Archive for January, 2009

CPSC’s Recent Action Doesn’t Help Powersports

January 31, 2009

Dealers Still Face Feb. 10, 2009, Deadline

The Consumer Product Safety Commission Friday pushed back the testing and certification deadline for its lead content rule in kid’s ATVs to Feb. 10, 2010, giving dealers and OEMs an extra year to test and certify to the safety of products. That’s good news.

But this is the bad news: The action provides no real help to our industry because dealers still must obey the Feb. 10, 2009, deadline prohibiting the sale of kid’s products that exceed the lead content limit.

Here’s the situation, as explained to me by the CPSC today:

ALL PRODUCTS SOLD BY DEALERS INTENDED FOR CHILDREN 12 AND YOUNGER MUST COMPLY WITH THE 30 YEAR OLD LEAD PAINT STANDAND AND THE NEW TOTAL LEAD CONTENT LIMITS STARTING ON FEB. 10.

DEALERS ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO TEST, BUT THEY MUST ENSURE THAT THE PRODUCTS THEY SELL TO KIDS ARE SAFE AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.

In a nutshell, if a retailer has a product made for kids that does not meet the (more…)

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Hot Off The Press At Dealernews.com

January 30, 2009

Honda’s worldwide sales of motorcycles and ATVs for the nine-month period ended Dec. 31, 2008, totaled 8.11 million units, up 16.7 percent from 6.95 million units during the same nine-month period in 2007. In North America – including the U.S., Canada and Mexico – the company wholesaled 248,000 units, down from 303,000 units. Motorcycles accounted for 143,000 units, down from 157,000 units; ATVs accounted for 105,000 units, down from 146,000 units.

Polaris CEO Scott Wine says 2009 will be a challenging year, and the OEM expects sales to decline 15 to 23 percent compared to 2008. “Retail sales trends for each of the industries and geographic markets in which Polaris competes are expected to remain soft for much, if not all, of 2009,” Wine says. “As a result, we will be more conservative with our production and shipment expectations for 2009.”

Arctic Cat says the OEM is focused on multiple efforts to rescale its business in the current economic climate. Actions include streamlining production operations from three production lines to two; a planned company-wide shutdown; the elimination of approximately 100 positions, or 7 percent of its 1,400 employees; the elimination of the dealer incentive trip; suspending regular quarterly cash dividends; a salary reduction of 5 percent for all officers; selective compensation and benefit adjustments; reduced vacation accrual; a hiring freeze; and lowering operating expenses by 10 to 15 percent through greater efficiencies in lean manufacturing and global low-cost sourcing.

KTM believes the economic environment for the automotive and motorcycle industry in particular could continue to worsen in the United States and Europe, and the company is responding to the scenario by scaling back production by up to 20 percent from last year and continuing to implement ongoing improvements and cost-cutting measures.

Japan’s four major motorcycle manufacturers produced 1.22 million units in 2008, down 26.8 percent from 1.68 million units produced in 2007. Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha together shipped 372,362 units to the United States in 2008, down 18.2 percent from 455,139 units shipped in 2007.

Visit Dealernews.com to read more about these and other powersports-related topics.

Dealer Expo is Coming — Feedback Please

January 29, 2009

The 2009 Dealernews International Dealer Expo in Indianapolis is just around the corner and we here at DN are gearing up for what is a whizz-bang, muscle-burning, feet-torturing, head-spinning four days of schmoozing,dealer-expo interviewing, info-gathering, eating, drinking, sometimes-sleeping, always-working, coffee-and-Red-Bull-guzzling fun. Dealer Expo takes place Feb. 13-16.

While we’re going to be reporting live for the www.dealernews.com Web site and for our Show Dailies, we’ll also be blogging the newsy and not-s0-newsy bits and pieces throughout the weekend.

If you’re one of our four regular readers of the DealernewsBlog, I’d be interested in knowing if you’ll be checking in on a regular basis to get the latest and greatest about Dealer Expo.

I’d love to get your comments on this via the comments section of this blog posting or by emailing me at dennis.johnson @ dealernews.com. I appreciate any and all feedback (even the smart alecky stuff) that you leave.

‘Clean’ Cycles Prepping for Isle of Man TTXGP

January 28, 2009

History will be made on June 12 when the Isle of Man hosts the TTXGP – a time trial competition open only to two-wheelers powered by clean emissions technologies.
ttxgp_logo1
Concocted by British entrepreneur Azhar Hussain, the TTXGP (Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix) is scheduled to be held on the legendary Isle of Man Mountain Course, a 37.733-mile circuit with over 200 corners, following the traditional Isle of Man TT.

Hussain says the event offers an opportunity for leading global innovators in racing and clean emission technologies to compete and prove to the world that being green does not mean being slow. The planned TTXGP will showcase a diverse range of vehicles capable of reaching race speeds. Racing teams are likely to be backed by international corporations, universities and high tech institutions, all eager to prove their credentials in clean emission transportation.

“TTXGP is about competitive innovation – pushing the frontier and making the next leap,” Hussain says.

Not only an event for well-funded corporations, the TTXGP also will offer an “Open” class race for innovative cottage teams who are interested in experimenting with alternative energy sources. These teams will be required to (more…)

Court Nixes Lawsuit Opposed to ATVs in MN Forest

January 28, 2009

Common sense prevailed in Minnesota this week when a court decision rejected the Sierra Club’s challenge to the 2004 Revised Superior National Forest Plan.

The lawsuit included challenges to the analysis of potential impacts to the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, as well as the accuracy of the road and trail inventory used by the Forest Service. The decision, penned by U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz, ruled in favor of the Forest Service and concluded that the agency had not acted arbitrarily or capriciously in adopting the broad prescriptions of the Revised Forest Plan.

The All Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), along with the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), both recreation advocacy groups, intervened in the case on the side of the Forest Service.

The Superior Forest released a formal Travel Management Plan in December 2008, which designates areas, roads and trails for vehicle travel. Under agency regulations, that decision is subject to administrative appeal by those participating in the decision making process, including the Sierra Club, ATVAM, BRC and many others.

“We are certainly pleased by this outcome,” said Phill Morud of ATVAM. “Recreation is an increasingly dominant use of our National Forests and we feel this suit was an effort to delay and divert agency energy from active recreation management.”

“Thousands of visitors have a stake in effective management of the Superior, and with the dismissal of this suit hopefully we can all focus our attention on management of specific roads, trails, and areas of the Forest,” said Brian Hawthorne, BRC Public Lands Policy Director.

Want to help preserve our natural resources FOR the public instead of FROM the public? Click here to find out how you can assist.

Lambo ATV on Display in Tokyo

January 28, 2009

Check out this queer Lambo-look ATV on display at the Tokyo Auto Salon. The fellas over at Carzi say it’s produced by tuning house LB Performance and being shown to help advertise the company’s forthcoming aftermarket parts for the VW-owned Italian supercar manufacturer. I find the puke green color an appropriate choice.

LB Performance plans to begin selling this monstrosity in April for $20,000. Interested? Email the company at info@lbperformance.jp
carzi_lamboatv

Suzuki Recalling 26,000 GSX-R1000

January 27, 2009

Stunters beware – American Suzuki is recalling 26,082 model year 2005-2006 GSX-R1000 motorcycles because of an issue with the motorcycle’s frame.

Suzuki says cracking or breakage of the frame can occur in certain extreme situations where unusually high stress is placed on the frame. The OEM says repeated hard landings from hazardous maneuvers such as extreme or extended wheelies or other stunts may generate sufficient stress to cause this problem.

Suzuki says dealers will inspect the frame for cracks. If no cracks are found, a frame reinforcement brace will be attached to the frame using bolts and epoxy adhesive. Should cracks be found during inspection, the frame will be replaced with a new frame that has the reinforcement brace installed.

The recall campaign began on Jan. 21. Click here for more recent powersports recalls.

2006suzukigsxr1000

Polaris Gives Sled Riders The Rush

January 27, 2009

Polaris Industries Inc. today launched its 2010 600 Rush snowmobile, what the OEM describes as the first snowmobile with a truly progressive-rate rear suspension. The 600 Rush’s bottomless suspension is designed to absorb bumps by transferring the load to the super-rigid PRO-RIDE chassis outfitted with a Walker Evans front track shock and a Walker Evans Comp adjustable rear track shock.

“The new Polaris 600 RUSH truly marks a turning point for the snowmobile industry,” says Scott Swenson, vice president, Snowmobile Division of Polaris Industries Inc. “The progressive-rate rear suspension has been proven in Motocross; Polaris has now become the first company to bring it to snowmobiles. This innovative suspension combined with the new super-rigid PRO-RIDE chassis provides riders with an unprecedented level of rider-active control including improvements in acceleration and cornering.”

“Polaris has really nailed it with this sled,” said Levi LaVallee, a Polaris riding professional Sno-Cross racer and X-Games Gold Medalist. “The Rush puts you in the ideal riding position to transfer my weight for launch, and to set the front end for cornering.

The limited production 2010 Polaris 600 RUSH will be offered as part of the 2010 Polaris Snow Check program beginning in March 2009. Click here for more information and to experience a virtual test ride.

polarisrush

Specifications
Engine: 600cc liquid-cooled Liberty
Dimensions
Dry Weight: 459 lbs.
Overall Length: 108 in.
Overall Width: 48 in.
Overall Height: 46 in.
Ski Center Distance: 42.5 in.
Fuel Capacity: 11 gal.
Suspension
Front: IQ adjustable w/ Walker Evans piggyback front shocks
Front Travel: 9 in.
Rear: Pro-Ride w/ Walker Evans front track shock & Walker Evans Comp. adjustable rear track shock
Rear Travel: 14 in.
Track (W x L x H in.): 15x121x1.25 RipSaw 2-ply
Features
- PERC Reverse
- Multi-Function Display Gauge
- Black Color with Rush Graphics

ABA, NRF Expect Economic Rebound Late in 2009

January 27, 2009

The economy fell at the sharpest rate in nearly three decades in the fourth quarter of last year, and the Economic Advisory Committee (EAC) of the American Bankers Association says it believes the economic downturn will continue through the first half of 2009 before rebounding in the second half. It’s a perspective the National Retail Federation (NRF) apparently shares.

Bruce Kasman, EAC chair and chief economist for JP Morgan Chase, New York, says the committee believes the first half of ’09 will be marked by consumers continuing to retrench, saving more, spending less, and further weakening demand for goods and services.

The NRF, in its 2009 economic forecast released today, says it sees more challenges ahead as consumers continue to shift their spending priorities.

Read a full report here.

Long gone Sportster

January 26, 2009

that rarely ran and often just sat there. This is one of the only surviving pics of my old AMF Sportster that I mentioned in the early post about the Iron 883. I had the top end rebuilt, did the carb and rewired it but I could never iron out all the wrinkles. Ended up trading it for a 1979 Camaro (that ran on seven cylinders) and $500.

Loved that tank badge, but apparently hated MTV at one time.

Loved that tank badge, but apparently hated MTV at one time.