American Honda to Participate in AMA Sponsor Program

May 22, 2006 12:32pm

Torrance, CA: American Honda announced today that it will participate in the AMA-mandated program requiring all competitors in the 2006 AMA Motocr oss Championship series to place Toyota logos on their machine’s front number plate. However, for a number of reasons, American Honda will do so under duress.

The AMA recently announced this requirement as a result of securing Toyota as a 2006 AMA Motocross Championship series sponsor. While American Honda welcomes Toyota and applauds the AMA’s success in bringing a significant sponsor to this national series, it does not agree with the AMA’s marketing decision regarding this requirement.

Placing competitor logos on another manufacturer’s machines is offensive to companies with strong brand identities. Such a requirement is misleading and potentially confusing to spectators and customers.  It is surprising the AMA would incorporate such a requirement into its series sponsor contract without consideration to the competitive position of the companies involved. This is analogous to NASCAR naming Toyota as series sponsor and requiring, Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet to place Toyota logos prominently on their vehicles, a situation we believe NASCAR would never allow.

Some may recall the Mazda Supercross series sponsorship several years ago and wonder how this current situation differs. In that case, Mazda sponsored a points fund and riders were required to run Mazda logos on their machines to earn contingency awards. American Honda elected not to run the Mazda logos, but directly compensated its team riders for any earnings that would have come through the fund. In the case of the current Toyota series sponsorship, there are no apparent benefits to the riders or the teams.

American Honda will comply with the AMA logo mandate for the Toyota series sponsorship because we have a responsibility to the fans and to our customers who have paid to see professional motocross competition with a full field of riders, including the Honda factory team.

American Honda will continue to support the growth of AMA professional racing through participation of its factory teams until such time that the requirements imposed by the sanctioning body undermine American Honda’s marketing strategies to an unacceptable extent.

Professional racing helps promote Honda products to current and future customers, and remains a cornerstone of Honda’s worldwide marketing commitment. American Honda remains committed to providing new opportunities for customers to enjoy and race Honda products, and for fans to share in the unique passion and excitement of motorcycle racing.