May 14, 2007 – Hot News
May 14, 2007
Filed under News
Bush Appoints H-D CEO to Key Advisory Trade Group
President Bush selected Harley-Davidson CEO Jim Ziemer to become a member of a prestigious
advisory trade panel just days after the motorcycle manufacturer gained potential entry into a new world market.
Ziemer was appointed to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, a group of private-sector officials that provide advice to the President and federal trade officials.
“I’m deeply honored to be appointed by President Bush,” said Ziemer, who will serve a two-year term. “I look forward to the opportunities to share our company’s perspectives on international trade matters, particularly as Harley-Davidson looks to grow our international presence.”
H-D did exactly that in early April when it was cleared to enter the motorcycle market in India. Published reports linked H-D’s entry as part of a trade deal with India, where the United Sates will now allow the import of Indian mangoes for the first time in 18 years.
In return, the way has been cleared for H-D to enter India, which is one the world’s largest markets for motorcycles, although the overwhelming number of bikes there have small-displacement engines. The company’s entry had been hampered by stringent emissions standards and tariffs of more than 90 percent. While the Indian government has indicated it will accept Euro 3 emission standards, no agreement has been reached on tariffs.
Such trade matters will be something H-D’s Ziemer will get closer to with his role on the advisory committee. The group consists of CEOs of large and small businesses, public policy makers and leaders of major trade associations. Some of the companies and associations currently represented include Dell Computer Corp., Intel Corp., U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation.
The president appoints up to 45 advisory committee members. The 1974 Trade Act requires that membership represent key economic sectors affected by trade.
AMA and MSF Promote Motorcycle Awareness Month
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, and the American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation have created public awareness efforts to get the word out.
The MSF is using new technologies to reach a wider and younger audience through YouTube and Break.com, with several safety video placements. The organization also created a short film called “Intersection,” targeted at driver education programs. The film examines a car/bike crash from the perspective of all motorists involved.
Through its efforts, the MSF aims to get five messages out to motorcyclists: get trained and licensed; wear protective gear; ride unimpaired; ride within your limits; and be a lifelong learner. For car drivers and other motorists, the MSF says: look out for motorcyclists; don’t be distracted; give two-wheelers some room; use turn signals; and keep trash in the car.
The AMA is rolling out a public service announcement (PSA) as part of its Motorcycle Awareness Month campaign.
The PSA features an impatient and distracted driver who has a near miss with a motorcyclist and then gets an unexpected surprise.
Harley-Davidson Sued for Patent Infringement
A lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Los Angeles against Harley-Davidson for infringement of a patent for providing multi-colored lighting for speedometers and tachometers.
Inventor and patent attorney Frank Weyer filed the suit. Weyer successfully sued Ford two years ago under the same patent for using a multi-colored instrument lighting system in the 2005 Ford Mustang.
The suit seeks damages and an injunction prohibiting Harley from selling any more of its combination speedometer/tachometer with “color-matched lighting,” a $499 option available for some 2007 model year Harleys.
After Weyer filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Ford, the company agreed to take a license under the patent. The specific terms of the Ford license are confidential.
Weyer intends to use the same strategy he used against Ford in his new suit against Harley-Davidson, he said.
Honda’s UK Network Goes It Alone
Honda’s 115-strong network of motorcycle dealerships in the United Kingdom is now solo, rather than shared with other manufacturers.
The network has been completely on its own with Honda since the end of March, said Simon Read, Honda UK’s franchising manager.
“We truly believe this gives the customer a number of benefits,” Read said in a statement. “Firstly, solus dealers have unrivaled expertise and experience with Honda products, meaning that potential customers will be getting more accurate information about our motorcycle range. When it comes to servicing, again with the technicians concentrating on one brand and having to be assessed at the Honda Institute it means that their skills and knowledge on new Hondas really is second to none.”
With 115 single-brand dealerships up and running, it’s expected that another four will open within the next two months, with the total hitting 120 single-line dealers within the next six months.
The company aims to have 133 solo dealers across the U.K. within the next two years.
BRP Develops Russian Market for Ski-Doos
Faced with stagnant North American sales, the rising Canadian dollar and warmer winters, Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. is looking to Russia as a strong new market for its snowmobiles.
BRP is working with a Moscow-based distributor to increase sales of Ski-Doos and all-terrain vehicles in Russia. The company also is promoting developing snowmobile trails in Russia. psb