Tag Archive | "motorcycles"

EFG Companies Launches 1,000,000 Mile Limited Powertrain Protection

DALLAS, TX – EFG Companies, the innovator behind the award-winning Hyundai Assurance program, announced today the launch of a 1,000,000 Mile Limited Powertrain Protection program for motorcycles. This program is designed to foster increased customer loyalty, referrals, and unit sales by addressing pressing motorcycle consumer needs.

While the powersports industry is currently experiencing a period of year-over-year growth, everyone in the industry has an eye on the horizon for the next economic downturn. Dealers are looking to maximize sales while they last and fortify their operations for the future.

“Today’s customers are already in the mindset of being very careful with where they spend their money, and are looking for the best value for the dollar. This has resulted in an enhanced pre-owned bike market over the last few years,” said Glenice Wilder, the vice president of EFG Companies Powersports Division. “By offering 1,000,000 Mile Limited Powertrain Protection, motorcycle dealers have the ability to differentiate their operations, and increase customer loyalty and new customer sales, by providing customers complimentary protection for their bikes.”

The 1,000,000 Mile Limited Powertrain Protection is designed to be offered complimentary on thoroughly-inspected, eligible bikes up to 10 years in age with less than 60,000 miles. The product provides coverage for the engine and transmission up to 1,000,000 miles, with towing assistance.

Customers then have the opportunity to enhance the coverage with an extended vehicle service contract, expanding the covered components and providing additional benefits including roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and unlimited number of claims. By upselling customers to the extended coverage, powersports dealers have the ability to increase their profit per unit during a time when every sale counts.

“As our market has grown into a more competitive space, powersports dealers need more than generic customer service promises to differentiate their business,” said Chris McIntyre, the CEO of EagleRider. “A program like the 1,000,000 Mile Limited Powertrain Protection from EFG helps dealers build a stronger brand message around customer service to drive more traffic and customer loyalty.”

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Harley-Davidson Recalls Bikes for Ignition Switch Problem

Ignition switch problems that have plagued General Motors and Chrysler have now turned up in the motorcycle business, reported Michigan Live.

Harley-Davidson is recalling more than 4,500 FXDL Dyna Low Rider bikes worldwide because engine vibration can turn the switches from “on” to “accessory.”

The recall covers motorcycles from the 2014 ½ model year, including more than 3,300 in the U.S. If the motorcycles have been modified to rev higher than 5,600 RPMs, an engine mount bracket can vibrate excessively, causing the problem.

If the switch goes to “accessory,” the engine can shut off while being driven and potentially cause a crash. The company said there have been no crashes or injuries reported from the problem.

Dealers will replace the bracket assembly and ignition switch knob for free. Harley began notifying owners in late July.

Harley said in documents posted Friday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the motorcycles are limited at the factory to 5,600 RPMs, but Harley offers performance calibrations that let the engine rev higher than the limit. If the bikes hit 5,800 RPMs, the top engine mount bracket can vibrate too much and cause the ignition switches to malfunction.

The company said it began looking into the problem after its service department discovered that an ignition switch slipped out of the “on” position in testing. Harley found four warranty claims and complaints about the problem, all in bikes with non-Harley exhaust systems.

The Milwaukee company’s recall comes after General Motors recalled 17.3 million vehicles to fix problems with ignition switches that can cause engine stalling. Chrysler has recalled another 1.7 million for the same problem. So far this year the auto industry has recalled more than 40 million vehicles, passing the old full-year record of 30.8 million set in 2004.

Federal safety regulators in June began a broad investigation of ignition-switch and air-bag problems across the auto industry. That investigation is still open, although the agency wouldn’t say if more automakers could be affected.

Harley said it issued the recall independently, and it has nothing to do with ignition switch problems in the auto industry or the NHTSA investigation.

The investigation and recalls come after GM bungled an ignition-switch recall of older small cars. GM acknowledged that it knew of the ignition problem for more than a decade but failed to recall the cars until earlier this year, when it recalled 2.6 million small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt. Subsequent safety reviews caused GM to recall millions more vehicles for faulty switches.

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Harley-Davidson Margin Squeeze Causes Shares to Slide Most Since Aug. 18

Harley-Davidson Inc., the biggest U.S. motorcycle maker, said a complex revamp of the factory that makes its priciest models cut production of those bikes, which hurt margins. The stock fell 7 percent.

Harley dropped to $34.59 at the close in New York, the biggest drop since Aug. 18, erasing the stock’s gain for the year, according to Bloomberg.

As part of its shift to a more flexible workforce, Harley is consolidating its York, Pennsylvania, factory to one production line from four. Workers moved from other parts of the factory are being trained on assembly of 20 different models. That process slowed production of touring and custom bikes, among Harley’s more expensive and most profitable models.

“Maybe we haven’t done as a good a job communicating the magnitude of this,” Keith Wandell, Harley’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. “Shame on us because we had some issues in the quarter that precluded us from producing as many touring bikes as we would have like. Are we disappointed? Absolutely. Are we discouraged? No. Every day, we get further through.”

Third-quarter gross margin narrowed to 33.7 percent from 34.9 percent a year ago. Sharon Zackfia, an analyst with William Blair & Co., estimated gross margin of 36.8 percent in the quarter.

Production issues at York increased the mix of Harley’s cheaper bikes, such as the $8,000 SuperLow. That shift lowered gross margin by $26.6 million, Harley said in a presentation on its website.

“Sales skewed more toward the Sportsters, and of all the possible reasons for a margin decline, mix shift is one of the more innocuous,” Zackfia said in an interview.

The changes at York will be “largely complete” by the end of next year, Chief Financial Officer John Olin said in a conference call today. U.S. output will be limited until the end of 2013, he added. This quarter’s mix will “improve modestly,” he said.

Sales increased 13 percent to $1.23 billion, short of the $1.28 billion average of 13 analysts’ estimates. Harley, which also produces Fat Boy and V-Rod motorcycles, sells fewer bikes in the cold-weather months. The company has reported quarterly losses in each of the last two fourth quarters.

Net income in the three months ended Sept. 25 rose 107 percent to $183.6 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $88.8 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier, Harley said today in a statement. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 75 cents.

Retail sales rose 5.4 percent in the U.S. and 5.1 percent worldwide, the company said. The worldwide sales gain was the second consecutive quarter of increasing deliveries. Before the second quarter, the company last reported an increase in U.S. sales in the fourth quarter of 2006. The company reaffirmed its forecast of 228,000 to 235,000 motorcycle shipments this year.

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