Archive for the ‘Consumer Product Safety Commission’ Category

Business Seminar Helps Chinese Manufacturers

February 21, 2011

Panelists’ Message: U.S. Consumers Want Quality and Value

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 21, 2011)— Chinese manufacturers Sunday received several tips on how to successfully sell powersports vehicles and equipment in the United States. The seminar here was put on by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and Advanstar Communications for Chinese exhibitors before a packed house at this year’s Dealer Expo.

Attendees heard from government and industry experts about what it takes to successfully sell powersports equipment in the U.S. market. Presenters included representatives of Sargent’s Motorsports Groups, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Dealernews magazine. The program, entitled, How To Successfully Sell Powersports Vehicles in the United States, was moderated by Paul Vitrano, executive vice president of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA).

The key messages delivered by panelists were:

  • QUALITY PAYS. Attendees were told that American consumers value quality over cost and that they are willing to pay more for a better product.
  • OBEY THE RULES. Panelists, especially representatives of the CPSC, emphasized the importance of following U.S. government rules and regulations. “Government agencies balance their responsibilities of helping businesses with protecting consumers,” Vitrano said, “and they lean toward protecting consumers.” Penalties for breaking the rules are stiff and expensive, attendees were told.

Joe Delmont, contributing editor for Dealernews, told the audience that it’s important to build a brand, not simply try to export products to the U.S. under many different names to be sold by many different distributors. “That’s a prescription for failure,” he said.

Delmont, who provided a checklist of things to consider in looking at the U.S. market, told the audience that to gain 5% market share in a specific segment for a new China brand might take three years and cost as much as $300 million.

CPSC representatives Tanya Topka and Justin Jirgl described in detail the process of working with the agency that has been set up under the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). A key regulation developed by the CPSC under the law calls for action plans to be approved by the agency before a company’s ATVs may be sold in the U.S.

Gary Sargent, Sr., and Gary Sargent, Jr., have been selling and servicing powersports equipment in their Portland, OR. dealership for more than seven years. They emphasized the importance of building quality machines and backing them with quality parts.

Gary Jr., who runs the dealership’s service operation, told attendees that he prefers to use more expensive, quality parts on a repair job and be confident that it won’t fail.

“I want satisfied customers,” he said, “not unhappy customers who come back because a part failed.”   JD

Will CPSC Database Cause Problems for Business?

December 17, 2010

Database of Consumer Complaints May Have Insufficient Safeguards

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is a federal agency charged with protecting the safety of consumers. However, as we’ve learned over the past year, it often does so with a misdirected dedication and zeal that causes unintended harm to small businesses. Case in point: The so-called “lead laws” that prevent the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes to kids age 12 and under.

Now, there’s another big project that could create more unintended problems for small businesses in the powersports industry— both retailers and manufacturers. It’s called the Consumer Product Safety Information Database, and it’s slated to go live in March, only about three months away.

While the majority of CPSC commissioners said the impact of the database on small businesses would be minimal, others disagree. Here’s CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord, who voted against the final rule: “The majority makes the bald and unsupported assertion that this rule will have no impact on small business,…. This conclusion ignores examples we have in the agency of companies harmed by unfounded complaints made against products later determined not to be unsafe.”

The CPSC is nearly set to roll with this project— it recently voted 3-2 to publish the final rule in the Federal Register on Dec. 9, 2010; the rule becomes effective Jan. 10, 2011.

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MIC Exec To Address Congressional Committee

April 29, 2010

Legislative Solution To Lead Ban Is Sought

Paul Vitrano, an MIC executive and the face of the motorcycle industry in battling Washington’s misguided ban of lead in toys,  plans to tell a congressional committee this morning why the ban doesn’t work and how it can be fixed.

Paul Vitrano

Vitrano, general counsel of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), is scheduled to address the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection at 10 am ET. He’ll be talking about the need to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that became law in August 2008.

You can listen to a live audio webcast of the hearing by visiting the House Energy and Commerce Committee website: http://energycommerce.house.gov.

The CPSIA is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and has virtually eliminated the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes designed for children under age 12. This enforcement has resulted in the unforeseen consequences of children riding adult-sized ATVs—a potentially fatal situation— as well as the needless loss of millions of dollars in business for the struggling U.S. powesports industry.

Vitrano plans to testify that the CPSC has acknowledged the ban could result in children 12 years of age and younger riding larger and faster adult-size vehicles, a known safety risk. The  CPSC’s own studies show almost 90% of youth injuries and fatalities occur on adult-size ATVs, according to the MIC.

“The real risk to children comes from banning youth models, not from the lead in certain components,” says Vitrano.

Proposed legislation that could permanently stop the ban will be discussed at the hearing. “The only permanent solution is a legislative solution,” says Vitrano.

Vitrano says he plans to “urge the committee to provide as much clarity as possible in developing a legislative solution so that the CPSC is left with no doubt about Congress’ intent to ensure the continued availability of youth model motorized recreational vehicles.” JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at
952/893-6876 or joe@dealernews.com.

Proposed Rules Could Severely Restrict UTV Use

March 4, 2010

We have until March 15 to comment on these
CPSC rules that could virtually ban UTVs.

Have you commented yet? If not, you should.

Here are the details.

The CPSC’s proposed mandatory standards spell out how off-road vehicles must be designed, manufactured and used by riders. Meanwhile, at the same time that the CPSC is pushing its rules, the industry has been developing its own voluntary standards.

Paul Vitrano

If you think government mandated standards will benefit our industry, then you don’t have to do anything. If, however, you think perhaps the industry can produce more effective standards, now is the time to step up and make your thoughts known.

A unit of the MIC, the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA), has created new tools for riders and dealers to easily submit comments. You can do it at http://www.rohva.org/anpr.

The sample letters urge CPSC to work with ROHVA to implement voluntary standards and to promote the safety rules for ROVs, also called SXS or UTV units. The page also contains explanations of ROHVA’s position on ROV standards and links to important documents.

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MIC Promotes Use of Off-Road Vehicles in China

March 2, 2010

Participates In Italian-Chinese Trade Show Talks

When representatives of the Italian motorcycle industry announced last November that they intended to launch a major motorcycle show in  China, this year, it caught the attention of Tim Buche, head of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the U.S. association of motorcycle, ATV and scooter manufacturers.

“I suggested that there was good value in the MIC facilitating a dialogue on the evolving market for ATVs and similar products in China while I was at the EICMA show last November,” Buche told me last evening. Constantino Ruggiero, managing director of EICMA, agreed. And so the Americans began playing a significant role in putting together this year’s show in China.

EICMA is the huge annual motorcycle show held in Milano, Italy. EICMA is owned and operated by the Italian trade association of motorcycle and bicycle manufacturers and producers of aftermarket parts and accessories (ANCMA). It was founded in 1920 and has more than 170 members. For more information on ANCMA, click here.

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MIC Battles Excessive Government Regulation

February 12, 2010

Proposed CPSC Regs Could Effectively Ban SXS Vehicles

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) is gearing up to address new and existing federal regulations this year that pose a threat to the powersports industry, said Paul Vitrano, MIC general counsel, in a speech to the annual meeting of the MIC today.

Paul Vitrano

He noted that the U.S. powersports industry is still fighting the CPSC ban on the sale of youth ATVs and motorcycles that do not meet lead requirements spelled out in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. At the same time, he said the CPSC is developing regulations that would  “effectively ban” off-highway, side-by-side recreational vehicles (ROV).

“The time is now to stop the (lead-based) ban once and for all,” he said. Noting that the CPSC has asked Congress for the flexibility to lift the ban on youth ATVs and motorcycles, and that there are indications that Congress is willing to solve “the unintended consequences of this well-intentioned, but ill-conceived law,” Vitrano told the audience that Congress has to amend the CPSIA to “exempt or permit exclusions” for ATVs and motorcycles.

Vitrano urged the gathering to take advantage of the MIC’s extensive multi-media campaign at the Dealer Expo to contact their congressmen in Washington. “We need your help to drive your dealers, employees, and customers to stopthebannow.com, so they can send a message to Congress,” he said.

Meanwhile, CPSC has proposed such strict new requirements on SXS vehicles that they could “effectively ban ROVs as we currently know them,” said Vitrano. “We need to convince the CPSC not to adopt design restrictive mandatory standards,” he said, “but rather work with industry to maintain… voluntary standards and to address behavior that is causing crashes and injuries.”

The powersports industry, through its Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROVA), an affiliate of the MIC, has developed a voluntary safety standard for ROVs, according to Vitrano. “Even though the data is clear that over 90% of people who are seriously injured on UTVs violated at least one safety rule,” the CPSC still proposed restrictive mandatory federal standards on this segment of machines, Vitrano said.

Vitrano called on SXS stakeholders to send comments to the CPSC before its March 15, 2010, deadline on proposed rulemaking. ROHVA has created a site, rohva.org/anpr, which can be accessed from rohva.org, to help individuals submit comments. The ANPR (Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) site provides a variety of easy-to-use tools for researching and commenting on the proposed rules. JD

Conact me with news or story ideas at 952/893-6876
or joe@powersportsupdate.com

Join MIC Campaign To Stop the Ban

February 9, 2010

MIC Launches Communications Effort at Dealer Expo

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) again this year is offering a variety of  communication tools at the Dealer Expo so that attendees and exhibitors can urge Washington to drop the existing ban on the sale of youth ATVs and motorcycles.

“There is tremendous momentum for Congress to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s (CPSIA) lead content provisions to exclude youth vehicles,” said Paul Vitrano, MIC general counsel. “We need our voices to be heard now.”

The MIC’s multi-media communication offerings at Indy and on www.stopthebannow.com include:

  • Text. Use your cell phone to send the text message “StoptheBan” or “STB” to 30101. An SMS interface on http://www.stopthebannow.com allows the public to send StoptheBan text messages directly from the website.
  • Letter. You can add your signature to letters urging Congress to amend the CPSIA to exclude youth vehicles. Last year’s campaign generated over 5,000 hand-signed letters at the show.
  • E-mail. Computers are available in the MIC Business Center (Booth # 4508) so you can send e-mails to Washington calling for the ban on youth equipment to be dropped. Last year, more 1 million electronic messages were sent to Congress.
  • Call. A computer station in the MIC Business Center will identify key members of Congress, and a Skype account will enable you to call your congressmen directly from the computer.
  • Video. You can “Send a Video Message to Congress.”  A camera and filming booth will be set up in the MIC Business Center so that Stop the Ban messages can be created, posted online, and forwarded to Congress.

Vitrano said there are three key reasons why youth ATVs and motorcycles should be excluded from the CPSIA’s lead content provisions: (1) the lead content poses no risk to kids; (2) the key to keeping youth safe is having them ride the right size vehicle; and (3) the lead ban hurts the economy.

“MIC calls on Congress to draft legislation as soon as possible to either grant a categorical exemption for these products, as would be provided by H.R. 1587, a pending bill with 56 bi-partisan co-sponsors, or to give the CPSC the flexibility to do so,” Vitrano said.

Visit www.stopthebannow.com for background information, FAQs, and public outreach tools for the Stop The Ban campaign.  JD

Contact me with story ideas or news tips
at 952/893-6876 or joe@powersportsupdate.com.

Nord To Give Up CPSC Chair

May 27, 2009

Nancy Nord plans to step down as chair of CPSC but plans to stay on the commission until her term is completed in 2012. Thomas Moore takes her spot.

President Obama has nominated two persons for commissioner posts, and a fifth commissioner could be added in August.

I’ll have more about CPSC commission makeup soon.


No Logic in CPSC’s Tips Provided to Momlogic

March 25, 2009

The website momlogic.com recently posted a piece about the dangers posed to kids who ride ATVs.

Titled “ATV Death a Wakeup Call to Moms”, the article is largely a chronicle of children’s deaths associated with ATV riding. All the kids mentioned were under the age of 16 except for one.cpsc_kidquad

At the bottom of the piece, momlogic.com provides guidelines for reducing the risks involved with ATVs. The guidelines come from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Of the six guidelines offered, one is to “not allow children to ride or drive adult ATVs. Kids under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as children riding on youth ATVs.”

So lets get this straight: The CPSC, the organization that outlawed youth-sized ATVs via the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, recommends children recreate only on youth-sized ATVs.

Can’t they see the disconnect?

Blogged Too Soon — Malcolm’s Protest Sale

March 23, 2009

Last week I blogged about USA Today picking up the Malcolm Smith Kids Love 2 Ride protest sale, saying that it was odd that none of the local media has been actively covering the issue — that it took a national newspaper to pick up the story.

Well, turns out I blogged too soon. Turns out that the Temecula Valley News and the Press Enterprise both ran stories covering the protest sale and the youth ATV/bike ban. I’m glad to see the general press picking up on this issue given the huge impact motorcycling has on Southern California’s culture and economy.

The more play this story gets the better. I know we’re covering the heck out of it over at Dealernews.com.