Posts Tagged ‘Aprilia’

Piaggio Cuts Sales and Marketing Staff

January 19, 2010

No Reduction in Dealer Services Planned

Reduced unit sales of scooters in 2009 forced Piaggio USA to cut several top level managers in its sales operation and flatten out its sales staff, Paolo Timoni, president and CEO of Piaggio’s US operations, told me.

Noting that industry-wide U.S. scooter sales were down about 65% last year, Timoni said that steps had to be taken to balance revenue and costs. “We don’t expect 2010 sales to go back to 2008 numbers,” said Timoni. So, it was cut either sales or dealer services.

“Given our priorities for 2010 and 2011,” Timoni said, “ we concluded it was a priority for us to maintain our service capabilities (to dealers) as much as possible, because we think this is what dealers need. Probably, we could get with a smaller sales organization, since there wouldn’t be that much sales, right? Therefore, we basically reduced the size of our sales organization.”

The position of vice president of sales and marketing has been eliminated and the former head of sales and marketing, Gary Pietruszewski, has been let go. The marketing management functions now will be handled by three managers, who report to Timoni. “It’s a much flatter management structure,” he says.

Melissa MacCall is responsible for marketing, Internet activities, promotions and co-marketing activities. Karen Andrews is brand manager for Piaggio and Vespa, and Rick Panettieri is brand manager for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi.

At the same, the number of regional sales directors was cut from three to two, and three regional sales directors were dropped, reducing the number of sales directors from 10 to seven.

“We have great opportunity here,” says Timoni. “You notice we didn’t touch our service organization. We thought that would be the best investment we could make now, and we hope dealers appreciate that basically all the infrastructure and organization to support and service them has been untouched. That’s our strategy.”

No other changes are planned for the time being. “That’s all there is,” says Timoni.  JD

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Erpelding, Europe’s Keeper of Classic Race Bikes

September 29, 2009

Are you a racebike enthusiast? Happen to be planning a trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany?

erpeldingIf so, you may want to visit former motorcycle and auto dealer and racer Frithjor Erpelding, a man who claims to have the second largest private museum in Europe dedicated to race motorcycles. Located in the Eifel mountain hamlet of Jammelshofen, near the ‘Ring, the museum houses 200-some bikes and a half-dozen of his championship-winning race cars.

Among the units on display: AJS, Aprilia, Ariel, Bimota, BSA, CZ, Egli, Gilera, NSU, Koenig, Moto Parilla, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Matchless, Maico, Triumph, Norton, Greeves, Jawa, Puch, Wanderer, Harris, BSS, Benelli, Laverda, Royal-Enfield, Harley-Davidson, Horex, Honda, Gilera, Kawasaki, Kreidler, Linto, Suzuki, Scott, Seley, Yamaha, Rickman, KTM, Ducati, Montessa, NSU, Vincent, Velocette and Zuendapp, etc.

I asked Erpelding which of the 200 units is his favorite. “The Norton,” he replied without pause. Erpelding has two Norton Manx. “The chairman of Cambridge University recently contacted me, asking if I would sell one of my Manx. I told him ‘No’. He offered Euro 100,000 and I declined. Then he offered Euro 200,000 and I again declined. Finally, I cut to the chase and told him I wouldn’t be selling the bike no matter what the price.”

MuseumBut, Erpelding is willing to sell certain units. He says he recently sold a Vincent to a collector in the United States for Euro 80,000. “He deposited the check in my bank account before even receiving the bike. I called and asked him why he trusted me, and he said, ‘I’ve heard you’re a trustworthy guy’.”

Erpelding is a fella who loves telling his stories. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to leave time to have beer at his Race Museum Bar. He’ll tell you about his run-ins with racer Agostini and Yamaha bosses; his thoughts on Triumph, MZ and KTM; his trips to Goodwood; and his days of racing Honda motorcycles and cars.

Check out Erpelding’s website, which features the full line-up of the museum’s bikes on display.

Scooterists Assemble in Twin Cities for ‘Rattle My Bones’ Rally

August 16, 2009

Hundreds of scooterists from all over the Midwest assembled in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul Aug. 13-16 for the 2009 Rattle My Bones scooter rally.

RattleMyBones2The four-day event started with a meet-and-greet and scavenger hunt on the evening of Aug. 13; had participants assembling Aug. 14 for five ride possibilities, a “historic sites” ride and one ride each for geared scoots, automatic scoots, vintage scoots and for scooterists who have never been on a group ride before; continued Aug. 15 with a 70-mile, large group ride followed by dinner, a gymkhana, bike show and music; and wrapped up Aug. 16 with an organized breakfast, raffle prize giveaway, awards presentation and a final ride.

Sponsors included dealerships Scooterville, Blue Cat Motors and Leo’s South; as well as CF Moto; Scooterworks USA; Binetto/Shad; Aerostich; Bell Helmets; Corazzo; Scorpion EXO and Scoot! Magazine, among others.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

Aprilia Fastest Bike at Pikes Peak … Again

July 30, 2009

The formal results are in: Piloting a 2009 Aprilia SXV550, Davey Durelle was the fastest motorcycle up the hill at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 19.PikesPeak_logo

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, first held in 1916, features a course that climbs 12.42 miles, has 156 turns and starts at 9,390 ft. climbing to over 14,000 ft. Durelle completed the treacherous run in an astounding 11:48.649 minutes. It was his 13th personal victory at the event and the second year in a row he took the title of fastest motorcycle on the mountain.

Durelle finished a split second ahead of Gary Trachy aboard a 2008 KTM SMX. Both raced in the 750cc class.

PikesPeak1Durelle grabbed the hole shot and lead for the first two miles before Trachy made a pass for the lead. Trachy stretched his lead to five seconds before Durelle used the power of the SXV to close the gap in the wide open dirt section and re-passed him for the lead less then a mile from the summit. Durelle and Trachy battled side by side to the top finishing a mere .094 seconds apart – one of the closest finishes in the history of the event.

Davey Durelle is sponsored by Aprilia USA, Dunlop Tire, Arai, Spider Grips, Scotts Performance, Victory Circle Graphixs and Erico Motorsports (a Dealernews Top 100 dealer).

The fastest ATV on the mountain was a 2008 Honda 450 piloted by Michael Coburn with a time of 12:18.858 minutes.

My House Wine: CorsaVino

June 30, 2009

A couple of months ago I reported on CorsaVino – a wine brand of limited availability launched by Arun Sharma, the general manager of MotoCorsa in Portland.

t4Well, today I received my shipment of Sharma’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Mostro Rosso, limited to a production of 98 cases and retailing for $314 by the case or $29 by the bottle; and 2005 Syrah, limited to a production of 217 cases and retailing for $292 by the case or $27 by the bottle.

Mmmm, now to deal with the most difficult decision. After all, being a wine enthusiast is a bit like being a collector of motorcycles: Do you drink/ride the product or do you not drink/ride the product?

Texas Bill Requires Training For “High-Performance” Bike Buyers

April 21, 2009

Legislation being considered in Texas would force those who purchase a “high-performance” motorcycle to take a training course within six months of the purchase.
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HB 4531, if voted into law, would force all owners and operators of a high performance motorcycle purchased on or after September 1, 2009 to show proof of course attendance upon the request of law enforcement. Violators would be fined between $500 and $1,000.

According to bill sponsor Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso), a “high-performance motorcycle” is any motorcycle “referred to, called, labeled, or described as a ‘sports bike’, ‘sports motorcycle’, ‘high performance motorcycle’, or other similar term, in any materials given to an original purchaser at the time of purchase from any retail seller or contained in the owners manual or guides from the manufacturer.”

The bill is currently being debated in the House Public Safety committee.

Ducati Retailer Launches CorsaVino

April 21, 2009

Are you as devoted to fine wines as you are to fine Italian motorcycles?

If so, you may want to check out CorsaVino – a wine brand of limited availability launched by Arun Sharma, the general manager of MotoCorsa in Portland. MotoCorsa was named a 2007 Dealernews Top 100 motorcycle retailer.
t4
Originally “not much of a drinker,” Sharma’s many trips to Italy ultimately exposed him to the passion of winemaking. Sharma says the Italian winemakers’ obsession with detail and the quality of each component – all ultimately for the purpose of enjoying life – resonated deeply with his appreciation for Italian motorcycles.

Determined to mirror classic traditions of Italian winemakers in his Pacific Northwest home, Sharma sought out Italian motorcycle enthusiast and winemaker Rich Cushman, a vintner renowned for his award winning wines. Thus CorsaVino was born.

CorsaVino’s four wines include Cabernet Sauvignon Il Mostro Rosso, Viognier, Syrah and an already sold-out Cabernet Sauvignon commemorative edition.

The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Mostro Rosso, limited to a production of 98 cases, retails for $314 by the case or $29 by the bottle; the 2007 Viognier, limited to a production of 54 cases, retails for $260 by the case or $24 by the bottle; and the 2005 Syrah, limited to a production of 217 cases, retails for $292 by the case or $27 by the bottle.

The sold-out 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon commemorative edition was limited to a production of 300 bottles.

Scooting Through the Snow with the SKS

April 2, 2009

OK, winter is over and scooterists in Snowbelt states are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to climb aboard their two-wheelers. But using this contraption, the SKS, there’s no need to winterize your bike. In fact, you may be looking forward to snowfall.slidescooters11

Patented by Italian firm G. Elementi and distributed by Riminimoto, the SKS (an acronym for Snow Kit Solution) can turn your scooter into a snow scoot via the use of an easy-to-attach front ski and low pressure rear tire with crampons.

The kit’s available for select Aprilia, Honda, Hyosung, KYMCO, PGO, Piaggio, SYM and Yamaha models sold in the U.S.

Find out more at Slidescooters.com

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Aprilia’s dirt-chugging V-twin: the MXV 450

March 26, 2009

Aprilia has introduced the MXV 450, the Italian company’s first-ever motocross bike.

Powered by Aprilia’s spooky little — get this — V-twin, I can only guess how this thing screams over track and trail. The 452cc, fuel-injected beast comes with two ignition settings that you

You might want to strap yourself in.

You might want to strap yourself in.

control by poking the handlebar switch. The “Big Bang” setting throttles things down a bit and gives an easier rideability, control and traction by closing the firing gap. Hit the “Screamer” setting and you can guess what happens — the firing gap changes back to standard and the motor wants to zip up to its 12,500 rpm limit. (So says the company.)

Speaking from some experience, Aprilia knows what it is doing with these V-twin-powered dirtbikes. I had the SXV 5.5 for a while last year (it’s the one dressed up in supermoto clothing) and that damn thing was (more…)

Latest Aprilia Supermoto on Showroom Floors

January 6, 2009

I use my motorcycle mostly for fun commuting, so supermotos are not my cup of tea. They’re nice-looking, but they lean more toward the recreational.

So I felt no real excitement yesterday when Aprilia announced that it has imported the SMV 750 Dorsoduro as a 2009 model. It’s on sale now. Click heredorsoduroimage1 for specs.

From a business point of view, dealers have told me that they love supermoto bikes. Mothers often feel more comfortable allowing their teenage son to buy a supermoto instead of a sportbike. “That’s just like his dirtbike,” they say. But I imagine these are the smaller Japanese supermotos, not the high-end European ones.