Hot Off The Press At Dealernews.com

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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.

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