Thursday, 17 March 2016


Piaggio reports Vespa, Moto Guzzi and Aprilia all up in 2015

Good news from Italian giant Piaggio, with an overall reduction of -4.9% in Group sales volumes of all vehicle types (including commercial vehicles), counterbalanced by the revenue growth achieved by the continuing shift in the product mix towards products with higher unit value per unit, in line with Piaggio Group’s "premium price policy" - notably with a 26.7% revenue increase in the motorcycle segment.

In 2015, the Group sold 322,500 two-wheelers in total worldwide (334,200 in 2014), generating net sales of 884.9 million euro, an improvement of 5.2% from 841 million euro in 2014.
In its two-wheeler business, the Piaggio Group reported revenue growth in all the main geographical areas where it operates, with turnover of 665.5 million euro in the EMEA and Americas areas (+5% from 2014), 196.2 million euro in Asia Pacific (+3.8%) and 23.2 million euro in India (+26.2%).
On the European two-wheeler market, the Piaggio Group "reconfirmed its absolute leadership”, closing 2015 with an overall market share of 15.2% and a 24.1% market share in scooters (approximately 11 percentage points ahead of its second European competitor).

The Group says it also maintained a "particularly strong positioning" in the North American scooter market, with a market share of more than 20%.
In the scooter sector, the Group reported higher net sales for the Vespa brand (+3.5% on 2014), for 2015 worldwide shipments of 166,000 scooters. Revenues also improved in motorcycles, with an overall increase of 26.7%.
The revenue improvement was 27.4% for the Moto Guzzi brand, thanks to the success of the key new products launched in the first half of 2015 -the V7 750 range (44% increase in sales volumes from 2014) and the California 1400 range (36% increase in sales volumes).
In 2015, Moto Guzzi shipped a total of 7,880 vehicles, for growth of 24% from 2014.
The Aprilia motorcycle brand reported revenue growth of 36% from 2014. The Aprilia
Supersports bikes with the V4 engine, assisted by the benefits of Aprilia's MotoGP and Superbike activities, and its victory in the 2015 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, generated strong growth in sales in 2015, with an improvement of 56% in sales volumes for the RSV4 range and 74% in sales volumes for the Tuono 1100 models.
In November 2015, Piaggio previewed a number of new products at EICMA, including the new Piaggio Medley high-wheel scooter, the new Piaggio Liberty generation, the special Vespa “Settantesimo” models in the PX, Primavera and GTS versions, as well as the Piaggio WiBike, the pedal-assisted bicycle in four different configurations, entirely developed and built by Piaggio in Italy.
Moto Guzzi presented the V9 range, a 'Bobber' style motorbike with large wheels and a "dark spirit"; the V9 Roamer, a "smart classic mid-range custom motorbike"; the V7 II Stornello 750, and the powerful 1400cc MGX-21 ‘Flying Fortress’. 
To celebrate 54 world titles and its Superstock 1000 success, Aprilia unveiled the new Aprilia Racing Factory Works projects: custom racing bikes of up to 230 hp for professional riders, collectors and devotees.
In December 2015, the European Investment Bank and Piaggio signed a 70 million euro finance contract to fund Piaggio Group research and development projects at the Group’s Italian sites.
The seven year loan will support the development of innovative technological product and process solutions in active and passive safety, sustainability (including electric motors and reduction of fuel consumption in combustion engines) and customer satisfaction, based on research into new mobility concepts, new driver-vehicle interfaces, and communication and web access protocols.
In January 2016, Piaggio launched an updated Liberty. Originally introduced in 1997, the Piaggio Liberty has been a market best-seller with more than 900,000 scooters shipped in 18 years. The new Liberty features an air-cooled version of the new Piaggio iGet engines.
Financially the Piaggio Group closed 2015 with profit before tax of 20.1 million euro, compared with 26.5 million euro in 2014; and 11.9 million euro net profit, down from 16.1 million euro in 2014, mainly as a result of higher amortisation and depreciation expenses.
Net debt at 31 December 2015 was 498.1 million euro, an increase of approximately 5.3 million euro from 492.8 million euro at 31 December 2014. Group shareholders' equity at 31 December 2015 was 404.3 million euro (413.1 million euro at 31 December 2014).
Piaggio Group capital expenditure in 2015 amounted to 101.9 million euro (+7.4% from 94.9 million euro in 2014), of which 31.4 million euro were for R&D expenditure (31.8 million euro in 2014) and approximately 70.5 million euro for property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets (63.1 million euro in 2014).
Among the investments in Group industrial assets, a particularly important project is the new automated paint shop nearing completion at the Piaggio industrial facility in Pontedera (Pisa).
In 2014, investment at Pontedera included the insourcing of high-precision aluminium machining operations, with the opening of a dedicated shop. The new paint shop is a completely robotised operation that will be completed and opened in April 2016, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Vespa, whose first patent dates back to 23 April 1946. 
The total workforce of the Piaggio Group at 31 December 2015 numbered 7,053 employees. The Group’s Italian employees numbered 3,638, unchanged from the previous year.

Spanish motorcycle registrations

Spanish motorcycle registrations up by over +32 percent in February 2016

According to the latest data released by the motorcycle trade association in Spain (ANESDOR), the motorcycle market there was up by +32.40 percent in February at 9,047 units (from 6,833 in February 2015).

For the first two months of the year new motorcycle registrations in Spain are +29.69 percent at 17,684 units, compared to 13,636 units for the first two months of 2015.
In Moped terms the Spanish market was -9.73 percent on low volumes in February (974 units), making it down by -3.88 percent so far in 2016. In total PTW terms the market was +28.36 percent in February at 10,021 units, making it +25.97 percent for the first two months at 19,642 units.
At the end of 2015 ANESDOR announced that it expected the strong growth seen in 2015 to continue, with total PTW registrations for 2016 reaching some 162,000 units - that would be further growth of around 9 percent from the 148,000 units sold in 2015 - 131,595 of which were motorcycles (+19.55 percent over 2014).
At the time Jose Maria Riano, the General Secretary of ANESDOR, had said that "2015 has been a very positive year for the sector in Spain" and that in looking beyond the statistics "the motorcycle is clearly the choice of transport for millions of citizens in Spain, especially for their daily commute - PTWs are a major solution for mobility in Spain, reducing travel times between 50 and 70 percent, and reducing congestion and pollution".
Pointing to the greater age of the PTW fleet in Spain than is the case in neighbouring and nearby countries, he had again repeated his call for greater government support for the sector, "the average age of PTWs in Spain is 14.7 years. Despite the growth in new registrations, the fleet actually aged further in 2015 - pointing to a strong growth in the total motorcycle park here. We believe that a review of the financial framework in which the PTW industry operates is needed in Spain and that simplifying driving licenses would also favour fleet renewal".

BMW Motorrad

BMW Motorrad deliveries +12.1 percent for first two months of 2016

BMW Motorrad continues to achieve strong sales growth as the year gets underway, with deliveries for the year-to-date up by +12.1%.
Around the world, a total of 17,323 BMW motorcycles and maxi-scooters have been delivered to customers so far in 2016.
In February specifically, deliveries were 9,835 units - which is +7.0 percent over February 2016.

UK motorcycle registrations

UK motorcycle registrations +21 percent YTD

The latest data released by the motorcycle industry trade association in the UK (MCIA) shows that new motorcycle registrations for February 2016 were +26.66 percent at 4,423 units for the month and are +21.26 percent for the year-to-date at 9,650 units.

In total PTW terms, February was +24.77 percent (4,972 units) and the total PTW market for the year-to-date in the UK is running at +19.07 percent (10,677 units). Total Moped sales in the UK are up by +1.8 percent at 1,027 units for the first two months of the year.
The 'Naked' style (16.2 percent/2,334 units YTD) is the largest motorcycle sector by style so far in 2016, with the custom market (+32.4 percent) the fastest growing so far this year in the UK.
In displacement terms, as elsewhere in Europe, the fastest growing sector of the market in the UK is the 'middleweight' 651 - 1000cc market, which was +26.0 percent for the first two months of 2016. Scooter sales in the UK were +22.4 percent in the UK for 2016 so far at 3,895 units.
Honda were market share leaders in the UK in February, selling 903 units; followed by Lexmoto, Yamaha, KTM, Piaggio, BMW, Triumph, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Harley-Davidson. The highest selling motorcycle of greater than 125cc in the UK in February was Honda's new 'Africa Twin'; the highest +1000cc bike was BMW’s R 1200 GS.
The UK 'bike park' is now said to stand at 1.2 million units - a figure that has remained largely static since 2011; 34,600 people passed the motorcycle rider test in the UK in 2014/15 - which is some 4,000 more than in the previous 12 months; the MCIA says that some 4.6 billion km (2.8 billion miles) were ridden on two wheels on the roads of the UK in 2014 - a figure that has remained largely static since 2011.

Erik Buell Racing

Erik Buell Racing back in business; production slated to start in March

It’s been one sequence of corporate upheaval after another in recent years for respected chassis and performance engineer Erik Buell. However, whisper it softly, but it may be that his latest cycle of "difficulties" may after all be about to take a turn for the better - for the time being at least.
After running out of money a year ago, a tortuous on-off process of asset auctions made it unclear (unlikely even) that his EBR business would ever survive an administration process that quickly became liquidation.
EBR is the business that Buell phoenixed from the ashes of Harley's 2009 decision to close Buell Motorcycles, as it reacted drastically to the downturn under the leadership of CEO Keith Wandell. Buell had started the business in 1983; Harley took a 49 percent position in it in 1993, and then took over full ownership 10 years later.
Initially EBR was a race bike business, focused on the 1190RS it launched in 2011. In 2013 EBR sold a 49.2 percent stake to ambitious Indian motorcycle manufacturer Hero Motor Corp as it looked for a northern hemisphere foothold that could be a springboard for entry into the higher value and larger displacement North American and European markets.
Initially that deal looked robust as Hero established a race team, and a European EBR subsidiary was set up with sales underway of its 1190RX production street bike derivative, and the 2013 announcement of plans for an 1190SX streetfighter styled "muscle bike". Indeed there were plans for an adventure bike too, believed to have been designated 1190AX, and work was well underway helping Hero to develop new models, the HX250R among them. Hero is the world's largest single entity motorcycle manufacturer, by unit volume, but efforts to leverage its "strategic alliance" with, and investment in, East Troy, Wisconsin based EBR always looked ambitious, especially in relation to the price it paid for its stake.
That stake was a $25m investment, and it clearly proved inadequate as EBR collapsed with debts put at around $20m when it filed for protection in 2015, leaving some 126 employees with uncertain futures. There still are rumors and uncertainties about the exact role that Hero played (or more to the point did not play) in securing EBR's position.
That uncertainty was only worsened by a liquidation process that saw Hero successfully bid for some assets it claimed as its own, and two failed attempts by at least two other bidders to secure the remaining tooling and parts - one of those bidders had been Belfer, of Atlantic Metals Group in New Jersey, who was also hoping to secure a future for EBR as a viable manufacturer.
However, Bill Melvin's Grand Rapids, Michigan based Liquid Asset Partners (LAP) emerged successful in January at the third time of asking.
No stranger to motorcycle and powersports industry liquidations, from the outset Melvin has made it clear that he wanted to try to secure a future for EBR as a going concern, returning it to production before it could be sold-on as a viable business to owners that would develop it as an American motorcycle manufacturer.
LAP has been one of the 'go-to' liquidation specialists in the motorcycle and powersports industry. Their prior industry involvements have been many and varied. LAP was the company that Harley-Davidson used to sell off the assets of Buell Motorcycles in the first place in 2010, and have previously been involved in several other powersports industry asset disposals - such as "Gilroy" Indian, American Ironhorse and Cannondale. Indeed, LAP is currently conducting the sale of the remaining parts stock of Columbus, Ohio based Dixie Distributing.
At the time of writing LAP was slating March 17th as the day for production to recommence, and inviting the media to go to the factory to witness the latest twist in the Buell story.
The new company, EBR Motorcycles, LLC, will start with production of 2016 1190RX and 1190SX motorcycles. The first bikes are scheduled to roll off the line on March 17th with a Press Day for approved media, with March 18th slated as a day for "the public, Buell Nation, and EBR fans to attend the EBR launch party at the factory."
Bill Melvin Jr., who will be CFO of the new business, is quoted as saying that "this would not be possible without the EBR team. All the credit goes to them for waiting out the storms during the last year. Now the clouds have cleared, EBR is able to shift into gear knowing that it has financial stability, a profitable multi-year plan, and a 5-10 year vision. We feel there is still room for new partnerships or investment, but it is not critical. EBR is on solid ground and moving forward."
Erik Buell, who will serve as Chief Technical Officer, said: "I am really looking forward to the launch and the press day. I have dedicated my life to this and want to get the word out on how great our motorcycles are."

Japanese motorcycle exports

Japanese made motorcycle exports to Europe +8.63 percent for January 2016

The latest data release by JAMA, the automotive trade association that includes representation of Japanese motorcycle manufacturers among its membership, shows exports of 250cc+ Japanese made motorcycles to Europe in January as up by +8.63 at 18,271 units - the best January performance since 2012; the full-year 2015 was -3.65 percent, 151,715 units.
Total PTW Japanese manufacturer exports to Europe were +4.46 percent in January at 18,846 units.
Motorcycle shipments to the USA were -19.52 percent in January at 5,705 units; worldwide Japanese made motorcycle exports were -4.63 percent in January, at 30,292 units.
The increasing number of units being made by the Japanese brands elsewhere in Asia, the US and South/Central America goes some way to explaining the data, though the majority of higher value larger displacement machines, especially those being exported to Europe, are still made in Japan. Their overseas factories are primarily engaged in making and selling scooters and smaller capacity units in 'emerging' markets (where import tariffs are high) and in making ATV/UTV units - especially in the United States, where demand for such machines is strongest.


'Rock Dark' winter gloves

Hevik's glove collection now comprises seven designs, four of which are new 2016 items - including the 'Rock Dark' glove seen here. The company says that these new long gloves are totally waterproof thanks to a special waterproof and breathable membrane called W-STRIDER.

It has inner thermal padding for warmth and comfort, and a Velcro adjustable twin-strap closure system makes the 'Rock Dark' wind and cold resistant - the elasticated top strap fits over the jacket sleeve, with a second strap at the wrist.
The palm and back of the gloves are covered with an ample leather and fabric area, and there is rigid external protection on the knuckles and soft padding over the finger joints; a broad range of sizes mean these gloves can also be worn by women riders.

HEVIK S.r.l.

Vertex Pistons

Top-end piston kits

These new top-end piston kits have been developed by Italian specialist Vertex Pistons to ease the repairing process of 2 and 4-stroke off-road bikes - saving time and money. 

The kits include all the required parts to update and renew the thermal section of the engine. The 2-stroke kit includes the complete piston, top-end gaskets and wrist pin bearing; the 4-stroke kit also includes a cam chain for free.