"Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."
- Mark Twain
I check the comments on this blog regularly. The idea is that we're going to have a conversation about the ideas I've presented. You should be aware of the fact that when someone emails me an interesting comment, the odds are good that I'll post that in the comments anonymously and reply to that comment on the blog rather than in email.
Feb 4, 2012
2012 Progressive International Motorcycle Show
In case you're not able to go, here are a few highlights:
This used to be the Cycle World show, but it's run by Progressive Insurance this year. Same show, same vendors, not many new bikes. I'll talk about that later.
We are in a down economy. Everyone knows that, everyone understands that. We continually hear it from the manufacturers, that they aren't going to put a lot of effort into these shows since the economy is so poor. Ok got it.
However don't you think a show like this would be a prime opportunity to really try to sell motorcycles to customers? When you have thousands of them walking past? To get them jazzed up about your brand and your bikes?
As I mentioned in my other post in the Victory comments, Honda's booth was for all intents and purposes MIA. It is almost like they don't want to sell motorcycles anymore, despite the fact they have some neat bikes.
People often accuse Harley of sticking to a tired old formula. People talk about Harley not being able to grow their market. Are the big 4 really that different - at least here in the USA that is? They too have been selling the same categories of bikes to the same categories of customers (cruisers, crotch rockets, and MX bikes) with very little effort or success at trying to grow markets beyond these. When they try to go beyond these markets it usually ends up in miserable failure or the product become a niche bike that gets made unchanged for 25 years save for color changes.
At Yamaha they treat you with disdain if you want a bike outside the established cruiser/crotch rocket/mx bike markets. "Ok, we'll bring in the Super Tenere. But you'll have to wait in line for a year, but don't get mad about that 'cause we're only doing this as a favor to you (similar to the situation with the FJR1300 when they first brought it here). You say you want bikes like these, but wouldn't you really rather have a V-star or R1?"
That strategy will ensure the Super Ten follows the exact same path as the FJR: Reluctantly import it. Treat customers with contempt. Make sure sales people know nothing about them. Have ZERO marketing strategy around them (other than marketing to people who already want them) Don't change the bike for 10 years. And then 10 years from now have to fire-sale the bikes to get them moving and announce that "see these bike just don't sell here."
Of the big 4 I give the most props to Kawasaki. Cruisers - check, crotch rockets - check, MX bikes - check. But kudos for also actively trying to market bikes that go outside those markets: the Ninja 1000 and 650, the Versys, the KLR, the KLX. Just good, simple, all-around, motorcycles. Is there really not a market for these here?
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