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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yamaha agrees to $2 million settlement with ARB

Yamaha agrees to $2 million settlement with ARB for importing
roughly 400 uncertified motorcycles into California

Part of money to be used to test emissions from ethanol

SACRAMENTO -Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, and South Seas Cycle
Exchange of Honolulu will pay $2 million to the Air Resources
Board to settle a 2005 lawsuit over the importation of
approximately 400 motorcycles that failed to meet California
emissions standards.

ARB's long-running investigation, which began in 2002, found
that Yamaha USA, headquartered in Cypress, Calif., imported more
than 400 illegal motorcycles, registered them to Yamaha, USA in
California, obtained state license plates, and then eventually
sold some of them to state residents. In most cases, these were
popular 1999 - 2002 models that were in great demand and
difficult to purchase in California. One dealer imported more
than 200 and sold all of them to California residents.
"This settlement should send a powerful message to those who try
and make an end run around our air quality regulations," said ARB
Chairman Mary Nichols. "We have the nation's toughest emissions
standards for a reason - because too many parts of California
still fail to meet federal health levels for air quality. These
motorcycles could well have contributed to Southern California's
already fouled air."
While other dealers involved in the case settled earlier with
the ARB, both Yamaha USA and South Seas Cycle Exchange refused
until recently.

Under the terms of the agreement, Yamaha USA will pay
approximately $1.2 million to the California Air Pollution
Control Fund, which supports pollution-related research. The
company will also pay $500,000 to fund a project to test the
impact of ethanol fuel blends on emissions from off-road
gasoline engines, and $300,000 to the Office of the Attorney
General for attorneys' fees.

In addition to the financial penalties, Yamaha and South Seas
Cycle Exchange started a vehicle purchase program in December to
buy back and destroy or remove any motorcycles that have been
identified as not having been certified for use or registration
in California.

Motorcycles that do not meet California's stringent emission
requirements create higher amounts of smog-forming pollutants,
which can then exacerbate respiratory ailments and negatively
affect other health conditions.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.

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