Posts Tagged ‘linkedin’

Cobra Sells Kid’s Bikes Despite CPSC Ban

March 27, 2009

Bikes Meet Lead Content Requirements
Several Steps Ensure Legally Safe Products

Sean Hilbert may be the only motorcycle executive in the U.S. who is legally selling kid’s dirt bikes and ATVs, in spite of a federal ban on many such products.

Most of the high quality racing machines produced and sold by Cobra Motorcycle Manufacturing Company of Hillsdale, Mich., meet the current requirements spelled out in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), he told me the other day. Only one of Cobra’s models is not offered for sale.

Sean Hilbert

Sean Hilbert

Well, now, that’s very interesting. How can that be, when the rest of the industry has been shut down since Feb. 10, 2009, and all other manufacturers have ordered their dealers to pull these products from the showrooms?

Sale of products designed for kids ages 12 and younger that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead content for any part of the product in the machine have been banned since February by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Yet Cobra keeps selling most of its models.

Hilbert, who is president and CEO, isn’t breaking the law, he says. It’s just that his company is working very hard to produce machines that meet the stiff lead content requirements set by the law that was signed by President Bush last August. How does he do it?

Basically, three ways. First, by presenting certifications from his suppliers that their products don’t exceed the lead limits. Second, by doing a minimal amount of its own testing. And, third, by covering items that contain excess lead levels, thus preventing access to those items. More about these steps later.

What Is Cobra Motorcycle?

Cobra has been producing high quality small displacement racing ATVs and mini bikes since 1993. It has 35 employees and operates out of a 50,000 sq. ft combination office, warehouse and production facility in Hillsdale, Mich., about 100 miles from Detroit.  The building sits on about 10 acres that includes a test track and provides room for expansion of the main facility.

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Dealer Is Mad As Hell About Kid’s ATV Ban

March 16, 2009

*****EDITOR’S NOTE: Malcolm Smith has changed the time of his protest to 4 p.m. rather than 6 a.m. to accommodate those who want to attend. From his website kidslove2ride.wordpress.com “Due to numerous requests from Malcolm’s supporters far and wide, we have changed the timing of the event.”

So He’s Going To Sell Kid’s Machines on March 19

Remember that classic old movie from 1976, Network? If you do, you’ll remember the famous line from Howard Blake’s network anchor character, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

That’s the way Malcolm Smith feels about the current ban prohibiting the sale of kid’s ATVs, motorcycles, and related parts, garments and accessories. That’s why he plans to take some drastic action.

Malcolm is putting his money where his mouth is. Literally. He’s challenging the ban by selling

Malcolm Smith

Malcolm Smith

kid’s machines out of his dazzling powersports dealership in Riverside, Calif., on Thursday. (The sale begins at 6 am PST, March 19, 2009.)

The move could cost him big bucks, a lot more than he’ll get selling a few little dirt bikes. Fines can run as much as $100,000 per violation, up to $15 million, and there are criminal penalties involved, as well. For you non-lawyers, that means, worst case, that Malcolm could end up in jail, if authorities decide to get really nasty.

When I talked with Malcolm today, I asked him what would happen if the authorities come in Thursday and tell him to stop selling. The cagey veteran, avoided a direct answer, but I could almost see him smiling over the phone: “It’ll make a good show,” he said softly.”

He told me that he’s not certain what he’ll do after Thursday. “It depends on what other dealers do,” he says. “I don’t want to be the only one that is completely out of business.”

For those of you who have not been following the ban, here’s the deal: The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed last year, put strict limits on the amount of lead contained in products made for youths aged 12 and younger. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was charged with implementing the law.

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Top Dealer To Challenge CPSC Lead Content Rule

March 14, 2009

*****EDITOR’S NOTE: Malcolm Smith has changed the time of his protest to 4 p.m. rather than 6 a.m. to accommodate those who want to attend. From his website kidslove2ride.wordpress.com “Due to numerous requests from Malcolm’s supporters far and wide, we have changed the timing of the event.”


Malcolm Smith To Sell ATVs Next Thursday In Protest

Fines Could Be $100,000 Per Violation

Well, the battle for the right to sell kid’s ATVs and motorcycles continues to heat up, and it could come to a boil next week.

California motorcycle dealer and industry icon Malcolm Smith says he plans to sell kid’s ATVs and motorcycles to consumers next Thursday (6 am PST, March 19, 2009) in protest against a federal law that limits the amount of lead that can be contained in products made for children 12 and younger.

The sales could be expensive. The law calls for fines up to $100,000 per violation and a maximum of $15 million for a series of related violations. Jail time also is called for.

malcolmsmith_2008jpg-copy34And, according to one attorney who is very familiar with the law, there are also criminal penalties of up to five years in jail for a willful violation of the law.

The so called “lead content” provision is part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed last year. The law is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The CPSIA and related rules developed by the CPSC ban the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes designed for children, ages 12 and younger. The ban became effective Feb. 10, 2009.

By one estimate developed by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the ban could cost the powersports industry as much as $1 billion this year.

Dealernews magazine, a leading industry business publication, estimates that the unsold inventory of machines and related parts, accessories and apparel that dealers have pulled off their showrooms and dumped in storage areas totals more than $100 million.

Smith’s planned protest is the latest step in the battle for the right to sell these small machines to youths.

The CPSC last week, in effect, tightened the restriction when it ruled that, under the law as written, products for children can’t contain ANY lead absorption into the human body, nor have ANY adverse impact on public health and safety, a seeming departure from the limit of 600 parts per million specified by the law.

Most machines have accessible components that contain some lead, especially those made with alloys such as aluminum and copper—valve stems, brakes, engine parts, for example.

This tough standard makes it virtually impossible for powersports companies to gain any exceptions, ones that Congressional leaders say are available under the law. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), a leading proponent of the CPSIA, told me that the agency has the authority to grant exceptions for ATVs and motorcycles.

The CPSC claims it can’t do that, and our industry is caught in the middle.

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One Small Word Ties Up ATV, Motorcycle Industry

March 12, 2009

CPSC Is Hung Up on Terminology In Child Safety Law
Battle Between Agency and Congress Continues

The Devil is in the details, they say, and that seems to be the case in the latest episode in the lingering battle between the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the rest of the world.

Yesterday (March 11, 2009) the CPSC published a final rule covering lead content in toys designed for children aged 12 and younger that virtually slams the door on industry efforts to avoid the foolish ban on kid’s quads, motorcycles and related parts, accessories and apparel items. The ban on kid’s toys was effective Feb. 10, 2009.

It all hinges on the three-letter word “any” that appears twice in the wide-ranging Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that became law last August.

The CPSIA was written to protect young children from eating small toys and jewelry that contained excessive amounts of lead, more than 600 parts per million. Good idea, but poor execution. It’s in those little detail thingees.

In its excitement and enthusiasm, Congress got carried away and extended the safety rules to everything from clothing and cribs to ATVs and motorcycles. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was one of the leading proponents of the bill.

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Congress, CPSC Aren’t Working Together

February 25, 2009

Finger Pointing Isn’t Solving the Problem

It’s been 14 days since kid’s ATVs, motorcycles and related gear were unfairly banned from sale in the U.S., and there doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight. Why not? Isn’t that a reasonable question?

It seems, from my perspective, that we have two Washington heavyweights fighting for control of a piece of turf, while consumers, retailers and manufacturers are inconvenienced, endangered and losing money, to boot.

Look at consumers. We have youngsters who can’t buy an ATV or dirt bike that fits them, a very dangerous situation that pushes them into riding larger, powerful machines designed for adults. At the same time, we have children riding ATVs and dirt bikes that can’t be repaired because parts for these machines can’t be sold.

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ATV Ban Could Cost $1 Billion This Year

February 24, 2009

That’s About $3 Million Every Day the Ban Continues

Here’s a nice round number that the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) might want to think about when it considers whether or not to drop the ban on kid’s ATVs and motorcycles: $1 billion.

That’s one estimate of the impact on the powersports industry if the ban were to last throughout 2009. It was put together by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the industry trade group based in Irvine, Calif.

“The potential losses for the powersports industry are massive at a time when this country cannot afford additional economic losses,” says Paul Vitrano, general counsel for MIC and its partner organization the SVIA (Specialty Vehicle Institute of America). “With these vehicles sitting in warehouses instead of on showroom floors, the related sales of most protective gear, accessories, and parts and services are virtually non-existent. Thousands of small businesses across America are impacted by this ban.”

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Missouri Legislator Organizes Email Flood

February 19, 2009

Website Generates 53,000 Emails to CPSC

MIC Delivers 4,400 Letters to Agency

Sen. Klobuchar Questions CPSC’s Lack of Action

Tom Self is the parent of two young motocross riders and he’s unhappy about the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that was signed by President Bush last August. The law bans the sale of ATVs and dirt bikes designed primarily for youths ages 12 and under as of Feb. 10, if the machines contain excessive amounts of lead.

Unfortunately, most youth machines are affected by the law because lead is used in batteries and many alloys such as copper, steel and aluminum contained in valve stems, engine components and vehicle frames.

The law also limits the use of formaldehyde in apparel and phthalates, a chemical used to add flexibility in many plastic products.

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Grassroots Efforts Aim at CPSC, Congress

February 17, 2009

Websites Send Thousands of Emails to Congress
MIC/SVIA CPSC Letter Campaign Generates Strong Response

The recent letter writing campaign pushed by trade groups to change the ban on kid’s ATVs and dirt bikes  found a ready group of exhibitors and attendees at last weekend’s huge Dealer Expo, the motorcycle industry’s annual B2B equipment show in Indianapolis.

And a website launched by a Missouri state representative has generated tens of thousands of emails to congress in only a few days.

Officials at the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), a trade group located in Irvine, Calif., collected nearly 4,400 signed letters at the Dealer Expo last weekend in support of exclusions under the law for the powersports industry by the end of the four-day show Monday afternoon.  MIC representatives plan to deliver these letters to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) this week and send copies to Congressional leaders to urge their support for MIC/SVIA’s request for exclusions. The SVIA (Specialty Vehicle Institute of America) is a trade group representing manufacturers of off-road equipment.

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CPSC Approves Sale of Units for Youths, 12-15

February 17, 2009

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said Saturday it has heard the concerns of the motorcycle and ATV industries and riders and is taking action to meet their needs.

The agency is charged with implementing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that was signed by President Bush last August. The law limits the amounts of lead in paint and materials contained in products designed primarily for youth age 12 and under.

Effective Feb. 10, 2009, any products for children that did not meet the requirements specified in the law could not be sold. These items include ATVs, dirt bikes, apparel, and related parts and accessories for these items.

Now, the agency has decided that machines designated for youths 12-15, formerly the Y12 category, are not prohibited under the CPSIA and can be sold, an agency representative told Dealernews magazine.

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CPSC Blocks MIC Lead Content Petition

February 17, 2009

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has denied the motorcycle industry’s request for temporary relief from the lead content rule covering children’s toys that became effective Feb. 10, 2009, saying it didn’t have authority to grant that relief.

The petitions filed by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) sought temporary exclusions that would have provided an opportunity for powersports companies to clear out inventories that do not meet the new standards.  The CPSC now will consider the MIC/SVIA submissions as it finalizes its rule-making for granting permanent exclusions (more…)