Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle Industry Council’

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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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.

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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U.S. Economic Outlook Turns MIC Breakfast Sour

February 22, 2010

Very Slow Growth Expected In Foreseeable Future

INDIANAPOLIS, In.  (Feb.22)—  Looking for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the U.S. economy this year? Well, we heard all about it during the Motorcycle Industry Council’s annual meeting at the Dealer Expo here.

Martin Regalia

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief economist, Martin Regalia, plopped the unpleasant news right in the middle our breakfast coffee and donuts in a most unappealing fashion. Unfortunately, the bad and the ugly outweighed the good by a wide margin.

Regalia saved his heaviest punches for President Obama’s new budget. But more about that later.

Here’s Regalia’s outlook, in a nutshell:

The Good: We’re coming out of the recession, although very slowly.

The Bad: We’re not growing fast enough to replace all the jobs we lost, among other things

The Ugly: We’re staggering under so much federal spending that we may never get the budget (more…)

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.

Ride Green? Why Not? The environmental case for Motorcycles

October 30, 2009

There was a lot of good information that came out of the recent Motorcycle Industry Council SymposiumMIC_left (Inroads to the Future) and believe it or not we plan to get that stuff up over at www.dealernews.com. So, until we carve out a chunk of time to write up some stories on what Paul Leinberger had to say and on the new Revive Your Ride program backed by the MIC Aftermarket Committe, we’ll do some quick and dirty here on the blog.

The MIC/DTM’s Ty van Hooydonk gave a brief presentation on the green angle (the Environment!) of motorcycling. Much has been said about this, especially during last year’s felonious sadistic high gas prices. Maybe too much as there have also been studies showing that motorcycles produce far more pollutants than cars. But Ty’s message was an attempt to move beyond the emissions argument for more of a total approach. Rather than parse what he said and try to re-explain it, Ty was kind enough to pass along his presentation that we’ll present in its entirety. Thanks, Ty.

The MIC is working to refine our green message for motorcycling, with some help from Sierra Research, which is one of the leading research and consulting firms in the field of air pollution control, and with Tom Austin (more…)

CPSC Ban Blocks Kid’s ATV Training

May 13, 2009

The CPSC ban that prevents the sale of ATVs made for kids 12 and under is causing a number of unintended problems, not the least of which is that THERE IS VIRTUALLY NO RIDER TRAINING AVAILABLE for youths.

The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) noted today (May 13, 2009) that trainers and machines no longer are available.

This affects individuals and groups such as the 4-H.

Here’s the problem with this: Kids can’t purchase appropriately sized machines so there is an inclination to ride larger, more powerful, machines designed for adults. And now they can’t even get rider training to help them in this dangerous situation.

The CPSC’s ban stems from the poorly-written Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) enacted last year.

Amendments to the law are needed to clarify the confusing safety issues/enforcement spelled out in the law. JD

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


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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The Many Faces of the Lead Content Fiasco

February 25, 2009

The Motorcycle Industry Council is on a forward push to get word out about the child ATV/Motorcycle ban and its devastating impact on the industry. MIC general counsel Paul Vitrano has appeared in just about all press accounts that I’ve read about the unintended consequences of the new lead content regulations.

Now, the MIC has posted a series of videos on YouTube featuring interviews with folks across the powersports spectrum explaining what all this means to their business. With no further ado here are a couple, starting with Scorpion Sport’s Eric Anderson:

And Randy Hawkins, seven time AMA National Enduro Champion:

And Jeff Fredette, AMA Hall of Famer and ISDE legend: