Posts Tagged ‘MIC’

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

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Second EICMA-China Show Set for July 2011

November 4, 2010

Seen as an exchange of commerce at the global level

MILAN (Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010)— The second annual EICMA-China motorcycle show has been scheduled for July 2-4,2011, at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, show organizers said here today.

Plans for the show were announced at a press conference conducted by the event’s planners: CIME (China Italy Motorcycle Exhibition), a joint venture of EICMA, the China Chamber of Commerce for Motorcycles (CCCMA) and the Genertec International Advertising & Exhibition Company.

This year’s show was held last July in Beijing and drew 130 exhibitors and about 45,000 attendees. More than 200 exhibitors are expected to participate in next year’s show, said CCCM’s Bingnan Chen.

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Opening Day at EICMA’s Motorcycle Show

November 3, 2010

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with the director of EICMA Costantino Ruggiero during opening day ceremonies. It's a memorable show for Ruggiero, who is retiring this year after 25 years as executive director of ANCMA, the Italian motorcycle and bicycle trade association, and head of the group's EICMA show.

Huge show venue covers area of nearly 47 football fields

MILAN — It’s been seven years since I walked this world’s largest motorcycle show,but it seems as though I was never gone.

While much has changed at EICMA, much is the same— the almost overwhelming size, the jammed press conference schedule on the first two days (Tuesday and Wednesday have 21 press conferences) devoted to trade and press representatives. The doors open to the general public on Thursday. By the time this 68th edition of EICMA wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 7, close to 500,000 people will have walked these aisles.

The highlight of the first day, for Italians certainly if not for foreign visitors, was the opening ceremony featuring Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Security seemed especially tight for Berlusconi’s visit this year and made it almost impossible to move through the presentation area in the main administration building that houses EICMA offices and the media room where we do a lot of our work. The media center is set up with computer facilities, and it hosts the drop off area where exhibitors distribute information to the media.

Unlike in past sessions when Italy’s top politicians opened the show with comments related to motorcycles, often discussing transportation issues and plans for boosting Italy’s important motorcycle and bicycle industries, Berlusconi used Tuesday’s event as an opportunity to poke barbs at his political opponents and to talk about general political issues. Recycling,  garbage issues in Naples and proposed wire tap legislation didn’t hold much interest for international guests looking for news about motorcycles.

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Examples of Chinese IPR Fraud Build Up

June 11, 2010

Companies and organizations wishing to talk with a Congressional committee about the issue of intellectual property theft by Chinese manufacturers are beginning to pile up, a member of the federal agency investigating the problem told me this week.

However, none of the firms willing to testify before the Senate Finance Committee are from the powersports industry. Meanwhile, however, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) continues to collect information from its members, and it plans to have a report prepared next month. If you are a member of the MIC, you can comment through the organization’s website at mic.org.

Read more about the investigation here; the public record for this investigation may be viewed here.

“We have over a dozen witnesses scheduled for the hearing,” said John Kitzmiller, an analyst with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in Washington. “Some are from associations that encompass at least some of the powersports industry, i.e., National Association of Manufacturers, but none are recognizably from the industry.

“Although the deadline for asking to appear at the hearing has passed, we welcome written submissions through July 9, and I would be happy to speak with anyone that wanted to get their views into the report. They can call me or I’ll be happy to call them. I’m normally at my desk from 6:30am to 3:00pm EDT.” You can reach Kitzmiller at John.Kitzmiller@usitc.gov or 202-205-3387.

Here is important information if you wish to submit comments to the ITC:

DATES
June 15, 2010: Public hearing.
June 22, 2010: Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs and statements.
July 9, 2010: Deadline for filing all other written submissions.
Nov. 19, 2010: First report due to the Senate Finance Committee.
May 2, 2011: Second report due to the Senate Finance Committee.

ADDRESSES
All Commission offices, including the Commission’s hearing rooms, are located in the United States International Trade Commission Building
500 E Street SW, Washington, DC.
All written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Project Leaders: Katherine Linton (katherine.linton@usitc.gov or 202-205-3393) and Alexander Hammer (alexander.hammer@usitc.gov or 202-205-3271) or Deputy Project Leader Jeremy Wise (jeremy.wise@usitc.gov or 202-205-3190).

Contact me with news tips or story ideas at
jdelmont@dealernews.com or 612/845-8091.

Where’s the Anger About Chinese Stealing Ideas?

May 28, 2010

Lack of Response to Federal Investigation Is Puzzling.
Were You Ripped Off? Now Is the Time To Tell Your Story.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly after I posted this story, I heard from my friends at the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) regarding a survey they are doing pertaining to the USITC investigation. I want to pass on this information to you, so you can participate, if you wish. The MIC is surveying members and compiling comments on IP infringement. If you’re an MIC member, you can find more information on the MIC survey here. The survey will take only a few minutes to complete. The MIC’s Paul Vitrano told me today that powersports companies are participating and providing data for an industry comment package. “The more responses that we receive,” he says, “the more thorough comments we will be able to submit. For details on the MIC project, contact Scot Begovich (sbegovich@mic.org) or Paul Vitrano (pvitrano@mic.org) or call the MIC at (949) 727-4211.

I’ve been hearing complaints about the Chinese stealing designs and ideas from other manufacturers for years— at EICMA, at Dealer Expo, in private conversations— it’s a topic that never fails to generate comments. Until now.

Now, when the federal government is investigating cases of Chinese companies stealing intellectual property, nobody wants to talk about it. I wrote about the investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) several weeks ago, but there’s been virtually no response from the business community. There’s a public hearing scheduled for June 15, 2010, but there’s been virtually no response from the powersports industry. Zero. None. Read my previous post here.

What’s up? Too busy? Don’t care? Don’t want to get involved? I suppose it doesn’t matter why no one has responded to the USITC’s requests for comments, the only thing that matters is that the commission isn’t getting the information it needs to help solve the problem.

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Feds Investigate Chinese IPR Theft

May 7, 2010

Hearing Scheduled for June 15, 2010.
It’s an Opportunity To Tell Your Story.

Another federal agency has joined the battle on Chinese manufacturers who are selling illegal goods in the U.S. First, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took aim at Chinese with its child safety provisions, then the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) began grabbing containers of Chinese powersports products as they entered U.S. ports looking for emissions violations.

Now the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched an investigation into the effects of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement on the U.S. economy and U.S. jobs. The investigation was requested by the Senate Finance Committee.

The investigation will study violations of copyrights, patents, trademarks, and design registrations.

The ITC  will  publish its findings in two reports. The first will provide a description of the types of reported IPR infringement and China’s related policies on procurement of “indigenous innovation” which could limit the sale of U.S. products within China. This could be of special interest to U.S. companies such as Polaris and Harley-Davidson as they attempt to expand into the Chinese consumer markets.

The second report could be much more explosive. It will describe the size and scope of IPR infringement by Chinese companies and the effect of these actions on U.S. jobs and on the sales and profits of U.S. companies. In addition to Polaris, Harley and Arctic Cat, among others, these companies include U.S. operations of Japanese companies such as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, according to an ITC official.

Depending upon how broadly the ITC wants to define U.S. companies, it could include most powersports companies doing business here, including OEMs such as BRP, KTM, Piaggio and Triumph, as well as aftermarket companies.

The report on types of IPR infringement is due by Nov. 19, 2010, and the second— on the impact of these infringements— is due May 2, 2011.

In requesting the investigation, Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) wrote that more than 80 percent of goods seized at U.S. ports for IPR infringements came from China. He also noted that intellectual property accounts for more than 40 percent of U.S. economic growth.

As part of the investigation, the USITC will hold a public hearing  on June 15, 2010. Written comments also will be accepted. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

I’ve been hearing for years about how Chinese manufacturers steal designs and produce replicas of popular machines and PG&A items made by U.S.,  Japanese and other manufacturers. Now is your chance to step forward and describe how your products have been illegally copied and how you have been financially injured.

If you’re concerned about dealing with the ITC but want to tell your story, contact me. I can get your information to the ITC.

Here is important information if you wish to submit comments to the ITC:

DATES
June 1, 2010: Deadline for filing requests to appear at the public hearing.
June 3, 2010: Deadline for filing pre-hearing briefs and statements.
June 15, 2010: Public hearing.
June 22, 2010: Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs and statements.
July 9, 2010: Deadline for filing all other written submissions.
Nov. 19, 2010: First report due to the Senate Finance Committee.
May 2, 2011: Second report due to the Senate Finance Committee.

ADDRESSES
All Commission offices, including the Commission’s hearing rooms, are located in the United States International Trade Commission Building
500 E Street SW, Washington, DC.
All written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

The public record for this investigation may be viewed here.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Project Leaders: Katherine Linton (katherine.linton@usitc.gov or 202-205-3393) and Alexander Hammer (alexander.hammer@usitc.gov or 202-205-3271) or Deputy Project Leader Jeremy Wise (jeremy.wise@usitc.gov or 202-205-3190).
Analyst, John Kitzmiller (John.Kitzmiller@usitc.gov or 202-205-3387).  JD

Contact me with news tips or story ideas at
jdelmont@dealernews.com or 952/893-6876.

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.

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MIC Promotes Use of Off-Road Vehicles in China

March 2, 2010

Participates In Italian-Chinese Trade Show Talks

When representatives of the Italian motorcycle industry announced last November that they intended to launch a major motorcycle show in  China, this year, it caught the attention of Tim Buche, head of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), the U.S. association of motorcycle, ATV and scooter manufacturers.

“I suggested that there was good value in the MIC facilitating a dialogue on the evolving market for ATVs and similar products in China while I was at the EICMA show last November,” Buche told me last evening. Constantino Ruggiero, managing director of EICMA, agreed. And so the Americans began playing a significant role in putting together this year’s show in China.

EICMA is the huge annual motorcycle show held in Milano, Italy. EICMA is owned and operated by the Italian trade association of motorcycle and bicycle manufacturers and producers of aftermarket parts and accessories (ANCMA). It was founded in 1920 and has more than 170 members. For more information on ANCMA, click here.

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Bank Lending Will Improve— Slowly

February 22, 2010

Says Chamber of Commerce Economist at Dealer Expo

INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re looking for working capital for your small business, don’t count on getting it from your local banker any time soon, says a leading economist. Martin Regalia, chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told a gathering of business executives at the Dealer Expo here it will take about six months for banks to return to “normal lending practices.”

Martin Regalia

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), Regalia said that it will take time for banks to define the risks— financial and regulatory— before they feel comfortable lending again.

“The biggest factor in getting banks lending again is time,” said Regalia. “Banks are in it to make money like everybody else, and contrary to what the president says, you cannot run a free enterprise system without risk.

“Risk is what we all take. It’s what we all manage, and it’s why we make the money we do. Without risk, there is no return—nobody pays you for certainty. So, banks are in it to manage risk. As time goes on a little bit, they will get a better feel for that risk, and they will begin to lend, and they will probably, at some point down the road, overshoot again and under price and over lend to the risk. But that takes time.”

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