Here are a few stories that came across my desk that I think are relevant and interesting to the powersports business community.
1 – Intermot Motorcycle Show Returns Oct. 2022 – From Rider Magazine
Intermot, the International Motorcycle, Scooter, and E-Bike Fair, is the first trade fair highlight of the year for motorcycle and scooter fans from Europe. This year, Intermot takes place from Oct. 4-9 in Cologne, Germany. Around 500 exhibiting companies and brands from around 29 countries, including many big names, will present their new and current models and product innovations to the international specialized trade and the biker community. In addition to motorcycles and scooters, Intermot also encompasses accessories, clothing, parts, heritage and customizing, and travel and workshop equipment.
READ THE ENTIRE POST HERE – https://ridermagazine.com/2022/09/10/intermot-motorcycle-show-returns-oct-2022/
2 – The latest from Tucker Powersports – From Dealernews – https://www.dealernews.com/Home/post/tucker-calls-an-audible/2022-09-12
Vowing to build up its dealer base, Tucker Powersports President and CEO Marc McAllister told company employees on Friday that he was planning to update the sales and marketing functions to create a “more focused organization.” He laid out the company’s long-term strategy of becoming an outfitter for powered, outdoor adventure. “We will work closely with our dealer partners and, with them, we’ll create a stronger online and brick-and-mortar presence, helping us meet customers where THEY are at.”
The restructure begins with Tucker’s sales and marketing functions. “Now is a natural time to review the structure of our sales and marketing functions,” said McAllster. “We need to start with strategy, and I believe that moves us to a focused sales and marketing organization operating under a strong leader.” Tucker’s former VP of Sales Brad Turner left the company for a new position earlier this month, but McAllister did not identify candidates for the role and he advised employees that the search was underway.
McAllister also used the meeting to expand on the company’s strategy of becoming an outfitter for powered, outdoor adventure. “We ARE a company that is built on adventure. Powered adventure. Usually that power comes from internal combustion, sometimes it’s from electricity, and sometimes it’s human power,” he noted.
“We have products that support the owners of motorcycles, UTVs/ATVs, watercraft and snowmobiles… it’s our products that make our customer’s adventures even better,” explained McAllister. “But customer demands are evolving and we need to evolve to meet those changing customer needs.”
“To be successful, we are taking steps to ensure we have the right products and the right partners with us going forward. We will be parting ways with some brands that are familiar and taking on new brands that are focused on innovation and enhancing our customer’s experience.”
Featuring the most powerful portfolio of parts, accessories and apparel in the powersports industry, Tucker distributes top brands and offers its own brands, including Answer, Biker’s Choice, BikeMaster, Bully Locks, CoverMax, DragonFire, FirstGear, Kuryakyn, ProTaper, QuadBoss, Speed & Strength and TwinPower.
3 – Summary of Briefing on Honda Motorcycle Business – Realizing Carbon Neutrality with a Primary Focus on Electrification – From Honda
- Striving to realize carbon neutrality for all of its motorcycle products during the 2040s, as the primary focus of environmental strategies for motorcycle business, Honda will accelerate electrification of its motorcycle models, while also continuing to advance ICE (internal combustion engines).
- Honda plans to introduce 10 or more electric motorcycle models globally by 2025 and aims to increase annual sales of electric models to 1 million units within the next five years, and 3.5 million units (equivalent to 15% of total unit sales) as of 2030.
- As the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, Honda will continue to lead the industry in this “era of carbon neutrality” by continuing to offer the “joy of riding” with its electric motorcycles and by offering products with new value by leveraging the high level of compatibility of software technology and electrified models.
Honda aims to realize carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities Honda is involved in by 2050. Today, Honda held a press briefing regarding its motorcycle business initiatives, presented by Kohei Takeuchi (Director, Executive Vice President and Representative Executive Officer) and Yoshishige Nomura (Managing Officer).
A summary of the briefing follows:
1. Approach toward carbon neutrality of motorcycle products
To accommodate a variety of uses and needs of customers around the world, Honda offers a wide range of motorcycle products, from small commuter models to large fun models, which are used globally in both emerging and advanced countries. In emerging nations, especially, there is high demand for motorcycles, mainly commuter models, as a lifeline of people in their everyday life; however, popularization of electric models faces challenges such as heavier vehicle weight and higher prices. Also, demand for electric models depends largely on government incentives, regulations and availability of charging infrastructure in each respective market.
Considering these circumstances, Honda will accelerate the electrification of motorcycles as the primary focus of environmental strategies for motorcycle business, while also continuing to advance ICE, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality for all of its motorcycle products during the 2040s. Moreover, Honda will continue to lead the industry at the forefront of its environmental initiatives.
<Continued Initiatives to Advance ICE>
In order to realize carbon neutrality while accommodating the wide range of customer needs and usage environments unique to motorcycles, Honda continues its initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions from ICE models, while also developing models compatible with carbon neutral fuels such as gasoline-ethanol blends. To be more specific, in addition to Brazil where flex-fuel (E100)*1 motorcycle models are already available, Honda plans to introduce flex-fuel models in India, as well, one of the major motorcycle markets. The plan is to first introduce flex-fuel (E20) *1 models beginning in 2023, and flex-fuel (E100) models in 2025.
2. Electrification Initiatives
<Introducing electric motorcycle models to meet wide-ranging customer needs>
Anticipating market expansion, Honda will introduce electric motorcycles that accommodate a wide range of customer needs. Commuter models and fun models combined, Honda will introduce more than 10 new electric motorcycle models by 2025, with an aim to reach annual electric motorcycle sales of 1 million units within the next five years, and 3.5 million units (approximately 15% of total sales) as of 2030.
Details of product launch plans follow:
(1) Commuter EVs
As businesses are becoming more environmentally conscious, demand for business-use electric motorcycle models has been on the rise in recent years. To fulfill such demand, Honda has been offering the Honda e: Business Bike series models and accelerating the global launch of business-use electric motorcycles. In addition to providing a Honda e: Business Bike series model to Japan Post and Vietnam Post Corporation*2 for mail delivery, Honda is currently conducting joint trials with Thailand Post Company Limited*3, and planning to begin production and sales of the Benly e: in Thailand before the end of this month. These Honda e: Business Bike series models are equipped with Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP) swappable batteries, which are well-suited to business use such as the delivery of small packages and resolve issues of range and charging time, which are key challenges that need to be addressed to realize widespread use of electric motorcycles.
For personal use, Honda plans to introduce two commuter EV models between 2024 and 2025 in Asia, Europe and Japan. Envisioning the future market environment, uses and technological advancements, Honda is exploring a range of future personal-use models including ones equipped with a power source besides swappable batteries.
(2) Commuter EMs*4 / EBs*5
Currently, EMs and EBs account for more than 90% of industry-wide global electric motorcycle unit sales (approximately 50 million units). In China, the world’s largest electric motorcycle market, EMs/EBs are widely adopted as a convenient form of everyday mobility, and Honda has been offering such products by leveraging its local supplier infrastructure and development/manufacturing operations. With the expectation that demand for EMs/EBs will be expanding globally, Honda plans to introduce a total of five compact and affordable EM and EB models between now and 2024 in Asia, Europe and Japan, in addition to China.
(3) FUN EVs
In addition to commuter EVs, Honda is actively developing electrified models in the “FUN” category. Based on its FUN EV platform currently under development, Honda plans to introduce a total of three large-size FUN EV models in Japan, the U.S and Europe between 2024 and 2025. Honda will also introduce Kids Fun EV model, designed to pass on the joy of riding to the next generation.
<High-efficiency “Monozukuri” that enables expansion of the electric model lineup and sales>
Based on its competitive “Monozukuri” (art of making things) know-how, amassed through the development and application of platforms for ICE-powered models, Honda will develop and apply electric motorcycle platforms that combine the three core components for electric vehicles – the battery, PCU and motor– with the motorcycle body.. By fulfilling customer needs with highly efficient Monozukuri, Honda will continue to offer the joy of mobility with affordably-priced electric motorcycle models.
Regarding the battery, a core component of electric vehicles, Honda aims to equip its electric motorcycle models with an all-solid-state battery Honda is currently developing by making active use of its own resources.
3. Smoother and Smarter Use of Electric Motorcycles
<Initiatives to enhance charging infrastructure and standardize batteries>
Enhancement of charging infrastructure and standardization of battery specifications are vital for the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles. As part of the enhancement of charging infrastructure, Honda is working toward popularization of battery sharing.
(1) Popularization of battery sharing
- Honda has established a joint venture in Indonesia, one of the major motorcycle markets, to operate a battery sharing service utilizing MPPs and MPP-powered motorcycles. The JV is currently operating a battery sharing service in Bali.
- In India, Honda is planning to begin its battery sharing service for electric tricycle taxis (so-called “rickshaws”) by the end of this year. Honda is also planning to expand its initiatives to popularize battery sharing to other Asian nations.
- In Japan, in April of this year, ENEOS Holdings, Inc. and the four major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers*6 jointly incorporated Gachaco, Inc., which will provide a sharing service of standardized swappable batteries for electric motorcycles and develop infrastructure for this service. The company plans to begin its motorcycle battery sharing service this fall.
(2) Standardization of batteries
- In Japan, four major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have agreed on common specifications for swappable batteries based on the JASO TP21003*7 guideline.
- Honda is working toward the standardization of swappable batteries while participating in a battery consortium in Europe*8 and working with a partner company in India.
<Strengthening of the areas of software technologies>
To increase the added value of its electric motorcycles, Honda is aiming to transform its business from a focus on non-recurring hardware (product) sales business to a recurring business model combining hardware and software.
In the area of software development, Honda is working with its software subsidiary, Drivemode*9, to enhance new value creation for its electric motorcycle products in the connected realm. Starting with the commuter EV model scheduled to go on sale in 2024, Honda will offer user experience (UX) features that continuously enrich the quality of riding through connectivity, such as offering optimal route options that take into consideration remaining range, charging spot notification, safe riding coaching and after-sales service support.
Looking ahead, Honda will work toward the establishment of a connected platform where greater value will be generated not only by connecting its motorcycles, but by linking a wide range of Honda products and realizing connectivity beyond their product domains.
# # #
*1 Gasoline-ethanol blend fuel. Various blend rates are available, from 100% gasoline to 100% ethanol. E100 is 100% ethanol, while E20 is 20% ethanol.
*2 Vietnamese postal service
*3 Thailand postal service
*4 Electric Moped category. Maximum speed: 25km/h – 50km/h
*5 Electric Bicycle category, not including electric-assisted bicycles. Maximum speed: 25km/h or lower.
*6 Honda, Kawasaki Motors, Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
*7 The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. Organization (JAS
O) technical paper TP21003, the “Guideline For Swappable Batteries Of Electric Two Wheel Vehicles”
*8 Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) established for the purpose of achieving widespread adoption of electric motorcycles and other small-sized electric mobility products.
*9 A developer of software that transforms UX for mobility. Drivemode builds smarter, safer, connected driving technology for everyone on the road.
4 – Volcon Hires Outdoor Industry Marketing Veteran Katie Hale – From Volcon
Volcon Inc. (NASDAQ: VLCN) (“Volcon” or the “Company”), the first all-electric, off-road powersports company, announced today that Katie Hale has been appointed Chief Marketing Officer. Hale comes to Volcon with a deep understanding and skill set focused on social and digital marketing, omni-channel media, and brand building.
Hale, previously head of outdoor sports marketing for The Virtus Solution, an Atlanta-based consulting company, will now take the lead of all marketing efforts at Volcon. Prior to working at The Virtus Solution, Hale led marketing teams for iconic outdoor brands including Remington Outdoor Company and Mustad Fishing for nearly a decade, with experience in several consumer segments including sporting goods, hunting and fishing products, apparel, and outdoor equipment. Her tenure within the outdoor industry is a testament to her continued passion, understanding and dedication to the segment. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, coupled with her top-level experience, Hale will help catapult Volcon’s marketing strategy and execution.
“I’m very excited to have Katie on the team. Her experience and background in digital and social media marketing, as well as her proven ability to grow brand awareness through those channels is exactly what Volcon needs,” said Jordan Davis, CEO of Volcon. “Katie understands the passion customers have for a brand, as well as how to authentically communicate the passion a brand has for its products and services. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Katie and her team executes our marketing strategy over the months to come.”
”I’m extremely excited to be joining the talented and passionate team here at Volcon,” said Katie Hale, CMO of Volcon. “Volcon is becoming one of the most recognized brands in the off-road powersports industry, and I look forward to working towards building a brand that one day could become the de facto EV leader in the space. We have an adept leadership and marketing team in place that we’re looking to grow and mold into something phenomenal, and I look forward to leveraging my experience to help the team in executing on that mission. Having had the privilege of honing my skill set over the years, with a heavy focus on social, digital, brand building and omni-channel media aspects of marketing, I believe we have the ability to build a brand that rivals the biggest and best in the industry.”
The recent launch of the Volcon Stag, the company’s flagship UTV, powered by GM Ultium batteries and electric components, has propelled the company into a position of high visibility within the off-road powersports community. Additionally, the company expects the recent introduction of the Brat, Volcon’s first eBike, to reach a new and growing customer base. Volcon believes the addition of Ms. Hale to the team will provide the much needed focus on leveraging recent product launches to grow brand awareness.
About Volcon, Inc
Volcon Inc. is the first all-electric powersports company producing high-quality off-road vehicles. Based in Round Rock, Texas, Volcon joins many major electric vehicle companies located near Austin, Texas, an area that is poised to become the electric vehicle capital of the world.
Volcon was founded with the mission to enhance the outdoor experience while reducing the industry’s environmental footprint so that adventurers and workers alike can enjoy the outdoors and preserve it for generations to come. Volcon produces all-electric, off-road vehicles designed to elevate the adventure experience and help people get things done at work and on the home front.
Volcon’s first product, the innovative Grunt, combines a fat tire physique with high-torque electric power and a near-silent drive train which started shipping in September of 2021. Future two-wheel models may include the Runt, which is a youth-sized version of the groundbreaking Grunt, and an eBike, the Brat. The Stag and Project X are expected to be Volcon’s venture into the rapidly expanding world of UTVs and are expected in future years as the company continues to expand.
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For more information on Volcon or to learn more about its complete motorcycle and side-by-side line-up, visit: www.volcon.com
Some of the statements in this release are forward-looking statements, which involve risks and uncertainties. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable as of the date made, expectations may prove to have been materially different from the results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The Company has attempted to identify forward-looking statements by terminology including ”believes,” ”estimates,” ”anticipates,” ”expects,” ”plans,” ”projects,” ”intends,” ”potential,” ”may,” ”could,” ”might,” ”will,” ”should,” ”approximately” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. These statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors. Any forward-looking statements contained in this release speak only as of its date. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release to reflect events or circumstances occurring after its date or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. More detailed information about the risks and uncertainties affecting the Company is contained under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC, which are available on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov.
5 – NPDA Embarking on Ambitious Plans for AIMExpo 2023 in Las Vegas – From National Powersports Dealers Association
The National Powersports Dealers Association (NPDA) will make its presence known at the AIMEXpo 2023 in Las Vegas in February with an extensive line-up of activities.
The NPDA, founded in May 2021, currently has 220 franchise and independent dealer members, including 130 Harley-Davidson dealers. The Board of Directors of six men and three women are dealers of various brands with businesses from Alaska to Virginia, Ohio to Texas.
While the NPDA’s first year included a booth at AIMExpo 2022 in February, the association’s “footprint” at February 15-17, 2023 show will be sizable, said Chairman Bob Althoff.
“We work hard for hard-working dealers, and our members are going to get some of our best work at AIMExpo 2023,” Althoff said. “If 2022 is any indication, next year is going to start strong and be outstanding in our efforts to promote retail excellence in our industry.”
Along with its presence at AIMExpo 2022, other successes by the NPDA this year include:
- Membership level increased to more than 200 members, along with 15 partners;
- Hiring of Organizational Director to help lead efforts;
- Revamped, user-friendly website and newsletter;
- Membership survey and webinar series launched;
- State franchise laws study commissioned, published;
- Opposition statement with Auto, Marine & RV dealers on proposed FTC rules;
- Harley-Davidson Dealer Council created.
The NPDA’s plans for the 2023 AIMExpo will include meetings and gatherings planned by its Harley-Davidson Dealer Council specifically for its H-D dealer members. This will include specific programming and guest speakers, along with the opportunity for Harley-Davidson dealer members to connect and socialize.
“The overwhelming request from H-D dealers we’ve surveyed is a dealer gathering,” said George Gatto, Chairman of the NPDA H-D Dealer Council and Dealer Principal of Three Rivers Harley-Davidson in Pittsburgh, Pa. “The AIMExpo is our best opportunity for Powersports dealers from around the country to learn about new products and services and gain valuable insight from experts, and the NPDA’s gatherings for Harley-Davidson dealers will provide much-needed connectivity among the ‘ Bar & Shield’ crowd.”
The NPDA is also looking to sponsor the return of the Dealernews “Top 100” program honoring Powersports dealers.
Details are still in the works, but could include unveiling the “Dealer of the Year” at the AIMExpo.
“Nothing epitomizes retail excellence in our industry like the Top 100 Dealer program,” Althoff said. “Your Dealership may be one of best in our business – we look forward to learning more about what makes it great!”
Added Darris Blackford, NPDA Organizational Director: “As a former winner of honors when I wore my ‘Marketing Director’ hat for a Dealership, I can attest that the Top 100 is a big deal in our industry. The NPDA is proud to have a role in the return of this distinguished program.”
6 – Gold-level sponsor Revvable added to Accelerate Conference – From Powersports Business
San Francisco-based Revvable, a SaaS platform for powersports dealerships, has signed on as a Gold-level sponsor for the 2022 Powersports Business Accelerate Conference.
Revvable’s mission is to enable a seamless purchasing experience for everything from motorcycles and ATVs to apparel and accessories. With Revvable, powersports dealers will be able to more efficiently and delightfully serve their customers, who will spend less time in the dealership’s back office and more time enjoying their rides.
Revvable’s cutting-edge workflow platform simplifies the complex process of purchasing a vehicle, bundling financing, warranties and paperwork into an easy tablet and e-commerce checkout experience. By streamlining deal closing, Revvable removes the burden of endless paperwork for dealership staff and creates an integrated modern checkout experience for customers.
“We’re excited to bring world-class software to the critical but historically frustrating process of closing deals. As a decade-long rider, I have seen first-hand how long and painful it can be to buy a motorcycle or ATV,” said Kel Jackson, CEO and co-founder of Revvable. “I know how much of a black box it seems to customers, and am excited to help make buying a vehicle as easy as updating a virtual shopping cart and buying something online in one click.”
7 – Ex-Arctic Cat manager to head Service Parts & Accessories at Altoz – From Powersports Business
Greenbush, Minnesota-based Altoz, the outdoor power equipment manufacturer, has named Rod Larson as manager of Service Parts and Accessories manager.
With over 35 years of experience in the outdoor equipment industry, Larson is well-versed in many aspects of the business. Having owned and operated an outdoor power equipment business and as parts and pricing manager for Arctic Cat, Rod understands both the dealer’s and the manufacturer’s objectives.
“Rod’s extensive experience and strategic vision are assets that will benefit our dealers, customers and organization,” said Karl Bjorkman, Sales and Marketing director. “As the Service Parts and Accessories manager, Rod will focus on working with Research and Development to grow the Altoz accessories line, managing inventory and administering programs for service parts and accessories.”
“This position is a great fit for me with my experience in outdoor power equipment and powersports. I’m eager to make a difference and increase Altoz’s parts and accessories offerings. I’m fortunate to work for a company that has a sincere dedication to their employees, dealers, customers and community,” Larson said.