Federal Regulators Issue Fine Against Southern Honda Powersports

1_southernpowersportsThe largest powersports dealer in the nation, Southern Honda Powersports in Chattanooga Tennessee was fined $125,000 to settle allegations that it knowingly sold motorcycles that had been recalled but not repaired.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began a probe of the dealership after USA Today story about the practice.   USA Today said it received information from Ernest Vickers III, a former marketing consultant, hired by SHP, who alledged the dealer sold hundreds, perhaps thousands of motorcycles, ATV’s and dirt bikes that were under recall without first fixing the defective items.

In October,  American Honda said in a statement that it “always has complied with all applicable regulations issued by NHTSA and the CPSC (Consumer Protection Safety Commission), including those related to product safety defects and the conduct of safety recalls.”  Southern Honda’s owner, Tim Kelly called Vickers allegations “utter balderdash” and told USA TODAY that  “some bikes were delivered” before recall work was performed but that customers were notified and their vehicles were repaired.

NHTSA said it’s investigation found that at least 329 motorcycles were sold between 2007 and 2012 that were not inspected or had their recall defects repaired before customers took delivery.  No injuries or deaths involving those motorcycles have been reported.

The total fine amounts to less than $400 per identified vehicle.

Vickers claims that 25,000 vehicles were assembled unsafely during his 3 year tenure with the dealership.   The NHTSA announcement did not mention or address those claims.

HONDA INTRODUCES NEW MODELS FOR 2013

Torrence CA:  American Honda unveiled it’s offering of 2013 bikes to the press at its secret company museum and it looks like they’re going after two distinct different markets, the younger buyer and the nostalgia buyer.

The retro CB1100 is a throwback (at least visually) to the days when you’d meet the nicest people on a Honda and Elvis was still in the building.  Featuring a 1140cc air-cooled DOHC fuel-injected engine; twin-shock rear suspension; 41mm fork that’s adjustable for pre-load; dual-disc front brakes with ABS as an option; 18 in. wheels. Available in candy red at $9,999, add another $1,000 for ABS.

The “old man’s road sofa” has been tweaked ever so slightly and the result is a funky looking  Gull Wing F6B.   It’s not “minimalist” by any stretch, but there is far less plastic on it than the Gold Wing.  The F6B features a iPod connection, waterproof locking hard saddlebags, a glovebox and multi-function gauges.  The Deluxe model comes with a passenger backrest, center stand, self cancelling turn signals and heated grips and starts out at $20k for the standard, $21k for the deluxe model. 

Tomac’s Overall Podium Finish a Highlight of High Point Nationals

MT. MORRIS, Pa. (June 11) — GEICO Honda Lites rider Eli Tomac found a quick way around a muddy High Point Raceway in Moto 2 to secure an overall third-place result at Saturday’s Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motorcycle Championship series stop in southwest Pennsylvania.

Tomac improved from sixth place in Moto 1 to a third-place finish in Moto 2, the best outing of the four GEICO riders in attendance. Kevin Windham went 6-5 in his two motos for a sixth-place overall ranking in 450cc competition. Justin Barcia was 8-7 for sixth overall in Lites, while fill-in rider Lance Vincent went 19-27 for 20th, also in Lites.

It took a breadth of riding ability to make it through the day as the first motos in both classes took place on a dusty and dry course. Then an intense but short afternoon rain shower soaked the facility and made the second round of motos a muddy battle of survival.

“It went from hard-packed and kind of slick in the first moto to muddy and really slick in the second moto, but I’ve always been good in the mud so it worked out,” Tomac said. “It kind of came to me. Some guys struggle when it’s wet but I like it.

“It’s nice to get on the podium. I definitely want to be on top of the podium but we’re not quite there yet. Hopefully the trend we started in Supercross will start in Motocross because once I found the podium over there I was on it every race.”

Filling in for the injured Trey Canard on the American Honda Racing team, GEICO legend Windham had a solid day on his CRF450R. But the veteran rider was expecting more.

“I felt like I’d be well on my way by this point in the season so I’m a little bit frustrated,” WIndham said. “It’s the winner’s instinct in me that just makes me want to come out here and win these things. If you’ve ever won before you know how addicting it can be. It’s why we do this and what keeps us coming back for more even when we don’t do so well.

“To hear all the cheers and feel the fan support is awesome. It’s great for Honda and GEICO as well as for me. I have had a lot of success at High Point and although we couldn’t capitalize on it today I still love this track and all the great fans.”

Barcia, who has been fighting through a viral infection over the past few days, admits he got tired during his two motos.

“I was struggling,” Barcia said. “I went out there and did my best but unfortunately my best wasn’t good enough today.

“I don’t usually feel like this and it really bummed me out. I have a bit of a bug so I haven’t been feeling my best and I really think it got to me today. I just need to go home, get some rest, and go to the doctors so we can figure out exactly what’s going on.”

Up next on the AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule is Saturday’s Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, Md.