Archive for the ‘Personal Watercraft’ Category

Ecowatercraft Hopes to Offer Electric PWC

June 4, 2009

EcoWatercraft is a company planning to be the first all electric personal watercraft manufacturer to go into production.
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The company is the brainchild of founder Barrett Taylor. Taylor says, as a collegiate triathlete, he often swam amongst extremely heavy fumes expelled from the personal watercraft patrolling the swim site – something that coaxed him to look more closely at the health implications of breathing in toxic fumes and served as inspiration to assemble a team dedicated to bringing an electric personal watercraft to market.

Why electric? According to Taylor, the ECO emits no emissions, operates in complete silence, expands PWC use by being permitted on many lakes that restrict gasoline vehicles, benefits from acceleration inherent in electric vehicles, and offers convenience by requiring no fuels, oil or maintenance.

Sounds good, right? Many “green” blogs and websites appear to think so. However, there are a couple of statements that show a glaring lack of industry knowledge.

First, EcoWatercraft claims it “will be the first American personal watercraft corporation.” In fact, Minnesota-based powersports manufacturers Arctic Cat and Polaris were in the market years ago.

Second, Ecowatercraft says it “will provide the most customer oriented experience in the personal watercraft industry.” Dubious, since they’ll first have to gain the financial strength equal to or greater than companies like Kawasaki, Yamaha, BRP and Honda. Plus, they’ll likely be selling through the same dealers as those other OEMs.

Finally, Ecowatercraft, throughout its marketing literature, uses Kawasaki’s trademarked “JetSki” name in lieu of the general term of “personal watercraft.” A rookie mistake, for sure.

Clarkson: A powersports fanatic

April 22, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson, one-third of the presenting team for the top-rated BBC television show Top Gear, was spotted this week atop a Yamaha Waverunner VX110 while on vacation in Barbados.
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As the pictures attest to, the 49-year-old appeared to have enjoyed piloting the 110hp four-stroke PWC as much as driving a 510hp Lamborghini Gallardo.

Last September, photographers spotted the presenter, who often derides motorcyclists, astride a Piaggio scooter near his home in Oxfordshire. Click here to read what Clarkson had to say about his buzz around town on the scoot.

Inventor Patents Passenger ‘Safety Grips’

March 9, 2009

An inventor from Portland, Ore., has patented an accessory that he says would help passengers of motorcycles, ATVs and personal watercraft hold on to the operator.

Inventor service company InventHelp publicized the product, but failed to name its inventor client. outmax800refixt1

The “Safety Grips” (not to be confused with the previously released “Buddy Belt”) consist of a nylon, padded belt that is secured via hook-and-loop fasteners. Sewn into the rear of the belt would be a pair of upright handles facing the passenger. In use, the operator would adjust the belt to fit his or her waist, and the passenger grips the handles throughout the duration of the ride.

According to InventHelp, the inventor was inspired to create the Safety Grips after an off-roading trip. “We used this belt while riding quads on sand dunes at the beach, and we got a lot of positive feedback from both passengers and operators,” he said.

Lets hope the inventor was riding the ATV in the prescribed manner – in other words, not riding two-up on a single rider vehicle. Existing two-up ATVs, from BRP and Arctic Cat, come supplied with multi-position passenger grab rails and backrest.

Economy Has Yamaha Cutting Costs

January 19, 2009

Takashi Kajikawa, president and CEO, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., says the company is going forwardyamahalogo with several cost-cutting initiatives in an effort to streamline its corporate structure and maximize profits to combat the current economic climate.

“The economic crisis grew beyond anything we could have anticipated, compelling us to revise our business plan,” Kajikawa says. “Like so many companies hit hard by the economic nosedive, we are now challenged to maximize our core capabilities just to survive.”

Click here to read more about what Kajikawa has to say.

Honda Begins New Online Marketing Effort

January 19, 2009

Honda has launched a new marketing campaign that uses an interactive strategy and short “documentary” films contained within a multi-layered Web site.

The Web site destination, dreams.honda.com, showcases Honda’s “Dream the Impossible Documentary Series.”  Three short films (about 6- 8 minutes in length) debuted with the campaign launch Jan. 12; additional films will be added every few months. Two of the films discuss core values that have inspired generations of Honda associates by telling the stories of impossible engineering challenges and exploring where failure brought Honda and what success came of it. The third film explores the future of mobility.

The company plans to use online media to generate awareness for the campaign, drive traffic to the new site and help create consumer buzz. Spots (:30 and :15 spots using footage from the films) will run during television shows broadcast online on ABC.com, CBS.com, NBC.com and Hulu.com. Unique page takeovers, roadblocks and pre-roll placements will launch late January through early February on Wired, Gawker Network, Discovery Channel, Time, Yahoo! and CNN.

Learn more here.

Honda Plans Halt to ATV, PWC Production in S.C.

January 13, 2009

Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. plans to cease production of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and personal watercraft (PWC) for three months beginning in March.

Click here to learn why.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. ends its business year March 31. In 2007, Honda’s sales of ATVs in North America decreased 4.5 percent to 211,000 units.

In 2003, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford helped Honda of South Carolina Mfg. dedicate its new personal watercraft assembly plant in Timmonsville, S.C. The plant became Honda's second in Timmonsville and 12th in North America.

In 2003, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford helped Honda of South Carolina Mfg. dedicate its new personal watercraft assembly plant in Timmonsville, S.C. The plant became Honda's second in Timmonsville and 12th in North America.

Kawasaki – Made in the USA

January 6, 2009

Kawasaki operates six businesses in the United States, two of which pertain to consumer products:kmm1 Kawasaki Motor Corp USA (KMC), the sales unit, and Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. USA (KMM), the production unit.

KMM, a sister company and supplier to Irvine, Calif.-based KMC, has operations in Lincoln, Neb., and Maryville, Mo. KMM builds all of Kawasaki’s ATVs, Jet Ski personal watercraft and Mule utility vehicles.

Here’s what I learned during a visit to the Lincoln site.

Kawasaki became the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to enter the U.S. The consumer products manufacturing facility in Lincoln, located on 335 acres, opened in 1974 as a 286,000 sq. ft. plant.
At the time, the company was producing motorcycle and personal watercraft stateside, cranking out about 50,000 units annually during those first few years.

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Today, an estimated 1,000 workers produce about 120,000 vehicles each year at the nearly 1.3 million sq. ft. facility. Production operations include fiberglass molding, fabrication, welding, rim forming, painting and assembly. The site also produces wheels sold to BRP, Honda, Polaris and Suzuki.

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Bruce Spilker, a KMM production supervisor, says the three ATV assembly lines in Lincoln produce about 100 units daily while the personal watercraft assembly line kicks out about 120 boats per day. Each production line is capable of mixed model production. Production schedules come monthly from KMC. A recently completed fourth assembly line, formerly dedicated to motorcycle assembly, produces Mule utility vehicles.

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KMM’s Maryville plant opened in 1989 for production of general-purpose engines. Employing more than 600 workers, the facility has grown to more than 700,000 sq. ft. on 113.7 acres and produces about 500,000 units annually. Workers complete die-casting, injection molding, machining, painting and assembly.

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Both the Lincoln and Maryville plants operate on a “just in time” supply method, which eliminates massive amounts of warehousing and over-ordering of parts.

Click here to learn more about powersports manufacturers’ operations in the U.S.