According to a press release issued by Kawasaki Motors Corporation U.S.A. (KMC), Effective April 1st, Masafumi Nakagawa will be assuming the position of company President, replacing Takeshi Teranishi, as he takes command of KMC Japan.
Talking to a European colleague the other day, I had to remind him that the United States is just as big and diverse as the European Union, with our country’s states being as unique as the sovereigns involved in the EU. The same goes for motorcycling in the US, with our sport and passion taking different shapes depending on your geography of this Great Union.
It tickled my fancy then, when today I saw a breakdown of motorcyclists by state in the United States, especially when the results were displayed on a per capita basis. Of the 8,410,255 motorcycles registered in the United States (D.O.T. figure, as of 2011), which states have the most motorcyclists by volume? The answer shouldn’t surprise you as California, Texas, and Florida take the top honors, likely due to their mild winters and coastal routes.
But which states have the highest concentrations of motorcyclists? Now that is where things get more interesting: South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Iowa. You’re a no good dirty liar if you say you predicted those three states to be at top of the list — with each stating sporting 12, 17, 18 and people per bike, respectively.
Following reports of financial problems and unpaid bills between Forward Racing and FTR, FTR today issued a press statement clarifying the situation. In the press release, FTR praises the progress of the Yamaha FTR project at Sepang, and restates its support for Forward’s Moto2 program as well.
FTR’s Managing Director Jon Jones states that “there is [sic] no technical or financial issues between FTR and Forward Racing.” The statement goes on to clarify that the Forward Moto2 program has been temporarily put on hold to allow FTR to focus on the MotoGP project, and that the Moto2 project will be resumed at an unspecified later date.
“Have you ever been to Brazil?” is a common question amongst pale twenty-somethings that have been to the Brazillian Carnaval or New Year’s and come back with a few venereal diseases under their belt (so to speak). Brazil has much more to offer than hedonistic festivals and pristine beaches though.
It’s also home to nearly 200 million people, many of whom ride two wheelers everyday as the ideal form of personal transport. Italian brand, Benelli, has recently announced the opening of 12,500 square meters of additional factory space to the existing 100,000 square meters of space at the Bramont Motorcycle facility in Manaus.
As the West gradually loses its grip on world economic and political power, it’s only natural that global industries refocus their efforts to market and develop products for the new guards of the economic order.
As this decade nears middle age, we are seeing more and more motorcycle companies seeking a foothold in South Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian markets.
The reasons are simple: larger, more populous markets with higher percentages of prospective riders that are rapidly gaining economic and social standing means more people to sell to.
Thus as two-wheelers become more of a commodity of choice as well as commodity of necessity, it opens up opportunities for heretofore unattainable brands to begin marketing to newly affluent demographics.
Capital goes where capital flows, and it seems that India is turning out to be both a huge market expansion and production opportunity for many manufacturers.
As such Stefan Pierer, KTM’s President and CEO, says the Austrian company is considering manufacturing a 500cc and 800c parallel twin motorcycle on the subcontinent sometime in the next three years.
Erik Buell Racing has announced that over 60 dealerships will be carrying the 2014 Erik Buell Racing 1190RX, the new sport bike from EBR that is slated to be released in March of this year.
After unveiling the new bike last October at the American International Motorcycle Expo in Orlando, EBR began to scout dealerships in major metropolitan areas that were prime motorcycle markets.
The motorcycle industry continues to make steady progress on recovering from the recession, with the overall US two-wheeled market up 1.4% over last year’s sales figures. Taking scooters out of the equation, which were down a staggering 15.5% last year, proper motorcycles were up 3% overall in the United States.
Breaking that number down further, dual-sport machines were up 7.8%, off-highway bikes were up 5.7%, and on-highway motorcycles were up a modest 2%. The Motorcycle Industry Council says that 465,783 units were sold in 2013, up from the 459,298 sold last year.
The brand that seems to polarize motorcyclists worldwide but is inextricably tied to the image of “the biker”, did quite well in 2013. Hot off the presses of Harley-Davidson’s Accounting and Finance department in Milwaukee is the 2013 sales report detailing their growth in worldwide new motorcycle sales.
For 2013, H-D sold 5.7% more bikes in the fourth quarter and 4.4% over the full-year compared to the previous year. Full year net income was $734 million on consolidated revenue of $5.9 billion. Compared to 2012 when the net income was $623.9 million on consolidated revenue of $5.58 billion.
It must be hard to be a legitimate motorcycle manufacturer, because the market seems to be flooded with ripoff artists in every corner. Every year at the EICMA show, we see the Italy’s Guardia di Finanza haul out scooters and motorcycles that the trade regulator deems are too close to those of Italian brands.
Now granted, we suspect there is more to that story than meets the eye (if you were an Italian OEM, wouldn’t you want to keep out the budget-priced scooters from your market?), and some of these confiscated designs truly don’t seem infringing to my eye, but I digress.
With the case of the Terra Motors Kiwami though, what it seems we have here is that the Japanese brand has repurposed a Zero S electric street bike from California’s Zero Motorcycles for its own purposes.
We had a couple people in the industry email us about this gem of a story, wondering if Zero had licensed its design, or even sold an excess of inventory. to the Japanese company, which plans on selling the Kiwami in the Indian market. However, before we could do some digging though, our good colleague Domenick Yoney at AutoBlog Green got the scoop on what is up.