Posts Tagged ‘PWC’

Let Dealernews Be Your Public Voice

August 21, 2009

Note: The following was written back in April for our May issue.

Dealer Jack O’Neill complains in this month’s “InBox” about how difficult it was this year to earn co-op advertising funds for his Yamaha PWC business. To get funds at all, he said, he would have had to order at least 90 percent of what Yamaha recommended. Instead he ordered 50 percent and got nothing.

We rarely get angry letters from dealers, so they tend to take priority. Our standard procedure is to call the offending party for comment. In this case I was dealing with Yamaha through a PR agency. I e-mailed Jack’s letter to the agent, and he promptly replied that he’d call me the next day. And so he did.

He told me that he’d learned that Jack apparently had had a beef with Yamaha for years. In other words, the dispute was personal. From the agent’s tone of voice, I sensed he was halfway expecting me to throw the letter out.

But I had spoken with Jack, and he had said specifically that his complaint was not personal. None of his other PWC suppliers, he had said, required so much of him to earn co-op dollars. And even if the (more…)

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Ecowatercraft Hopes to Offer Electric PWC

June 4, 2009

EcoWatercraft is a company planning to be the first all electric personal watercraft manufacturer to go into production.
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The company is the brainchild of founder Barrett Taylor. Taylor says, as a collegiate triathlete, he often swam amongst extremely heavy fumes expelled from the personal watercraft patrolling the swim site – something that coaxed him to look more closely at the health implications of breathing in toxic fumes and served as inspiration to assemble a team dedicated to bringing an electric personal watercraft to market.

Why electric? According to Taylor, the ECO emits no emissions, operates in complete silence, expands PWC use by being permitted on many lakes that restrict gasoline vehicles, benefits from acceleration inherent in electric vehicles, and offers convenience by requiring no fuels, oil or maintenance.

Sounds good, right? Many “green” blogs and websites appear to think so. However, there are a couple of statements that show a glaring lack of industry knowledge.

First, EcoWatercraft claims it “will be the first American personal watercraft corporation.” In fact, Minnesota-based powersports manufacturers Arctic Cat and Polaris were in the market years ago.

Second, Ecowatercraft says it “will provide the most customer oriented experience in the personal watercraft industry.” Dubious, since they’ll first have to gain the financial strength equal to or greater than companies like Kawasaki, Yamaha, BRP and Honda. Plus, they’ll likely be selling through the same dealers as those other OEMs.

Finally, Ecowatercraft, throughout its marketing literature, uses Kawasaki’s trademarked “JetSki” name in lieu of the general term of “personal watercraft.” A rookie mistake, for sure.

SBA Details New Alternative Loan Criteria

May 4, 2009

Average  After Tax Income Less Than $3 Million? You May Qualify

Two Methods To Figure Eligibility Now Available

The Small Business Administration today clarified its new guidelines for loan guarantees as they apply to small business such as powersports dealers and manufacturers. The alternate company size standards announced May 1, 2009, apply to motorcycle, ATV, and personal watercraft firms. This updates an earlier post  here with additional information.

The SBA has created a second, more liberal, alternate standard for small businesses that couldn’t qualify for an SBA-backed loan under the original standard.

These are not NEW standards, an SBA spokesman told me, they’re alternative standards designed to expand the program to smaller businesses that have been seriously affected by the current economic downturn.

(more…)

Clarkson: A powersports fanatic

April 22, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson, one-third of the presenting team for the top-rated BBC television show Top Gear, was spotted this week atop a Yamaha Waverunner VX110 while on vacation in Barbados.
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As the pictures attest to, the 49-year-old appeared to have enjoyed piloting the 110hp four-stroke PWC as much as driving a 510hp Lamborghini Gallardo.

Last September, photographers spotted the presenter, who often derides motorcyclists, astride a Piaggio scooter near his home in Oxfordshire. Click here to read what Clarkson had to say about his buzz around town on the scoot.

Inventor Patents Passenger ‘Safety Grips’

March 9, 2009

An inventor from Portland, Ore., has patented an accessory that he says would help passengers of motorcycles, ATVs and personal watercraft hold on to the operator.

Inventor service company InventHelp publicized the product, but failed to name its inventor client. outmax800refixt1

The “Safety Grips” (not to be confused with the previously released “Buddy Belt”) consist of a nylon, padded belt that is secured via hook-and-loop fasteners. Sewn into the rear of the belt would be a pair of upright handles facing the passenger. In use, the operator would adjust the belt to fit his or her waist, and the passenger grips the handles throughout the duration of the ride.

According to InventHelp, the inventor was inspired to create the Safety Grips after an off-roading trip. “We used this belt while riding quads on sand dunes at the beach, and we got a lot of positive feedback from both passengers and operators,” he said.

Lets hope the inventor was riding the ATV in the prescribed manner – in other words, not riding two-up on a single rider vehicle. Existing two-up ATVs, from BRP and Arctic Cat, come supplied with multi-position passenger grab rails and backrest.

Wanted: Copy Editor

February 6, 2009

Has anyone else noticed the photo used on Parts Unlimited’s 2009 Street Catalog features a rider in a Speed & Strength jacket?

I visited Hitching Post, my local dealership, this morning to kick some tires and talk shop. The dealership received its 2009 PU Street catalog yesterday. The PG&A guys thought I’d be interested in the cover art. I was.

Speed & Strength is a new apparel brand from Tucker Rocky Distributing.

Economy Has Yamaha Cutting Costs

January 19, 2009

Takashi Kajikawa, president and CEO, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., says the company is going forwardyamahalogo with several cost-cutting initiatives in an effort to streamline its corporate structure and maximize profits to combat the current economic climate.

“The economic crisis grew beyond anything we could have anticipated, compelling us to revise our business plan,” Kajikawa says. “Like so many companies hit hard by the economic nosedive, we are now challenged to maximize our core capabilities just to survive.”

Click here to read more about what Kajikawa has to say.

Honda Begins New Online Marketing Effort

January 19, 2009

Honda has launched a new marketing campaign that uses an interactive strategy and short “documentary” films contained within a multi-layered Web site.

The Web site destination, dreams.honda.com, showcases Honda’s “Dream the Impossible Documentary Series.”  Three short films (about 6- 8 minutes in length) debuted with the campaign launch Jan. 12; additional films will be added every few months. Two of the films discuss core values that have inspired generations of Honda associates by telling the stories of impossible engineering challenges and exploring where failure brought Honda and what success came of it. The third film explores the future of mobility.

The company plans to use online media to generate awareness for the campaign, drive traffic to the new site and help create consumer buzz. Spots (:30 and :15 spots using footage from the films) will run during television shows broadcast online on ABC.com, CBS.com, NBC.com and Hulu.com. Unique page takeovers, roadblocks and pre-roll placements will launch late January through early February on Wired, Gawker Network, Discovery Channel, Time, Yahoo! and CNN.

Learn more here.

Honda Plans Halt to ATV, PWC Production in S.C.

January 13, 2009

Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. plans to cease production of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and personal watercraft (PWC) for three months beginning in March.

Click here to learn why.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. ends its business year March 31. In 2007, Honda’s sales of ATVs in North America decreased 4.5 percent to 211,000 units.

In 2003, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford helped Honda of South Carolina Mfg. dedicate its new personal watercraft assembly plant in Timmonsville, S.C. The plant became Honda's second in Timmonsville and 12th in North America.

In 2003, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford helped Honda of South Carolina Mfg. dedicate its new personal watercraft assembly plant in Timmonsville, S.C. The plant became Honda's second in Timmonsville and 12th in North America.

Kawasaki – Made in the USA

January 6, 2009

Kawasaki operates six businesses in the United States, two of which pertain to consumer products:kmm1 Kawasaki Motor Corp USA (KMC), the sales unit, and Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. USA (KMM), the production unit.

KMM, a sister company and supplier to Irvine, Calif.-based KMC, has operations in Lincoln, Neb., and Maryville, Mo. KMM builds all of Kawasaki’s ATVs, Jet Ski personal watercraft and Mule utility vehicles.

Here’s what I learned during a visit to the Lincoln site.

Kawasaki became the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to enter the U.S. The consumer products manufacturing facility in Lincoln, located on 335 acres, opened in 1974 as a 286,000 sq. ft. plant.
At the time, the company was producing motorcycle and personal watercraft stateside, cranking out about 50,000 units annually during those first few years.

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Today, an estimated 1,000 workers produce about 120,000 vehicles each year at the nearly 1.3 million sq. ft. facility. Production operations include fiberglass molding, fabrication, welding, rim forming, painting and assembly. The site also produces wheels sold to BRP, Honda, Polaris and Suzuki.

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Bruce Spilker, a KMM production supervisor, says the three ATV assembly lines in Lincoln produce about 100 units daily while the personal watercraft assembly line kicks out about 120 boats per day. Each production line is capable of mixed model production. Production schedules come monthly from KMC. A recently completed fourth assembly line, formerly dedicated to motorcycle assembly, produces Mule utility vehicles.

atvchassis bodyplacement wheelattachment

KMM’s Maryville plant opened in 1989 for production of general-purpose engines. Employing more than 600 workers, the facility has grown to more than 700,000 sq. ft. on 113.7 acres and produces about 500,000 units annually. Workers complete die-casting, injection molding, machining, painting and assembly.

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Both the Lincoln and Maryville plants operate on a “just in time” supply method, which eliminates massive amounts of warehousing and over-ordering of parts.

Click here to learn more about powersports manufacturers’ operations in the U.S.