Viper Motorcycle Company Signs Joint Venture with Merch Performance Inc. to Supply Proprietary Engines.MINNEAPOLIS--March 24, 2003--Norton Motorcycle Company announced today that it has changed its name to Viper Motorcycle Company. Viper Motorcycle Company has released all trademark rights to the Norton brand in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash and an end to all existing and pending litigation.
"In early 2002 we obtained the rights to manufacture and sell motorcycle products using the Norton brand and trademarks from Global Coin," commented John Fiebelkorn, president and CEO of Viper Motorcycle Company. "Based on a court judgment later in 2002, it appeared that Global Coin held unencumbered rights to the Norton brand. After becoming involved in additional and substantial federal court proceedings and related litigation, we recently and reluctantly entered into a settlement agreement releasing all rights to the Norton brand. The status of our rights to the Norton brand had become too risky and uncertain to provide us with enough confidence to proceed under the Norton name.. The Norton brand is important, but at the end of the day, our company, our product and our team is much more valuable," Fiebelkorn concluded.
"This action will in no way hinder our ability to manufacture a quality and innovative line of motorcycles," said Terry Nesbitt, vice president of sales for Viper Motorcycle Company. "It will also not affect our joint venture with Merch Performance Inc. to supply proprietary engines." Jim Wild, president of Merch Performance, stated that "The team of talented people at Viper Motorcycle Company is what first drew me to the project. Merch Performance is excited at this opportunity and continues to be supportive." Viper Motorcycle Company will begin production in May of this year. The schedule will allow the company to make the necessary tooling changes and complete testing. "The initial response to our first model, the Viper Diablo Power Cruiser, has greatly exceeded our expectations," continued Nesbitt. "Motorcycle orders are excellent and dealers are anxiously awaiting delivery. It has been our goal to introduce quality, innovative, high performance motorcycles, and the Diablo is that and more."
According to Rick Fairless, owner of Easyriders of Dallas, "This motorcycle is on the cutting edge of technology and is no kit bike." Jim Pacha of Bikers Custom in El Paso, Texas states, "The Viper Diablo production motorcycle has all the best features of a high-end one-of-a-kind custom cruiser."
The goal for Viper Motorcycle Company is to be a full-line manufacturer of high-end motorcycles. The company will introduce 3 additional models for 2003.
"As an OEM with 4 distinctive models -- the power cruiser, standard cruiser, sport cruiser and touring cruiser -- the company is in a position to offer a product line that adds value, profit and potential to any dealer, as well as provides an unequalled innovative selection to the consumer," Nesbitt continued. "As we move forward, our product line will continue to incorporate proprietary features and benefits distinctive to the Viper name."
Viper Motorcycle Company also announced today that it has also engaged Lane Capital Markets, a member of the NASD and SIPC, as its investment banker and placement agent for its upcoming offering. For more information regarding the offering, contact Lane Capital Markets at www.lanecapitalmarkets.com.
For see photos of the new Viper Diablo, visit www.vipermotorcycle.com.