Polaris Industries Plans Outsourcing to Mexico

Polaris Industries Inc. announced Thursday it has begun to phase out its Osceola, Wis., manufacturing operations; today the plant is home to Polaris’ Victory Motorcycle development, and ATV and snowmobile engine manufacturing. About 500 people work at the plant, according to RiverTowns.net.

The real kicker is that Polaris plans to outsource some of the work being performed in Osceola to Monterrey, Mexico, near the southern tip of Texas. Some of the work performed in Osceola will head to Polaris’ plants in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and Roseau, Minn. Euphemisms of choice paint a picture of “realigning” operations to Mexico and “enhancing” the lucky plants of Minnesota and Iowa. (The author here is a Wisconsin resident, after all.) This should all be completed by 2012.

“Pursuing opportunities in new markets outside the United States, while concurrently evaluating our cost structure to improve our long-term competitive positioning are key components to our growth strategy,” said Polaris CEO Scott Wine. “This decision was based on a thorough review of our worldwide operations and will allow us to improve our ability to meet the quality, delivery and cost standards desired by our dealers and customers.”

Snowmobile assembly will remain in the Roseau facility and Victory motorcycle assembly will remain in the Company’s Spirit Lake facility. Polaris also intends to sell certain manufacturing equipment to suppliers who will continue to make components for Polaris; still other manufacturing processes will be outsourced, and Polaris hopes the buyers will continue to do work in the Osceola plant.

Polaris expects this whole process to cost it about $35 million “over the next few years,” and it’s still planning to post from $3.48 to $3.60 earnings per share on the year. When the transition is completed, Polaris aims to save an annual $30 million pre-tax.

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Harley-Davidson Thief Convicted in South Carolina

Just picture it: You’re sitting at home, drinkin’ a Blatz, chopping up a stolen Harley-Davidson—noises from “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” are probably wafting through the air—and, of course, your trusty Streetsweeper 12-gauge stands guard nearby, maybe resting on broken TV in the corner.

Then, BANG! The FBI bursts in—along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; South Carolina’s York County Multi-jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit; York County Sheriff; Rock Hill Police Department; and Fort Mill Police Department—and ruins your entire Wednesday afternoon, because, let’s face it, you’re an unemployed loser, most likely.

Such was the scene for a South Carolina man, one Wendell Ray Jenkins, in August 2009, as reported by South Carolina Online News. Those aforementioned Johnnies Law searched Jenkins’ home and found the stolen 2008 Harley-Davidson, and later in testimony Jenkins said he had obliterated the motorcycle’s identification numbers using a drill, and that he designed to chop the bike and sell the parts—an A-OK plan if you live by the code of the redneck.

And so United States Attorney William N. Nettles recently announced Jenkins was convicted by a federal grand jury in Columbia, S.C., on three counts: 1) conspiracy to destroy vehicle identification numbers on a Harley Davidson motorcycle and to distribute the parts; 2) obliteration of vehicle identification numbers on a Harley Davidson motorcycle; and 3) possession of motorcycle parts with destroyed identification numbers intending to sell those parts.

But wait—turns out Jenkins was also in trouble for not registering that Streetsweeper 12-gauge; he was probably unable to stash it in one of the many broken-down vehicles that surely littered his lawn before the cops arrived. So, he was also convicted of possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Streetsweeper—a popular South African paramilitary weapon

Mark one up for the legitimate purveyor of motorcycles and motorcycle parts & accessories.


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Slimy Crud 2010: A Slideshow

We’re experimenting with innovative ways to bring sights from enthusiast events to you readers, and here is our first crack.

Like it, hate it? Let us know. If you like it, production will be upped and the videos made longer, we promise!

For now, you’ll have to follow this link to the video.

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BMW Issues Worldwide Motorcycle Recall

BMW has issued a recall of about 122,000 motorcycles due to brake problems, according to MCN. The German marquee has not identified the affected models, oddly enough. The OEM says there is danger of brake fluid leaking on boxer-style engines.

Update, May 19: A story from AFP has identified the affected model as BMW’s K 1200 GT.

The recall affects BMW units built since 2006. “There’s a possibility you could end up with a little bit of seepage which over an extended period could cause fluid to run low,” a UK source told Motor Cycle News.

Another source said riders do not need to stop riding; they should merely check their fluid levels. There have been no reports of accidents.

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Jack Penton Joins AMA Staff

The American Motorcyclist Association has named Jack Penton, a 1999 AMA Hall of Fame inductee, director of operations, according to an association release. Penton will begin his new post June 1.

In his new post, Penton will answer directly to AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. Penton will assist with day-to-day oversight and be directly responsible for the AMA Hall of Fame.

Penton is a 40-year veteran of the motorcycle industry. He began working for Penton Imports developing Penton motorcycles, a brand founded by his father, AMA Hall of Famer John Penton. Later, he worked for Kawasaki Motors, Malcolm Smith Racing and KTM America. Most recently, Penton served with distributor Tucker Rocky Distributing.

“The threats to motorcycling are greater today than ever before,” Penton says. “Now is the time to secure the rights of motorcyclists in America, but to do so the AMA membership needs to grow many times over.”

Effective June 1, Penton can be reached at jpenton@ama-cycle.org or by calling 614/856-1900.

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Aprilia’s RSV4 Nabs ‘Bike of the Year’ Honors in Italy

In an understandable nod to national pride, Aprilia’s RSV4 was given “Bike of the Year 2010” honors from Italy’s “Motociclismo” magazine.

About 33,000 of the magazine’s readers voted the RSV4 the “absolute monarch” of the “Motociclismo” readers’ preferences, according to a release from Piaggio, Aprilia’s parent company and owner of the Vespa, Moto Guzzi, and Gilera brands of scooters and motorcycles. The RSV4 also nabbed “Sportbike of the Year” honors, beating BMW and its S1000RR and the Ducati 1198 S.

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Numbers Down at Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Rally

At this year’s Myrtle Beach Bike Week, one of the must-attend events for Harley-Davidson faithful, it appears all the important numbers (attendance, vendor count, the number of people predicting a return next year) were down.

According to TheSunNews.com, “Vendors and bike rally attendees agreed that the crowds were much thinner this year than in previous years, due in large part to the anti-bike rally ordinances passed by the city of Myrtle Beach two years ago.”

Other culprits resulting in lower turnout are general anti-rally sentiment, the event’s shortening from five days to ten days at certain locations, a decreasing number of vendor permits and city ordinances that crack down on noise and parking-lot gatherings.

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