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Old 12-13-2001, 06:12 AM   #41
12er
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Default Re: If you knew anything about AMerican Jets...

Seems though our Marine boys crash the hell out of them yet the british pilots dont have that bad of a time.
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Old 12-13-2001, 07:35 AM   #42
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Default Brand Loyalty out the window

In the four years that I've been an active rider I'm owned a Honda, a Yamaha, and three different Suzukis. In that short amount of time I WAS developing a certain amount of brand loyalty to Suzuki. With this merger news, I believe that it will eventually lead to ONLY the mysterious "Third Brand", and the end of Kawasaki and Suzuki as separate brands. So screw brand loyalty. I'm just going to look at each bike model and judge each on its own merits regardless of who made it. The only little bit of brand fervor I feel now is toward Ducati, but unfortunately I haven't saved enough $$$ to buy one yet. Almost as expensive as a Hardley.
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Old 12-13-2001, 07:46 AM   #43
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Default Re: Update on Kawasaki/Suzuki merger

What? Can you say AMA champ?
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Old 12-13-2001, 08:43 AM   #44
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Default Re: Update on Kawasaki/Suzuki merger

Both South Korea and China are on the way up, and have companies working on bikes in the 600cc-750cc range.



I _seriously_ doubt that this is the end of the Japanese motorcycle industry, though--despite the horrible recession in Japan right now, Japanese bikes still sell just fine and I see no indication that Honda or Yamaha is having any problems whatsoever. BSA and Triumph had been seriously out-done in _quality_ and _performance_ in the early 1970's, so it was very hard for them to keep a sizable riding population besides the "faithful." I don't see that anyone's out-doing the Japanese in quality or performance at the current time.



Also remember that the diversification of the Japanese companies will help them through economic slumps. Honda generators, lawnmowers, cars, outboard motors, and industrial robots are all part of the same Honda Inc that makes motorcycles. Yamaha has a sizeable electronics and music division (my Yamaha acoustic guitar has the same three-tuning-fork insignia that Yamaha motorcycles have) in addition to their powersports. Kawasaki competes with Caterpillar in the construction vehicles field. Suzuki is the LEAST diverse, only making cars, motorcycles, and marine equipment.
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Old 12-13-2001, 09:26 AM   #45
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Default Re: Update on Kawasaki/Suzuki merger

I think you've asked and answered your own questions here. You're right, they probably won't be able to get away with rebadging either company's bikes and selling them. What are they left with then?.. they can't remain separate b/c of the costs.. they can't rebadge b/c of what you've pointed out about no one would buy it... so, a new, third brand is the only choice left.



They will alienate the hard-core fans of both brands .. at least at first. Then, if they somehow get it right and actually pull off a good product by merging the best practices/tech of each company, they may just instill a whole new set of fans with that sought-after loyalty.



I think the only way this will work for them will be to start the new brand and let go of the 'baggage' (if you will) of the prior brands b/c no merged-tech bike will live up to either old brand name anyway... the old loyal fans will see to that by picking it apart. Abandon all hope ye who enter here!



The loyalists to the old names will probably bail and align with Honda/Yamaha.. the semi-loyalists may play a wait and see or will also go to the other brands for near/mid term. The rest will do what they always do... pick and choose. I think Kawi/Suzi are banking on this last group.



They need to start over, pretend this is a brand new company. If they race the bikes, and they probably will, then once they have some successes, people will start to evaluate the new bike on it's own.



The only question is how long can they fund/prop up what will surely be a slow-starting company until they establish a new id with a new set of fans.



-James

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Old 12-13-2001, 09:49 AM   #46
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Default Re: Update on Kawasaki/Suzuki merger

The third brand idea is stupid, the Kawasaki and Suzuki brands should be kept alive, but since both of those brands are barely afloat a third brand is ridiculous. However, parts sharing between those brands is not as terrible as some make it out to be. True, GM makes crap, and is notorious for platform sharing. However, the fact that it shares platforms does not cause the fact that it produces crap, correlation does not prove causation. Audi-VW platform shares to an obscene extent (engines and platforms), yet their products are second only to BMW, and are beginning to surpass MB. In addition, if Cagiva, Bimota, and Laverda owners can stomach Suzuki engines in their bikes, Kawasaki owners probably can also. Suzuki and Kawasaki started off in denial that their supersport ranges would share parts, which is reasonable given that most of their product identity exists in their supersport (ZX, GSX-R) ranges. However, those model ranges eat up the most R&D and factory tooling costs (an assumption, I havenÂ’t looked at their balance sheets), so that is the most obvious area for them to look for savings. I think it would be most legitimate, at least given the companies current models, for the Suzuki branch to produce supersport and MX bikes, and the Kawasaki branch to pursue cruisers and sport tourers.

DeathCannon mentioned that he would support the merger if it brought Suzuki fuel injection on Kawasaki motorcycles, and some other technology sharing, but this could be accomplished without merger, so the companies must have deeper integration in mind. Since Kawasaki's supersport line has diminished to the extent it has, it might as well be dropped. It makes sense to sell one-generation outdated Suzuki GSXRS as Kawasaki Ninja labeled sport tourers, relaxing the ergonomics a bit, and maybe throwing on hard luggage. This would address the lack of sufficient design and tooling cost amortization issue that longride mentioned. The company could amortized the engine and frame development costs of an advanced race replica for two to three years as a Suzuki top line bike, then another two to three years as a Kawasaki sport tourer. Also, it would lead them to efficiently provide the best supersports (as Suzuki arguably does now) and the best sport tourers (something Kawasaki is now very good at). This proposition probably pisses off the Kawasaki faithful, but the only alternative given the merger intent of the companies is to have Suzuki and Kawasaki building the exact same supersport bikes with the same engine and frame, and you choosing whether you look better in yellow or green. As them same company, Kawasaki and Suzuki would only waste money competing in the same sectors with strongly differentiated designs.

Since it would have the supersport bikes, Suzuki could chase WSB and 600cc Supersport titles, and Kawasaki could go after Moto GP with a triple that would be symbolic of its (albeit 2-stroke) triple heritage. Anyway, all of this is just my twisted opinion, and I want to hear what others think. Whatever happens, at least since Suzuki Motorcycles is being spun off of Suzuki it means GM wonÂ’t have a stake in it anymore.

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Old 12-13-2001, 10:02 AM   #47
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Default Re: Update on Kawasaki/Suzuki merger

1) No, you never explicitly said that sportbikes were sales leaders, but you said that people interested in Japanese motorcycles only want the hardcore sportbikes (lightest, fastest, most power). If your statement was correct, don't you think that hardcore sportbikes would be big sellers for them?



2) The R1 has very few races wins at the professional level, but sells quite nicely (relative to other hardcore sportbikes, at least).



3) Why eliminate the cruiser lines ("Harley clones" as you put it) from the discussion? Some of them are good sellers (i.e. they make money).



4) Most of the recent Japanese "standards" (FZ, 919, ZRX, SV650, etc.) are definitely not 80's tech. They lag the sportbikes by a few years, but not by 15-20 years.



5) In addition to tourers, let's also not forget dual-sports and dirt bikes, markets which the Japanese manufacturers largely dominate, at least in the US (with the notable exception of the large adventure-tourer market).



6) Exactly how many major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have you watched go under since the 60's?



Your point (as I read it), is that the costs of manufacturing hardcore sportbikes are finally, after 30 years, killing the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, as evidenced by this merger.



My point is that your conclusion is unfounded and incorrect. This merger and the general decline of the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have a lot more to do with other factors than it does with your presumed losses from manufacturing hardcore sportbikes.
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Old 12-13-2001, 10:03 AM   #48
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Default Re: Kawasaki/Suzuki merger

Don't think GM, think VW-Audi. Without merger, Kawasaki Heavy industries would just stop producting bikes. In addition GM is increasing its ownership of Suzuki, and propably has no interest in Suzuki bikes. This separate merged company is a good thing.
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Old 12-13-2001, 10:24 AM   #49
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Default Dont think GM, think Audi-VW

Platform sharing need not be a bad think, GM's problem is that it starts with crappy platforms, not that it shares them. A merged Kawasaki-Suzuki is a compromise, but given their market share and profitability it is necessary.
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Old 12-13-2001, 11:04 AM   #50
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Default Re: Update on Kawasaki/Suzuki merger

I disagree with Mr. Boehm. I read a book about the Toyota automobile empire, and according to that book, the Japanese are very much into brand loyalty. They even have dealerships that are model specific, like Corolla only, or Corona only, etc. It seemed to me that it was their idea to get a customer early in life on a car they could afford, and then move them up the corporate ladder at trade in time.



The book title escapes me at the moment.
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