Thursday, 17 April 2014

German growth

Continued growth in German PTW sales

The good news in new motorcycle registration terms in Europe continues with the latest data from the IVM, the motorcycle industry trade association in Germany, showing that total PTW registrations in March were up by 16.7 percent (25,302 units) over March 2013, and that for the three months of the year to date, registrations are up by 25.4 percent at 38,375 units.

This marks the strongest first quarter performance in Germany since 2008, and puts March back to pre-recessionary levels.

In motorcycle registration terms, March saw a 14.6 percent growth (19,141 units) with the year to date showing a 24.8 percent increase at 28,617 units.

With the exception of 2012 (19,996 units), that is the strongest March motorcycle sales performance in Germany, and the strongest first quarter performance since the downturn began.

March is traditionally the strongest month for new PTW and motorcycle registrations in Germany, so if the trend continues for April (traditionally the second strongest month), then the German market will be well on the way to posting genuine growth in 2014, and a 36 month cycle since January 2012 of improvement when only 3 (weather-hit) months have shown anything greater than a 1 percent decline in motorcycle registrations.

Yamaha sales up

Yamaha sales up in "developed markets"

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd net sales in the fiscal year ending December 31, 2013 were up by 16.8 percent at 1,410.5 billion yen (+ 202.8 billion yen). Increased motorcycle sales in Indonesia and India, and increased outboard motor sales in North America, in addition to the effects of the depreciating yen, are said to have led to an increase in sales in all businesses.

Net sales of motorcycles overall increased by 129.5 billion yen from the previous fiscal year, to 928.2 billion yen (+16.2 percent), with operating income of 8.4 billion yen.

Unit sales in "developed markets" increased due to the introduction of new models in Japan and North America, and sales in Europe improved in the second half, leading to an overall increase. Unit sales in emerging markets, while up in India (where scooter demand is expanding) and Indonesia (where demand is recovering), they decreased in Thailand and Vietnam (where the economic slowdown is continuing), leading to a slight decrease overall.

As a result, overall global unit sales decreased slightly, but net sales increased due to model mix improvements and the effects of the depreciating yen. Regarding operating income, despite active expenditure on development and sales promotional costs in developed markets and the costs associated with structural reforms in Europe, cost reductions and the effects of the depreciating yen led to increased income.

In other Yamaha news, the company has received a prestigious Red Dot award in the Product Design category, following up on the iF design award it received in February.

Sold primarily in Europe since September 2013, the MT-09 features a newly-designed engine developed along the lines of the 'Cross-plane' concept, with a mass-forward design that is said to deliver linear torque in response to rider throttle input.

The latest new product news from Yamaha has seen the company (belatedly?) follow Piaggio into what Yamaha is terming the LMW (Leaning Multi Wheel) class, with the launch of the 'TRICITY' 125 cc automatic transmission commuter model.  Yamaha have a patent pending on the LMW designation, as definition for vehicles with three wheels or more that lean through corners like a motorcycle.

It will be launched on the Thai market in April 2014 and is Yamaha Motor's first multi-wheeled production vehicle, and represents what the company describes as "our long-term vision of a growing world of personal mobility". Developed under the concept of a "New Standard City Commuter" model, the new 'TRICITY' is said to achieve the same ease of operation characteristics of an automatic transmission motorcycle, and is the first in what the company says will be a series of LMW designs as it endeavours to populate and grow this new commuter vehicle market category.

The 'TRICITY' is a "global model" that will be manufactured in Thailand, and plans call for sales to begin in Europe and Japan before the end of 2014.


Alternative fuels Directive

ACEM, the Brussels based motorcycle industry trade association for Europe, has welcomed the European Parliament vote on the Directive on the deployment of alternative fuels - describing it as "a first step towards common standards", but say that "much remains to be done".

"The motorcycle industry is particularly pleased that the final text responds to ACEM's views regarding the inclusion of L-category vehicles (mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles) and the need for a technology-neutral approach that does not favour any alternative fuel over the other.

"The industry also welcomes the recognition that L-category vehicles running on alternative fuels have the potential to contribute to meeting the EU's ambitious climate and energy targets for 2020".

ACEM went on to say that while most L-category vehicles are well suited for electric power, due to their intrinsic characteristics of being small, light and specialised, vehicles running on alternative, low emissions fuels such as electricity and hydrogen still represent a low share of the L-category fleet.

"Increasing the availability of public charging points could change this situation and facilitate the deployment of L-category vehicles powered by alternative fuels, particularly in urban and suburban areas.

"The adoption of common standards for electric chargers is of paramount importance for the industry. The standards currently being prepared by CEN/CENELEC under Mandate M/468 of the European Commission should ensure European-wide interoperability and guarantee the required safety and security level for the consumer”.

CEN (the European Committee for Standardisation) and CENELEC (the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation) are two of the three primary officially recognised European Standardisation Organisations that develop and agree the safety and quality standards for consumer products.

"ACEM strongly believes that recharging points for L-category vehicles should be equipped with connectors of Type 3A. This solution would avoid a multiplicity of different cables and adaptors and retrofit costs for switching to different charging systems. Moreover it would help to create a secure investment climate for L-category vehicle manufacturers and would prevent the risk of stranded assets resulting from interim solutions".

ACEM points to the risk that "first movers in the field of electromobility could be penalised by this new legal framework and calls again on policy makers to ensure that L-category vehicles already in circulation in the EU that are fitted with a domestic plug are able to recharge after the entry into force of this Directive".

Commenting on the outcome of the vote ACEM Secretary General Jacques Compagne said: “The removal of minimum national targets for recharging points [has] significantly watered down the Commission’s proposal. 

"While the compromise reached by the Parliament and the Council is not perfect, it paves the way for more technical predictability, something that L-category vehicle manufacturers require.

"The next step now is to ensure that appropriate standards are approved by CEN/CENELEC and that the necessary delegated acts, catering for electric and hydrogen L-category vehicles, are adopted by the Commission. Further work at national level will be required in order to deploy the necessary infrastructure”.

O'Neal Europe

2Wheel-Distribution rebrands as O’Neal Europe

As of April 1, 2014 UK and Germany based distributor 2Wheel-Distribution (2WD) changed its name to O’Neal Europe GmbH & Co. KG, and will be responsible for all O’Neal international sales and marketing outside of USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

The company says that it has grown European sales of the O’Neal brand 700% since its inception in 2006 - success that Thomas Schwarz, 2Wheel-Distribution’s President, attributes “to satisfied B2B channel partners”. “The basics are always the most important. Being able to deliver a quality product, on time, to your customers is where their satisfaction begins”.

2WD (O’Neal Europe) say that their success can also be attributed to “familiarity with different European cultures, languages, and the individual requirements for each market.” Their multi-lingual sales team consists of 28 agents, four country managers, one export manager, and six in-house sales agents.
Schwarz says that the logistics and sales network the business has built serves 18 distributors and some 2,000 dealers across Europe, and that it is a “truly global” brand boasting 46 distributors and manufacturing plants in five countries across the globe.

American Report 17th April 2014

Polaris adds Wisconsin based Kolpin to its off-road vehicle and accessory line-up

POLARIS Industries continues on the acquisition trail, buying Kolpin Outdoors, Inc., a privately owned, Wisconsin-based company that is best known for its off-road vehicle (ORV) accessories, and branded and private label powersports accessories and outdoor lifestyle products. This acquisition adds further to Polaris’ growing parts, garments and accessories (PG&A) business. “Acquiring Kolpin Outdoors, Inc. creates a multitude of growth opportunities for our PG&A business, which is a key contributor to Polaris’ top-line growth and profitability,” said Steve Eastman, Polaris’ Vice President of PG&A. “Kolpin is a trusted brand among ORV riders, hunters, outdoorsmen and landowners who value the quality and reliability Kolpin builds into their powersports accessories.

"Their line-up of exceptional products and deep consumer and retail relationships will help Polaris expand their aftermarket accessories portfolio and enhance their traditional and online distribution channels”.

Founded in 1943, Kolpin products will continue to be sold under the Kolpin and Cycle Country brands, with customised private label products available through its Premier O.E.M. business. Speaking for Kolpin, President and CEO Tom Lutes said that “it gives all of us at Kolpin great pride to become part of the Polaris family. Although different in size, we share many of the same values...small town roots, quality products, lifestyle brand focus and a rich heritage in product innovation”.

In 2013 Polaris posted sales of $3.8 billion. Polaris specialises in snowmobiles and off-road vehicles, and having established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with Victory, the company added the Indian Motorcycle brand two years ago and launched the first models in a new range at EICMA in November last year.

This isn't the company's first play on the utility off-road vehicle sector, having bought the French Aixam Mega business four years ago, and having made a play for the on-road small electric/hybrid powered vehicle industry with the acquisition of American "neighbourhood electric vehicle" (NEV) manufacturer Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), and Bourran, France-based specialist Goupil Industrie SA, a manufacturer of on-road, commercial electric vehicles. Other strategic investments by Polaris in recent years have included acquisition of the Klim apparel brand.


The MIC is to stage its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 19-20, 2014. The decision to host their event in the US capital is designed to give its membership (which now includes dealers as well as motorcycle manufacturers and aftermarket vendors) the opportunity to join the MIC’s ongoing mission to maintain a high profile for motorcycle industry concerns.

BMW of North America has recalled 4,453 motorcycles and scooters to replace the side stand switch - models affected include C 600/650, F 700/800 and R 1200 variants. BMW said the problem was traced to a tooling change at the supplier, Toyo Jiann Tsang Electric Co. Ltd. in Taiwan.

The MIC has launched what it calls its 'MAX database', a "New Model Attribute Matrix" designed to help improve product compatibility by providing information that can help manufacturers improve product capability by compiling, into one database, model specifications for motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and ROVs. The database is said to include more than 40 attributes for nearly all models from leading brands dating back to 2004.

American Honda has had to recall some 7,000 2013 CB/CBR 500s for replacement of rocker arm shaft retaining bolts that may have been manufactured incorrectly, allowing them to loosen during engine operation.

Erik Buell Racing

EBR stages successful debut at MotoDays in Rome

ERIK Buell Racing (EBR), the US manufacturer of supersport motorcycles, made their first public appearance in Europe at MotoDays in Rome on 6–9 March. The EBR 1190RX was launched in October 2013; EBR Europe was founded a short time later with head office in Alkmaar (The Netherlands), headed up by former Triumph and Zero Motorcycles man Edwin Belonje. 

"Following an initial get-acquainted tour of selected motorcycle dealers in several European countries, MotoDays in Rome was the official public opening of EBR in Europe. Two main reasons for choosing MotoDays were the strong tradition of sport bikes in Italy and the timing, just before the start of the motorcycle season," commented Belonje.

"Since then we have had many constructive conversations with interested dealers, and I expect to be able to officially designate several EBR dealers in the near future. This means we are making great progress in setting up our European dealer network." 

The EBR 1190RX weighs just 190 kg, and its 1190-cc V-twin engine delivers an impressive 185 HP with 138 Nm of torque, and remarkably low emissions. The multi-function digital instrument cluster enables the rider to adjust performance parameters such as traction control, and it provides access to numerous other functions including track performance data, service intervals and system diagnostics.


Tank bag valve allows excess air to be removed

ITALIAN outdoor activity specialist Amphibious say "versatility and protection" is the name of the game with their air-free new motorcycle tank-bag.

Their "100 percent waterproof" design features a valve that allows the excess air to be removed, making the bag as small and compact as possible - the 25 litre capacity can be reduced to as low as 15 litres while still full of the rider’s items.

Doubling up as a backpack, Amphibious say the concept has been developed from their experience manufacturing "professional containers” for several outdoor activities (Amphibious are suppliers to the Italian Mountain Rescue Corps and the Italian Navy amongst others), and that their motorcycle-specific design incorporates many of the same technical features that they have developed for extreme use.

Weighing 650 grams, it is made of sturdy yet lightweight TPU, which is not stitched but seamed, using high frequency welding/bonding, with removable anti-shock sidewalls, a reinforced padded base, two side pockets, reflective stripes, D-rings and PVC handle.

The “motorcycle set” created by Amphibious also includes two different side bags, universal mounting bags, their FLUO range, leg bags, hip bags, backpacks and self-inflating cushions.


Lesmo (MB), ITALY

Tel. +39 039 6065 879