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Feb. 11, 2008 – Hot News

February 11, 2008
Filed under News

Yamaha Files Suit to Clarify State OEM-dealer Law

Yamaha Motor Corp. USA has filed a lawsuit in Montana Federal District Court seeking a legal opinion on a relatively new state law that defines the relationship between OEM and dealer.
The Montana state law was passed in 2007 and states that dealers won’t be required to take more than a 90-day supply of inventory. It also disallowed OEM incentives that provided lower new unit prices or other benefits that came as a result of larger vehicle orders, according to officials at Team Bozeman Motorsports, a Bozeman, Mont., dealership.
That dealer and another Montana dealership, Tingley’s LLC, were named in the Yamaha lawsuit that was filed Jan. 15. The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages but seeks to clarify the new law “so that Yamaha can offer sales programs in accordance with the new law,” Richard Tilley, legal counsel for Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, said in a press release. “We do not want Yamaha and its Montana dealers to be at a disadvantage compared to other brands as, notably, only some of our major competitors in Montana have modified their respective wholesale programs.”
Cliff Gullett, owner of Team Bozeman, said the dealers will welcome the federal court’s ruling.
“Montana motorsports dealers have always worked to maintain an equal partnership with our manufacturers and the Montana law provides a clear blueprint for that partnership,” Gullett said in a press release. “It is unfortunate that the manufacturers forced the dealer body to ensure equity by the enactment of this law.”
The federal court’s interpretation of the law could have an impact outside of Montana as more than 20 dealer state associations have contacted Team Bozeman to discuss the new law, according to Team Bozeman officials.

AMA Consolidates Communications Function

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has taken measures designed to consolidate and strengthen its communications operations and enhance the association’s ability to deliver its message to members, the motorcycling community and the public, the AMA said in a press release Jan. 14.
Grant Parsons, managing editor for American Motorcyclist magazine, has assumed responsibility for the association’s communications department.
As part of the organization’s restructuring, the AMA is closing its Pro Racing office in Brea, Calif., Jan. 31. The association is consolidating its pro racing communication efforts into AMA headquarters in Ohio. Kerry Graeber, who handled racing communications from the Brea office, will be leaving the AMA.
The AMA’s government relations office in Washington, D.C., will continue to spearhead the association’s mission to protect motorcyclists’ rights.

National Dealer Council Schedules Annual Meeting

The National Council of Motorcycle Dealer Associations will hold its annual meeting on April 9-10 in Dallas.
Association Executive Director Ed Lemco said the meeting is open to management and board members of all state dealer associations.
This year’s agenda is not yet finalized. An opening reception on Wednesday, April 9, will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel at the Dallas Fort Worth airport at 7 p.m. The business meeting will share the activities of other associations and will attempt to identify issues and concerns and remedial actions for associations.
The general business session will be followed by an association executive board meeting. For more information contact Karen Rassmusen, executive secretary, at 340/719-8591 or e-mail kjrmcc@hotmail.com

Piaggio Chairman Satisfied With ’07, Confirms Plans

Piaggio SpA Chairman Roberto Colaninno expressed his satisfaction with the company’s 2007 results due to higher sales and EBITDA over the previous year as well as a decrease in debt, according to Thomas Financial.
In the first nine months of 2007, Piaggio sales rose 6.5 percent to euro 1.37 billion ($1.9 billion). The EBITDA was up 9.2 percent to euro 200.4 million ($289 million).
Colaninno confirmed Piaggio’s programs and projects for 2008-2010, which included international expansion but omitted financial details.
Piaggio’s goal is to raise its EBITDA margin to about 14 percent in 2009, up from 12.7 percent in 2006.

BMW Rider Training Now Available in United States

Official BMW Motorrad rider training is now available in the United States at the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina, near BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC, the company said on its U.S. Web site, bmwmotorcycles.com, recently.
The BMW Performance Center is offering one-day and two-day riding instruction for on- and off-road riders. Those without a BMW motorcycle can rent one at the Performance Center.
An on-road class only or off-road class only is one day. Riders can take both courses back-to-back for a two-day session.

Assurant Buys Consulting Firm in Auto Industry

Assurant Solutions, a global provider and administrator of specialty insurance products, has acquired Rolim Consult, an automotive distribution consultant in Brazil.
Assurant Solutions said the acquisition represented a significant step forward in its recent launch of a vehicle service contract business in Brazil. Privately held Rolim Consult has more than eight years experience in the Brazilian automotive market as a provider of consulting, marketing support and training services to auto dealers, trade associations and others involved in automotive distribution.

JAMA Production, Exports Fall for 2007

After up and down numbers throughout the year, the end result for motorcycle production and exports at Japanese Automobile Manufacturer Association-member companies was a single-digit loss compared to 2007, according to a JAMA report Jan. 30.
Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha all report to the association.
Motorcycle production for calendar year 2007 stood at 1,676,097 units, down 5.4 percent compared with the previous year. It is the second consecutive year JAMA members have collectively posted a production decrease.
Kawasaki was the only Japanese manufacturer to increase production for the year. The company created 278,591 units in 2007, up 12.1 percent from the previous year. Suzuki and Yamaha posted slight production decreases. Suzuki was down 4.3 percent to 500,696 units for the year. Yamaha decreased production 4.9 percent to 430,319 units. Honda’s production dropped 14.7 percent compared to 2006, to 466,147.
Exports for 2007 ended at 1,232,796 units, down 7.6 percent compared to the previous year. The export decrease was the first after four years of upturns.
JAMA manufacturers reported export declines for the year. Yamaha’s was the narrowest, with a 7.7 percent drop to 362,707 units. Kawasaki posted a 9.1 percent drop to 262,124 units. Exports at Suzuki fell to 329,979 units (9.3 percent). Honda showed the steepest decline, dropping exports 20.3 percent to 277,986 units.
Though North America retains the largest share of bikes exported, that share dropped from nearly 50 percent of all JAMA exports to 40.4 percent. Every other market (Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Central and South America, Africa and Oceania) realized export share increases.
For December 2007, JAMA members produced 125,253 units, down 18.4 percent from 2006. It was the fourth consecutive production decrease on the same month of the previous year for the organization. Exports saw a sharper decrease, decreasing 27.6 percent from December 2006 to 97,797 units. The drop marked an export decrease compared to the same month of the previous year for the third consecutive month.

Correction

According to Harley-Davidson officials, the company is not obligated to pay businessman Roberto Lenz for sales of Sportster motorcycles sold in Mexico. H-D says it is also not prohibited from selling Sportster motorcycles in Mexico, and there will be no impact on future sales of such bikes there. Powersports Business ran a brief about a trademark lawsuit against H-D in the Jan. 21 issue. psb

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