boating and camping markets. Ehlert also produces the Big East Snowmobile Show, the largest consumer snowmobile show on the East Coast.
Ehlert plans to continue to produce the three Twin Cities shows, and plans to add several new shows within the next few years. Don Urban will continue to work with Ehlert in an advisory capacity

Senate Bill Closes Loophole
The U.S. Senate has passed a bill prohibiting health insurers from denying benefits to people injured while participating in legal transportation and recreational activities. The bill was authored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
The legislation corrects the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act by closing a loophole that allows insurance companies to refuse to cover injuries suffered by a person while participating in legal activities such as snowmobiling, ATVing, motorcycling, skiing, or jogging.
Implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services, the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act stated that while employers are not able to refuse health care coverage to an employee on the basis of participation in transportation or recreational activities, the employee can be denied health care benefits for an injury that occurred while participating in these legal activities.
The measure, SB 423, now goes to the House for consideration. For more information, visit ama-cycle.org/news/2004/S432.asp, enter your zip code, and a letter will automatically be generated to your congressman.

Japan Cycle Production Down 5.3%
Japan produced 165,860 motorized two-wheelers during October 2004, up 7,063 units or 4.4% compared to the 158,797 units registered for October 2003, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). The organization also reported 2004 two-wheeler production through October 2004 was 1,449,685 units, down 81,159 units or 5.3% compared with 1,530,844 units for the same 10-month period in 2003.
Honda produced 43,545 units during October, Yamaha produced 70,792, Suzuki produced 33,619, Kawasaki produced 17,879, and a collection of others produced just 25 units.
Exports during October were119,031 units, down 3,399 units or 2.8% compared to the 122,430 units exported during October 2003. The total value of motorcycles exported during October 2004 was $557.27 million, including $448.57 million for vehicles and $108.70 million for parts.
Of the 119,031 two-wheelers exported during October, JAMA says Honda exported 29,029 units, Yamaha exported 53,152, Suzuki exported 19,482 and Kawasaki exported 17,368. A total of 49,666 units were shipped to the United States while 4,796 units went to Canada.
JAMA says Honda produced 472,342 units from January through October, Yamaha produced 493,405, Suzuki produced 310,523, Kawasaki produced 173,103, and others produced 312 units.
Exports during the 10-month period accounted for 1,077,710 units, with Honda responsible for 281,829 units; Yamaha, 404,967 units; Suzuki, 233,841 units; and Kawasaki, 157,073 units.
JAMA says 446,271 units were exported to North America from January through October 2004. Of that total, 404,864 units came to the U.S. while 41,407 units went to Canada.

Proton Reveals Cost-Cutting Idea
Tengku Kan Sri Mahaleel Ariff, chief executive of Malaysian automotive group Proton, reportedly intends to ask suppliers of MV Agusta to move parts production to Asia in order to reduce component costs by approximately 30%.
Proton recently took over 57.75% of MV Agusta, which also manufactures under brand names Cagiva and Husqvarna. Tengku’s plan to bring parts production to Asia is just one portion of a cost savings plan he has for the Italian motorcycle manufacturer.
Tengku told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. that the group’s motorcycles would continue to be designed and assembled in Italy. Parts suppliers unwilling to shift production to Asia may be replaced. “No one is indispensable,” the newspaper quoted him.
MBA Insurance Covers Cycle Rental
MBA Insurance, Scottsdale, Ariz., is offering a new, national motorcycle rental insurance program in partnership with American Modern Insurance Group of Cincinnati.
Josephine Johnson, MBA’s marketing director, told Powersports Business that MBA will have state-specific rental contracts and provide rental software to its customers.
Established in 1978 and today covering 1,300 RV Rental companies nationwide,
MBA Insurance is a founding member of the Recreation Vehicle Rental Association Recreation Vehicle Rental Association (RVRA); a member of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA); an associate member of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA); and a contributor to the Go RVing campaign.
MBA President Bert Alanko serves as chairman of RVRA and sits on the board of RVDA, a position that he has held since 1994. Under Alanko’s helm, the RVRA has grown from 25 to 347 dealer members.
For details, call 800/622-2201 or visit www.MBAInsurance.net.

PWC Still Banned at Biscayne Park
Biscayne National Park, located in Miami near Key Biscayne and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, banned personal watercraft use in 2000 by enacting locally a federal National Park Service rule that allowed individual parks to prohibit PWC use without a local, site-specific scientific review. For four years, all other types of recreational and commercial boats — even large commercial shipping vessels — have been allowed on the park’s waters while PWC have been banned.
On Dec. 11, area water sports enthusiasts and business owners filled a town hall meeting convened to address the issue of personal watercraft at Biscayne National Park. The meeting was organized by the BOAT Biscayne Coalition, a group involving local boaters, dealers, the American Watercraft Association, the BlueRibbon Coalition and the Personal Watercraft Industry Association.
An environmental assessment would be the first step in bringing PWC back to Biscayne National Park. A formal rule-making process then follows the assessment.
“My customers and my business are negatively affected by this unfair ban,” said Dave Bamdas of Riva Motorsports. “Before the ban, I estimate that 90% of my customers used to ride in Biscayne National Park.
“Four years of discrimination is four too many,” he continued. “How I am supposed to continue to sell these boats and keep my employees when Biscayne National Park arbitrarily decides to target personal watercraft meanwhile allowing all other boats — even tankers — to come and go as they please?”
Riva Motorsports is one of the largest multi-line PWC dealerships in the world.
Biscayne National Park is in a tri-county area. In 2003 there were 8,479 registered PWC in Miami-Dade County, 7,607 in Broward County and 1,643 in Monroe County. Statewide there were 106,356 registered PWC.

SMART Car Offered by ZAP
ZAP, the publicly-owned Northern California company that has operated for the past decade in the electric car, bike and scooter market, says it has received its first 100-unit block purchase order for the SMART car from a U.S. auto dealer.
The SMART car, a development of Daimler-Chrysler, debuted in Europe in 1998. SMART-Automobiles LLC is an independent, privately-held company that oversees the importation and modification of automobiles to meet U.S. standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the 60-mpg car, clearing the way for the importation of up to 15,000 units by Dec. 31, 2004.
ZAP has an exclusive distribution contract with SMART-Automobile LLC for the rights to sell the cars in the United States with a goal of 150 dealer outlets by second quarter of fiscal year 2005.
ZAP company officials say they are having discussions with “a number of government and corporate fleets as well as automotive wholesale dealers.” They say they won’t announce the name of participating dealers until the cars arrive at the retailer’s location and are ready to be sold.
Founded in 1984 and based in Sebastopol, Calif., ZAP is traded on the over-the-counter market under the symbol ZAPZ. The company offers a variety of advanced technology vehicles, including electric cars, bicycles, scooters, and motorbikes. For more information, visit www.zapworld.com or call 707/525-8658.

United Motors, MRP Sign Agreement
United Motors (UM) and Martin Racing Performance Inc. (MRP), formerly Malaguti USA Inc., have signed an exclusive aftermarket performance parts development agreement.
United Motors of America, Inc. supplies ATVs, dirt bikes, street legal scooters, dual purpose bikes and motorcycles. MRP is a distributor and developer of performance parts; it’s the exclusive U.S. distributor of Turbo Kit, CB, and Wang Yang parts.
MRP has agreed to develop a wide-range of exclusive racing parts and accessories for the United Motors scooter and ATV lineup starting with the new Matrix 150cc scooter. In addition to MRP performance parts development, MRP will offer performance technical support to UM customers. The agreement also allows MRP to provide product training and provide guidance to dealerships looking to establish a small capacity performance center.
“One of the benefits of working with United Motors is that we will develop parts for them before the bikes even come out,” said Joel Martin, president of MRP. “We are investing in the tooling and working with the manufacturers to make parts for future models before they hit the market.”

Pirelli Drops Distributor
Pirelli’s motorcycle tire division said that, effective immediately, California Race Services is no longer a licensed Pirelli race-tire distributor.
West Coast racers should direct all Pirelli race tire requests and inquiries to Josh Bryan at Tigershark Racing, Portland, Ore., at 503/358-5704, until a replacement vendor is named. Pirelli says that could be sometime within the next 60 days.

Kawi Canada Signs with GE Finance
GE Consumer Finance, a provider of financial services to consumers and retailers in 41 countries, has launched a consumer finance program with Canadian Kawasaki Motors.
The exclusive three-year agreement will allow Kawasaki dealers in Canada to offer special credit promotions and long-term financing to consumers through a new program called Kawasaki Motors Retail Finance.
For more information about GE Consumer Finance, visit www.geconsumerfinance.com.

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