Posts Tagged ‘CPSIA’

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

Dealernewsblog Top 20 Viewed Stories of 2009

December 21, 2009

With 2009 quickly coming to a close, we’d be remiss if we didn’t tackle that trite-but-true end-of-the-year cliche known as the Top Whatever Stories List of (Fill in the year). Some of the time these stories are picked by readers, other times they’re chosen by editors/reporters. At Dealernewsblog we’ll opt for the former, based on the site visitor stats calculated by the good folks at WordPress.

We wish we had the energy and certitude to assemble a bevy of what we feel are the top powersports industry stories of 2009, but we’re kind of fat and lazy after snacking on too many holiday cheese logs, so we’ll leave this up to the cold analytics of the WordPress dashboard. For a more measured and thoughtful approach to the top stories, our own Joe Delmont is assembling a Top 10 list that should be appearing soon (link to come!).

And now, according to our blog stats, here are the Top 20 Dealernewsblog stories that viewers (like you!) clicked on in 2009:

  1. Harley’s Iron 883 – Nightster’s Younger Bro
  2. The Kymco Like — “Classic is one scooter …”
  3. Tragedy for Glen Helen Owner and His Family
  4. It’s Black Tuesday. Some Kid’s ATVs, Bikes Banned
  5. Harley Iron 883, You Are Soon to be Mine (for a while)
  6. Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Review
  7. KTM RC 125 GP Race Bikes for Sale
  8. Vendors That Compete Against Their Own Dealers
  9. 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE — Retro Riding
  10. Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – want one
  11. Top Dealer To Challenge CPSC Lead Content Rule
  12. Ducati Working on Adventure Tourer?
  13. High Fashion Gear for Women Riders? You Betcha
  14. H-D Iron 883 First Peek — On the Road to Review
  15. Dealer Expo Comments; Extra Product Coverage
  16. CPSC’s Recent Action Doesn’t Help Powersports
  17. Second Co-Founder Departs Baja Motorsports
  18. Small Stores Versus Big Stores
  19. New Polaris On-Road Division Raises Questions
  20. Roll Your Own Gear – Joe Rocket’s Hemp Jacket

Second Co-Founder Departs Baja Motorsports

May 16, 2009

Ryan Daugherty Resigns From Leading Chinese Distributor

Handled Sales & Marketing, Product Development, Sourcing

Ryan Daugherty, one of the co-founders of Baja Motorsports, has resigned the company and is looking for other opportunities, he told me. Daugherty, Rich Godfrey and Jennifer Andrew launched Baja in 2004 and built it into a leading distributor of Chinese powersports products—including kid’s ATVs and dirt bikes— in the U.S. and Canada. Last year, Baja sold an estimated $70 million worth of products at wholesale. Its leading customers include Pep Boys, Fleet Farm and Canadian Tire.

Ryan Daugherty

Ryan Daugherty

“It’s just time for a change,” Daugherty told me. “I’ve enjoyed helping build Baja to its current strong position in the market, but I’m going to step back now for a bit and look at the powersports industry. It’s changing and I know there will be other opportunities down the road.”

Daugherty says he doesn’t have any deadline in mind for taking on a new position.

I tried to get in touch with Rich Godfrey a couple of times to see what changes he’s likely to make now that his partner is gone, but I haven’t hear from him yet. I’ll let you know what he has to say when we hook up.

Daugherty, 43, has been vice president for sales and marketing at Baja. His duties include developing new products, sourcing those products in China and marketing the products to dealers and consumers. One of his big efforts has been developing training and service materials for technicians and customers.

He also wrote Baja’s ATV Action Plan recently presented to the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission); Baja is one of only two importers of Chinese products that has had its Action Plan approve by the CPSC. An approved Action Plan is required before a foreign manufacturer can sell ATVs in the U.S. under provisions contained in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.

With Daugherty’s departure, Godfrey remains the sole co-founder of Baja still with the company. Andrew sold her shares in 2007 and left the company when Techtronics Industries, Inc., (TTI) acquired a majority share of Baja. Daugherty sold his equity position to TTI almost two years ago.

TTI is a $3.2 billion manufacturer who’s stock is traded on the Hong Kong Exchange. It manufactures private label household goods for leading brands, and it also owns several internationally known brands, including Hoover, Dirt Devil, Milwaukee, Homelite and Ryobi. JD

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

Nominees Add Uncertainty at CPSC

May 5, 2009
Joe Delmont

Joe Delmont

President Obama’s recent announcement that he’s going to nominate two new commissioners for the CPSC doesn’t improve the current messy situation at the agency; it only adds to the confusion.

The announcement didn’t make clear whether the president’s nominations REPLACE Nancy Nord and Thomas Moore, both of whom were named by President Bush, or whether they are ADDED to the commission. Since there are spots for five commissioners, they could be added. One more nominee would fill the slate.

By the way, a quorum is actually THREE commissioners, but the quorum requirement was waived last year when the agency’s chairman resigned. Nord was named acting chair at that time. Since there’s no quorum, we’re seeing a lot of 2-0 votes.

I visited the White House website to see the official announcement for myself, but I didn’t get any answers. I’ll try to get more information in the next few days.

Unfortunately, this new confusion factor may give the foot-draggers in Congress one more reason to delay fixing the cluttered Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a full slate of commissioners at one of our country’s most important consumer safety regulators, a group that would be headed by an active, effective commissioner who is working with an adequate budget and who is directed by appropriate and clearly-worded legislation? Is that too much to hope for? JD

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

Latest CPSC Action Simply Is Not The Answer

May 5, 2009

Two-Year Stay of Enforcement Doesn’t Solve Problem

Congress Should Fix Poorly-Written CPSIA Law


joedelmont

Joe Delmont

The CPSC’s recent promise not to enforce for two years a legal ban on the sale of kid’s ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles and related parts, garments and accessories just doesn’t cut it. I’m sorry, but the move is woefully inadequate.

The vote Friday by commissioners Nancy Nord and Thomas Moore is simply the latest step in this silly dance between Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The awkward two-step is called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that was passed last year.

The dreadful legislative effort bans the sale of toys designed for children ages 12 younger that fail to meet several safety standards. The lead limit is 600 parts per million in parts that are accessible to children. The ban became effective Feb. 10, 2009.

Congress says the law gives the CPSC authority to grant exclusions where appropriate— in the case of brake cables, for example. The CPSC responds by calling the law poorly written, and says it is unenforceable.

Retailers and manufacturers from many industries are caught in the middle.

Today, the situation is in a shambles. Some powersports manufacturers are selling products that have been modified or reclassified for youngsters aged (more…)