Archive for October, 2009

Ride Green? Why Not? The environmental case for Motorcycles

October 30, 2009

There was a lot of good information that came out of the recent Motorcycle Industry Council SymposiumMIC_left (Inroads to the Future) and believe it or not we plan to get that stuff up over at www.dealernews.com. So, until we carve out a chunk of time to write up some stories on what Paul Leinberger had to say and on the new Revive Your Ride program backed by the MIC Aftermarket Committe, we’ll do some quick and dirty here on the blog.

The MIC/DTM’s Ty van Hooydonk gave a brief presentation on the green angle (the Environment!) of motorcycling. Much has been said about this, especially during last year’s felonious sadistic high gas prices. Maybe too much as there have also been studies showing that motorcycles produce far more pollutants than cars. But Ty’s message was an attempt to move beyond the emissions argument for more of a total approach. Rather than parse what he said and try to re-explain it, Ty was kind enough to pass along his presentation that we’ll present in its entirety. Thanks, Ty.

The MIC is working to refine our green message for motorcycling, with some help from Sierra Research, which is one of the leading research and consulting firms in the field of air pollution control, and with Tom Austin (more…)

Great Advice from the Florida Motorcycle Dealers Assn.

October 26, 2009

We recently received the the Fall 2009 issue of “The Cyclist,” the official newsletter of the Florida Motorcycle Dealers Association.fmdalogo

In his column, association president Joe MacGuire offers some very clearheaded advice to fellow dealers. (MacGuire’s the president of Euro Cycles of Tampa Bay, a BMW, Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Triumph dealership in Odessa.) Although some of the language is directed a dealers in the Sunshine State, the overall message is applicable to any dealer anywhere.

We thought it was too good to pass up, so with MacGuire’s permission here is his Fall 2009 President’s Report in its entirety.

Straight Talk in a Tough Economy

by Joe MacGuire, FMDA president

Greetings, fellow dealers. I was thinking about the current economic times and was reminded of a story my father used to enjoy telling. I grew up out West during a time when there were still large tracts of land without any fences. Sheep ranchers would hire herders, usually Irishmen in those days, to watch the flocks. The sheep were allowed to range freely while they grazed.

One day, a wonderful old herder named Dan was lounging on the grass of a hllside watching his band of sheep below. Dan (more…)

High Fashion Gear for Women Riders? You Betcha

October 23, 2009

In the world of riding gear, there are two notable shortcomings.

1. It’s only recently that women riders have been able to find protective riding gear that isn’t just a small version of something built for a man. Even so, there are a handful of apparel manufacturers doing anything that could be called fashionable. The cut and build might be made for a woman, but the aesthetic is still lagging a bit (in my What Not to Wear-influenced perspective).

2. Riding apparel designed to appeal to scooter riders. (Hurray to Corrazo and Armadillo for helping to fill this niche!)

Apparently Arlene Battishill discovered this too when she started riding a scooter during the 2008 run up

photo from ScooterGirls Inc.
photo from ScooterGirls Inc.

 in gas prices (and subsequent explosion in scooter sales). Like any good entrepreneur, Battishill got to thinking about how to solve this problem. What she’s come up with is ScooterGirls Inc. and its lineup of highly-styled riding apparel for women scooterists and motorcycle riders. (more…)

Vendors That Compete Against Their Own Dealers

October 18, 2009

BrokenChainWhy has the industry allowed so many vendors to compete against their own dealers through online sales? Shouldn’t everyone respect the supply channel? Or do some vendors have legitimate reasons for selling directly?

Two years ago, I was attending an annual meeting of MIC members when a guest speaker told the 200 assembled vendors that they all should be selling online. “The most important way for the aftermarket to sell is the Internet,” the market analyst said. “Companies used to be worried about how it would affect their retail establishments. That way of thinking has gone by the wayside.”

This comment surprised me. When the analyst asked for questions, I asked whether he believed motorcycle dealers in particular no longer cared whether their suppliers sold directly. He gave a quick affirmative and left the stage.

(more…)

Blogs Abuzz About H-D’s Buell Decision

October 15, 2009

Buell_logoHarley-Davidson has carved a lot of pork, and jobs, during the past year, and now the move to end production of the Buell line and sell off its recently-purchased MV Agusta business has people buzzing anew about the way the Motor Co. has chosen to streamline its operation.

Here are some thoughts gleamed from a surf through some of the social networking sites:

Gutted that Harley has pulled the plug on Buell Motorcycles. After all of Erik’s struggles and hard work developing improved product, he deserves better than that. – Kevin

No matter what you think of HD or Buell product, you have to respect Erik Buell’s independent and creative thinking. Sorry to see you go Buell. – Glenn

Victims of Hope and Change? – Robert

I feel for all those who have been laid off … but I keep thinking there is more to come from Buell. – Greg

Buell gone; MV on the block!? Whats next? Price drops on Fatboys and baggers? – Jeffery

Why didn’t they dump their latest European acquisition instead of wiping out more American jobs? As an American manufacturer, it sickens me to see HD become just another company making a profit at any cost. – Chris

A day of mourning for American Sportbikers … regardless of what you ride. Buell, you will be greatly missed! – Brittany

I am truly bummed about Buell going under. I wasn’t a die hard Buell fan but it was nice to see a company like that succeed. – Aaron

It seems that we have let another American Motorcycle Company go by the way side my friends, and what a shame! – Patrick

Learn more about H-D’s decision by clicking HERE.

Harley to Dump Buell, MV Agusta — 9 mos. Earnings Down 71%

October 15, 2009

Harley-Davidson announced its third-quarter results today and BOY do things look ugly.hd

earnings down 71 percent

U.S. retail motorcycle sales down 24.3 percent

To discontinue production of Buell motorcycles.

Remaining inventories of Buell motorcycles, accessories and apparel, while they last, will continue to be sold through authorized dealerships. Warranty coverage will continue as normal for Buell motorcycles and the Company will provide replacement parts and service through dealerships.

Company to immediately begin plans to sell MV Agusta.

More to come later today on www.dealernews.com from Guido Ebert, who is sitting in on third quarter conference call.

H-D Props MV for Now, But What Comes Next?

October 14, 2009

MV Agusta says 85 percent of the parts used in its 2009 910R and 1078RR have been completely redesigned for its 2010 Brutale 990R (MSRP: $15,000) and 1090RR ($18,000).

I guess that’s what happens when a new parent company, in this case Harley-Davidson, injects a bit of capital into its recent acquisition.

Former Ducati CFO Enrico D’Onofrio is now managing director of the MV Agusta factory in Italy, and MV Agusta Design Chief Massimo Tamburini retired Dec. 31, 2008.

I wonder what the folks at MV, and H-D, have planned for the future.

Check out the MV factory’s 2010 Brutale presentation video:

The Good and Bad of MAP Policies

October 9, 2009

Low_Price_Guarantee[1]As PG&A inventories remain bloated, the dangers of heavy discounting mount. Brands take a wallop once their suggested retail prices become a running joke on eBay. To combat this, we’ve long had minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policies.

But dealers have mixed feelings about these policies. Some dealers don’t like them, period. The market should dictate prices, they say. Most dealers like the idea of MAP pricing, but they hate the policies of specific vendors or distributors. Or, perhaps more often, they resent policies that aren’t strictly enforced.

(more…)

CARB — Saving the Golden State (one blender at a time)

October 8, 2009

Over at Dealernews we recently posted a story about the California Air Resources Board’s claim that two San Diego, Calif.-area motorcycle dealers sold off-road motorcycles that were then registered as streetbikes. The result was a $180,000 settlement with the state agency. 

Well, this sparked heated responses from the owner of Motor Forza, Balz Renggli and the owner of GP Motorcycles, Paul Lima, the dealerships targeted by the state. Both say that CARB’s information about the settlement misrepresented the case by saying it had fined the two stores rather than had settled with them. They also say that the agency wrongly accused their stories of wrongdoing. More than anything, the two owners claim, the cases are instances of an arrogant state agency that is accountable to no one and of the bumbling bureaucracy of the Department of Motor Vehicles. 

We try to keep tabs on what CARB is up to given cases like this so we like to prowl through the “Enforcement Actions” section of the regulatory body’s homepage. Just want to make sure our public servants are hard at work protecting the Golden State from all pollutants, foreign and domestic. 

This is when we found the following case from September, and thank goodness we did. God knows how many lives may be saved by these (more…)

Joe Rocket’s Fly-by (photo) Shooting

October 6, 2009

Let’s title this series of pics sent over by  Steve Blakeney, the marketing director over at Sullivans/Joe Rocket, something like “Almost Suffering for the Shot” or maybe “Getting Buzzed (by Mark T. Miller)”.

These are for an ad campaign Blakeney was putting together. The series shows former AMA Formula Xtreme rider Miller bearing down on Blakeney six or eight times so Blakeney could get the same shot with Miller in different gear. I love stuff like this. 

 

Comin' atcha.
Comin’ atcha.

(more…)