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3/14/2011-Hot News

March 14, 2011
Filed under News

SBA restarts flooring loan program for dealers
A loan program aimed at helping dealers access flooring financing has been relaunched, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Dealer Floor Plan (DFP) Pilot Loan program, which was first available in July 2009, has been reintroduced because of a provision in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. With the Jobs Act, dealers can now borrow 7(a) loans up to $5 million, up from the previous $2 million limit. The new program will run through Sept. 30, 2013.
“As a result of the credit crunch in late 2008 and early 2009, dealerships saw a significant decline in the availability of this type of inventory financing,” SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns said in a press release. “SBA’s original DFP pilot program was launched as a way to expand the availability of floor plan financing and the Jobs Act added further enhancements to that program, including allowing for larger loan sizes.”
The program is open to qualified small businesses, including dealers of new and used motorcycles, automobiles, RVs, manufactured homes and boats. Those qualifying include business with up to $15 million net worth and $5 net income over two years.
Details of the program are available at www.sba.gov/content/dealer-floor-plan-financing-program-0 or by calling 800/U-ASK-SBA or 704/344-6640.
Distributor adds fifth warehouse
Western Power Sports Inc. (WPS) has opened its fifth distribution warehouse, in Ashley, Ind.
The new 100,000 square-foot facility has been opened in addition to its other four warehouses that are located in Boise, Idaho; Memphis, Tenn.; Fresno, Calif.; and Elizabethtown, Pa. The new warehouse will begin shipping product in April.
“The addition of this new warehouse in Indiana will enable us to better serve our dealers by providing next day delivery throughout the Midwest,” WPS President Craig Shoemaker said in a press release. “This falls in line with our company motto: We work hard to bring powersports dealers the best service, product and delivery; and in order for us to continue to do so, we needed a new warehouse in the Midwest region. This was a natural next step for us, and something we are proud to be able to do to help our dealer network.”
Auction company opens facility in Ohio
A new auction facility is opening in Ohio, according to a press release from Salvage Direct.
The facility will be selling motorcycles and powersports vehicles under its CrashedToys.com website, a company official said.
QCSA Holdings Inc., a vehicle remarketing and total loss claims management company, announced the opening of the new facility. Its first sale is scheduled in March.
“This is the first of many QCSA expansions in 2011,” John Lindle, CEO of QCSA Holdings, said in the press release. “We’re working on many more locations to meet growing buyer and seller demand.”
Salvage Direct, a mainstay of QCSA’s salvage vehicle remarketing network, provides salvage management in nearly 100 locations that re-market more than 150,000 vehicles annually.
Tomberlin adds industry veteran
An industry veteran has joined The Tomberlin Group to help the manufacturer develop its dealer base.
Ivan Escalante, who previously worked for manufacturer CF Moto, is now at the Augusta, Ga.-based Tomberlin Group, which offers a range of recreational vehicles, from Schwinn scooters to ATVs to electric vehicles.
“Tomberlin/Schwinn is a great company,” Escalante told Powersports Business. “It’s got a family sort of feel to it. They really take care of their employees, their dealers and their customers.”
Escalante will initially help build the Tomberlin dealer base, which besides scooters and ATVs will be selling the brand’s new Tomberlin Vanish, an electric UTV. Tomberlin is a member of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America.
Victory Motorcycles rides into India
Victory Motorcycles will likely be sold in India next year, according to several published reports.
The company is close to completing its industry analysis of the country and plans to introduce models for sale in 2012, according to India’s Business Standard. A formal launch is expected during the second half of next year. Victory plans to participate in the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi to showcase its bikes, and it looks to import before building an assembly plant there.
Victory will be joining several other motorcycle manufacturers in India, including Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and KTM.
Harley-Davidson reaches Kansas City labor deal
Harley-Davidson recently reached an agreement with union employees at its Kansas City plant.
The move will allow Harley to save about $15 million per year and implement a new production system, according to a press release from the company. The new seven-year labor contract goes into effect Aug. 1 and will be implemented in phases. The compensation and benefits component will take effect in August 2012, when the current contract was set to expire.
The Harley-Davidson Operating System, a new, standardized production system, will be implemented at all of the company’s production facilities beginning Aug. 1. The new system will allow for flexibility of seasonal and volume-related production changes, more product mix, customization and efficiency, according to the company.
“Together with our unions, Harley-Davidson is making the necessary changes across all our production facilities to succeed in a competitive, global marketplace,” Keith Wandell, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson Inc., said in a press release. “The company is well on its way to building a world-class, sustainable, lean operating structure, and I want to thank our employees at Kansas City for their participation in this journey. The ratification of the new contract will help ensure that we can continue to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.”
With the new production system, Harley will have 540 full-time hourly, unionized employees in Kansas City, compared to the 685 that work there currently. It will also have on staff 145 flexible union workers, who will cover shifts during high production times and during other employees’ vacations and other absences. Had employees not reached a new agreement, Harley was looking to move the Kansas City operations its facility in York, Pa., according to the Kansas City Star.
Starting in 2013, Harley-Davidson expects to save $15 million annually in Kansas City with the new contract, though the International Association of Machinists told the Kansas City Star in January that the company was looking for $25 million in savings. With the Kansas City contract, and those in York, Pa., Milwaukee and Tomahawk, Wis., settled, Harley expects to spend a one-time $510 million-$525 million, while saving $305 million to $325 million per year, according to the company.
Harley-Davidson store changes management
Thunderbird Harley-Davidson/Buell is under new management.
A partner in the dealership, Scott Fischer Enterprises, has added Glo Cuiffi as the acting general manager. She is also the COO of the company.
In order to continue the strong alignment of Scott Fischer Enterprises at the store level, John Greene, a partner in Thunderbird Harley-Davidson, has relocated to Florida to partake in strategic planning, marketing, branding and other executive duties at the company’s headquarters.
Cuiffi has taken his place as the acting general manager effective immediately. She will be tasked with general oversight of the dealership, sales goals, customer service and other management responsibilities.
Founded and operated by Scott Fischer in 1982, Scott Fischer Enterprises owns two dealerships in Florida and co-owns/operates Thunderbird Harley-Davidson in New Mexico.
MIC sends over 135,000 messages to Congress
The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has been part of an effort that sent more than 135,000 messages and 3,000 letters to members of Congress urging the amending of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).
The 135,000 messages from riders were sent in e-mails or faxes to members of Congress, while the letters, signed by industry professionals and collected at Dealer Expo, were mailed to chairs of committees involved in discussing the CPSIA. All messages encouraged Congress to amend the act that effectively bans youth ATVs and dirt bikes because of the lead content in certain components. The MIC asks that Congress change the CPSIA to include only products aimed at children 6 years old and younger or to make an exemption for youth dirt bikes and ATVs.
Metric bike exports continue growth pattern
Exports of metric motorcycles into the United States jumped dramatically in January, rising more than 42 percent.
The increase marks the sixth straight month that exports from Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) members rose past the year-ago month in the United States.
In Canada, metric exports were essentially flat compared to the year-ago period.
In the United States, more than 11,900 bikes were exported from JAMA members, up from 6,900 a year earlier.
In December, JAMA’s exports into the United States totaled 7,208 bikes, a 46.5 percent increase over December of 2009.
The percentage increase was in line with November’s rise, which was 53 percent.
Canada also has seen higher export numbers. JAMA members exported more than 900 units there in December, a 59 percent increase over the year-ago period. Exports in Canada had increased for four straight months.
JAMA members include Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. PSB

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