BMW is recalling certain model year 2012 S1000RR motorcycles

BMW is recalling certain model year 2012 S1000RR motorcycles, manufactured from September 1, 2011, through April 10, 2012. Due to a manufacturing process error, the connecting rod bolts may become loose during high engine temperatures and/or high engine operating speeds which could result in catastrophic engine damage. In the event of engine damage, escaping oil could cause handling issues, increasing the risk of a crash.BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the connecting rod bolts free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during May 2012. Owners may contact BMW customer relations and services at 1-800-525-7417.Customers may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (tty: 1-800-424-9153); or go to http://www.safercar.gov.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS, RETAIL MOTORCYCLE SALES UP SHARPLY

Earnings Per Share Rise 45.1 Percent to $0.74

Retail New Motorcycle Sales Climb 20.3 Percent Worldwide and 25.5 Percent in U.S.

Company Raises Full-Year Shipment Guidance

MILWAUKEE, April 25, 2012 — Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) reported strong gains in earnings and dealer new motorcycle sales for the first quarter of 2012.

Income from continuing operations was $172.0 million, or $0.74 per share, on consolidated revenue of $1.43 billion for the quarter, compared to income from continuing operations of $119.3 million, or $0.51, on consolidated revenue of $1.22 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles grew 20.3 percent worldwide in the quarter compared to the prior-year period, led by a 25.5 percent increase in the U.S.

“We continue to be encouraged by the strong trend at retail and in earnings over the past several quarters. Our first quarter performance reflects the outstanding appeal of our products, the ongoing results of our transformation strategy, the efforts of our dealers and employees, and improving macro-economic conditions in the U.S.,” said Keith Wandell, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc.

 

“While we are obviously pleased by our strong start to the year, we are more focused than ever on the ongoing implementation of our business strategy and tapping the many opportunities we see globally. Through Harley-Davidson’s transformation to world-class manufacturing, product development and retail capabilities, we are positioning the Company to serve our customers even better and help ensure the strength of the business long term,” Wandell said.

 

Retail Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Sales

On a worldwide basis, dealers sold 59,677 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the first quarter of 2012, a 20.3 percent increase compared to 49,595 motorcycles sold in the year-ago period.  Dealers sold 39,762 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the U.S., a 25.5 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2011. In international markets, dealers sold 19,915 new Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the first quarter, an increase of 11.2 percent compared to the year-ago period.  

Industry-wide U.S. heavyweight new motorcycle (651cc-plus) retail unit sales increased 17.5 percent compared to last year’s first quarter.

 

In 2011, for the fourth straight year, Harley-Davidson was the U.S. market share leader among young adults ages 18-34, women, African American and Hispanic riders, as well as among its core rider group, across all displacements of on-road motorcycles, according to recently available data. More than one-third of new Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales in the U.S. in 2011 were to riders new to the brand, and in the EMEA region, more than two-thirds were new to the brand.

 

“Harley-Davidson’s market leadership among its demographic outreach targets we believe demonstrates the powerful and growing appeal of the brand to new generations and diverse groups of riders,” Wandell said. “We also continued to expand the reach of Harley-Davidson to customers around the world. Our employees and dealers are more dedicated than ever to making customers’ dreams a reality through remarkable products and extraordinary experiences.”

First-quarter data are listed in the accompanying tables.

 

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Financial Results

First-quarter operating income from Motorcycles and Related Products grew 66.4 percent to $208.1 million on higher shipment volume and operating margin improvement, compared to the year-ago period.

Revenue from Motorcycles during the first quarter of 2012 of $995.9 million was up 19.5 percent compared to the year-ago period. The Company shipped 64,263 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the quarter, compared to shipments of 53,827 motorcycles in the first quarter of 2011. First-quarter 2012 shipments were higher than the Company’s shipment guidance of 58,000 to 63,000 motorcycles for the quarter.

Revenue from Motorcycle Parts and Accessories (P&A) totaled $199.1 million during the quarter, up 21.1 percent, and revenue from General Merchandise, which includes MotorClothes® Apparel and Accessories, was $74.6 million, up 19.2 percent compared to the year-ago period.

Gross margin was 35.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 33.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011. First-quarter operating margin from motorcycles and related products was 16.3 percent on operating income of $208.1 million, compared to operating income of $125.1 million and operating margin of 11.8 percent in last year’s first quarter.

Financial Services Segment

The Financial Services segment recorded operating income of $67.4 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared to operating income of $67.9 million in last year’s first quarter. Segment results reflect continued improvement in loan portfolio credit performance and increased net interest margin at Harley-Davidson Financial Services in the first quarter of 2012. In the year-ago period, Financial Services segment results benefited from the release of significant credit loss reserves.

Guidance

Harley-Davidson is increasing its full-year shipment guidance and expects to ship 245,000 to 250,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2012, compared to prior shipment guidance of 240,000 to 245,000 motorcycles. The new shipment guidance reflects consumer demand and the Company’s limited ability to produce additional motorcycles in 2012. In the second quarter of 2012, the Company expects to ship 79,000 to 84,000 motorcycles.

Oldest American Made Motorcycle Hits the Auction Block

FREDERICK, Md., April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — After hanging on a dentist’s wall for 30 years and then being stowed in a garage and then a basement, a 1903 Indian motorcycle will have a new owner. On Saturday, April 21 at the Frederick County Fairgrounds bidders from around the world will compete to own a piece of two-wheeled history from Charlie Alder, Jr.’s estate.

“This motorcycle predates the Harley – the bike most Americans associate with homegrown motorcycles,” explained Steve Rinker, who runs Buck’s Indian, an Indian motorcycle restoration firm in Romney, WV. Rinker added, “The handful of 1902 Indian models that were built were deconstructed, their parts used to build the 1.75-horsepower 1903 models. And as far as we know, this is the only unrestored 1903 still in existence.”

“What makes this bike particularly intriguing is that it’s never been restored. Except for a few nuts and bolts used for early repairs, this bike is all original,” added Josh Ruby, the auctioneer entrusted with selling the motorcycle for the Alder estate. “And I do mean ‘bike.’ This is one of the most primitive motorized vehicles you’ll ever see – a real peek into what innovation looked like over a hundred years ago.”

The motorcycle has already travelled more miles in 2012 than it has cumulatively in the last 90 years – albeit in the back of a van. “It was a hit at Daytona [Bike Week],” said Rinker, who has been storing the bike at his private museum of antique motorcycles until it makes its trip to the auction in Western Maryland.

Multiple pre-1930 Indian and Harley Davidson motorcycles – and even a side car – will accompany the 1903 model on the auction block. While those models have some limited sale comparables, Ruby admits he doesn’t know what to expect as far as number of bidders or sale price for the 1903. “This motorcycle hasn’t been sold since the 1950′s. The last time it changed hands outside of the family was during a barter for $50 of construction work by Charlie’s dad – before the bike was considered to have collectable value. So, it will be exciting for all of us, as those bids come in.”

The auction will also include 1940′s automobiles, World War II memorabilia, and antique railroad items – over 900 lots of collectible antiques in all. Online bidding is available via http://www.proxibid.com . Print-resolution pictures of the 1903 Indian and other bikes, as well as a scan of a 1903 Indian motorcycle owner’s manual, are available upon request.  Descriptions of each motorcycle are available at http://www.wolfeauctions.com .

Smoky Mountain Rumble Permits Delayed

Aldermen for the town of Franklin North Carolina deferred issuing street closure permits for the Smoky Mountain Rumble after several of its members brought up concerns and potential problems with the location of the focal points of the three day rally.

USRiderNews Publishers Scott and Sylvia Cochran came before the Town Board April 2nd requesting permission to close Main Street for the three day festival.

The most vocal opponent of the closure and the rally, Alderman Bob Scott, restated the concerns he brought up a month earlier in a Main Street Merchants meeting.  “This is not in the best interest of Franklin,” Alderman Bob Scott said. “Why are you just now coming before this town board, right now, when this has the potential of disrupting this town for three days?”    Alderman Scott had previously raised concerns the Smoky Mountain Rumble would attract the “outlaw” motorcycle clubs into Franklin.

Cochran assured the Mayor and Alderman that the Smoky Mountain Rumble wasn’t geared toward the 1% club members and few, if any, were likely to show up.  Cochran said there wasn’t an active dispute between rival clubs and there was no threat of violence erupting during the event.

Several Aldermen expressed concern over closing Main Street for three days.  Mayor Joe Collins said, “I don’t know if DOT will allow us to close US Hwy 441 for three days. ”   Collins asked, “Can you get by with just Saturday?”     Cochran explained the vendors need more time to set up and tear down, Some set up 18 wheelers with complicated displays that require longer than popping up an Easy Up tent.

Several Alderman expressed support for the event.   Sissy Pattillo said, “We’ll never know until we go through this one time,” Pattillo said. “If we go through this one time and it doesn’t work, that’s it.”

Cochran plans to meet with the new Chief of Police in the next few days to work out  a plan that’s acceptable to the Town Aldermen.  Cochran said downtown is the best spot, but he was willing to compromise.  ”Despite Alderman’s Scott’s objections, this event would be a tremendous boon to downtown Franklin.  The Tourism Development Authority support it, and the downtown retail merchants support it.  But, if the Alderman block it from happening downtown, we  will seek an alternate location.  We’re too far committed to turn back now.”

Cochran plans to submit a more detailed plan at the next earliest opportunity.

Kawasaki Recalls certain model year 2009-2012 Concours 14 police motorcycles for Electrical System Failure

Kawasaki is recalling certain model year 2009-2012 Concours 14 police motorcycles. The additional police accessories may cause the 30-amp main fuse to blow. Also, the additional police wiring harness may chafe leading to a short, which may blow the main fuse. If the fuse blows, the engine may stall increasing the risk of a crash. Kawasaki will notify owners, and provide instructions to mitigate electrical system failure, free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin on or about on or about April 9, 2012. Owners may contact Kawasaki at 1-866-802-9381. Customers may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (tty: 1-800-424-9153); or go to http://www.safercar.gov.