Posts Tagged ‘CARB’

Major Management Changes at CFMOTO

October 8, 2010

CFMOTO, the Chinese powersports company, has made several top level management changes to its U.S. subsidiary based in suburban Minneapolis, according to sources close to the company. The changes include beefing up the management team with outside professionals and a shift in responsibility for Lev Mirman, the former president of the U.S. operation, CFMOTO Powersports.

Mirman retains his equity position with about a 10% ownership of the U.S. operation. Under the new setup, Mirman will focus on legal and regulatory concerns involving CARB, DOT and EPA.

The company declined to discuss the changes in any detail when I contacted the CFMOTO office today.

The new management team is designed to increase efficiencies, and help the company expand its product portfolio into new areas beyond its ATV, scooter and motorcycle products, sources told me. CFMOTO has about 200 U.S. dealers, down from a high of about 215, but it has been adding dealers this year, the company said.

CFMOTO is one of the few Chinese manufacturers that has established its own subsidiary in the U.S., similar to the Japanese models in which the manufacture manages its own brand through its own manufacturing and distribution channel.  Most other Chinese and Taiwanese companies simply hire independent importer/distributor companies to handle their products in this market.

CFMOTO’s parent company,  ChunFeng Holding Group, Ltd., was established in 1989. The group has eight wholly-owned subsidiaries engaged in manufacturing of liquid cooled engines, scooters, motorcycles, vehicle parts and accessories, and investments. The largest engine it manufactures is a 500cc unit, and the smallest is 50cc. JD

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Goldenvale Executives Admit Fraud

May 7, 2010

Two top executives of Goldenvale, Inc., one of the leading us importers of Chinese ATVs and other powersports equipment, reportedly have admitted falsifying emissions data on some of their motorcycles and ATVs but didn’t get any jail time as part of a plea bargaining deal.

Goldenvale owner Kening N. Ma to four counts of grand theft and Shirley Hyunae Ji, Goldenvale vice president,pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft, according to The pair are scheduled to be sentenced to three years probation on July 20.

The two were arrested in March as reported by Dealernews. The executives of the company based in Ontario, Calif., were charged in a 70-count complaint with using fake certificates issued by the California Resources Board (CARB), among other offenses.

Goldenvale, which also operates a facility in Dallas, imports ATVs, dirtbikes, scooters and karts. The equipment was sold through a dealer network under the Roketa brand. JD

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Officials: Importer Used Fake CARB Certificates

March 15, 2010

One of Largest U.S. Importers of Chinese Machines Is Charged

Two top executives of one of the largest importers of Chinese and Taiwanese powersports equipment in the U.S. have been charged by California authorities with selling vehicles that did not meet that state’s emission standards, according to the complaint obtained by Dealernews.

Kening N. Ma, president and owner, and Shirley Hyunae Ji, vice president, of Goldenvale, Inc., were charged last week in a 70-count complaint. The complaint, filed in San Bernardino, Calif., Superior Court, charges the two executives and “another person or persons” with selling motor vehicles that had not been certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to consumers and dealers in California.

The complaint charges the executives with multiple felony counts of grand theft of personal property (more than $400), possession of false certificates, and money laundering involving more than $448,000.

The complaint said that Ma had, and used, certificates known to be “false, altered, forged, and counterfeited.”

According to industry estimates, Goldenvale was one of the top two or three importers and retailers of Chinese and Taiwanese powersports equipment during the last several years.

Goldenvale is a diversified importer that operates facilities in Ontario, Calif, and Dallas, Texas. It imports several powersports machines, including ATVs, dirtbikes, scooters and karts. The powersports units were sold online and through a network of dealers under the Roketa brand.

The company also imported many other items, ranging from artwork and blankets, to  toys and cooking utensils.

Specific sales figures are not available from the closely held company, but import data and industry analysts believe that Goldenvale imported nearly 80,000 units in 2008. But that number dropped off sharply to only about 2,000 units last year as the company attempted to deal with a large unsold inventory of machines.

The company had big years in 2006, according to industry estimates, when it retailed nearly 50,000 ATVs, and again in 2008 when it retailed almost 50,000 scooters. Those numbers put Goldenvale in the top three importers/distributors of Chinese/Taiwanese ATVs in 2006 and scooters in 2008.

Last week’s arrests were the result of an investigation that took several years, dating back as far as 2005, according to court records. The investigation was a joint effort of CARB and the San Bernardino’s district attorney’s office.  JD

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Importers of Chinese Motorcycles, ATVs Arrested

March 14, 2010

Pair Charged With 70 Felonies; Certification Violations

Two top executives at Goldenvale Inc., a diversified California importer of powersports products, have been arrested and charged with illegally importing motorcycles, ATVs and other vehicles from China and selling the units in California without proper state certification.

Goldenvale president and owner Kening N. Ma and vice president Shirley Hyunae Ji were charged in a 70-count criminal complaint that includes conspiracy to commit theft, grand theft, and money laundering.

The pair were arrested last week, according to a published report in the San Bernardinto Sun newspaper.

The powersports products sold under the Roketa brand also include scooters, go-karts and other gas and electric-powered vehicles.  The company, which operates facilities in Ontario, Calif., and Dallas, Texas, also imports items ranging from artwork and blankets to toys and cooking utensils. The company imported fewer than 2,000 powersports units last year, according to industry estimates.

The powersports units were sold on-line and through a national dealer network.

Prosecutors said dozens of victims purchased vehicles from Goldenvale that were not certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the newspaper reported. The amount paid by victims ranged from several hundred dollars up to $4,000 for each vehicle, prosecutors said.

The vehicles are illegal to operate in California if they do not have CARB certification.

Ma and Ji are named in a complaint filed in San Bernardino Superior Court. Ma faces one count of conspiracy, 33 counts of grand theft, 30 counts of possessing a false or blank vehicle registration and six counts of money laundering, according to court records.

Ji is named in the counts alleging conspiracy, grand theft and money laundering.

The certificates of origin allow consumers to register their vehicles with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

In this case, the certificates of origin show a manufacturer name that did not manufacture the vehicles, according to the newspaper. The vehicles also were never certified by CAB, according to the newspaper report.

These arrests culminated a multi-year investigation of illegal activities, according to one CARB official.  JD

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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…)

Yamaha Still Trying to Satisfy Consumers Via Buy-Back Program

January 12, 2009

Chris Hanekamp is among multiple R1 owners unhappy with Yamaha's Customer Assistance Program.

Californian Chris Hanekamp, owner of a 2000 Yamaha R1, is unhappy with Yamaha Motor Corp., USA. Hanekamp’s displeasure stems from a motorcycle buy-back program that’s the result of a lawsuit Yamaha and South Seas Cycle Exchange of Honolulu settled in 2007 with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

The suit, filed in 2005, stemmed from a CARB investigation that started in 2002 and found that Yamaha had imported more than 400 motorcycles that failed to meet California emissions standards. Yamaha evidently registered the bikes in California, obtained state license plates, and then eventually sold some of them to state residents. In most cases, these were popular 1999 – 2002 R6 and R1 models that were in great demand and difficult to purchase in California. CARB said it found that one dealer, San Jose Yamaha, sold approximately 200 units to California residents.

Under terms of the agreement, Yamaha paid approximately $1.2 million to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, $500,000 to fund a project to test the impact of ethanol fuel blends on emissions from off-road gasoline engines, and $300,000 to the Office of the Attorney General for attorneys’ fees.

In addition to the financial penalties, Yamaha and South Seas Cycle Exchange started a vehicle purchase program to buy back and destroy or remove any motorcycles that had been identified as not having been certified for use or registration in California.

The vehicle purchase program launched in November 2007 with letters sent to consumers who had purchased the bikes in question. In the letter, Yamaha explains that the buy-back program – which the OEM calls a “Customer Assistance Program” – would use a starting valuation that’s an average between the high and low prices for the bike as provided in, then adjust the offer based upon the condition of the bike, the mileage, and any accessories that have been added.

Hanekamp, one of multiple consumers who have declined Yamaha’s offer, purchased his R1 from San Jose Yamaha in September 2000. He says the bike has been “kept in immaculate condition,” has 12,000 miles logged, and has sentimental value because his father, who passed away in 2001, helped him make the purchase.

“I had made several attempts throughout the year to resolve this,” Hanekamp tells Dealernews. “I gave them two options: Either offer me the full price I had paid for the bike when I purchased it new or let me trade straight across for a 2009 model in exchange for my title. They did not want to budge on their offer of $6,500.

Contacted for this piece, Yamaha offered only that it is still working with multiple owners to resolve the situation.

“I‘m not going to give in to Yamaha Corp. wanting to solve their problem by buying my bike back at depreciated value,” Hanekamp says. “After all, they are the ones that created this mess and knew about it all along.”