Archive for January 14th, 2009

Talking Taiwan at Dealer Expo

January 14, 2009

I’ve been invited to speak at the Taiwan Image Seminar taking place at the Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis next month.

I’ll be joined by a couple of fellow journalists and representatives from Taiwan’s major powersports vehicle manufacturers. We’ll be sharing our opinions regarding Taiwan’s powersports companies and products.

ATV testing in Kaohsiung

Guido Ebert testing ATVs in Kaohsiung

My first experience with Taiwan-made two-wheelers occurred in the mid 90s, when I rented a KYMCO scooter during a trip to Greece. A couple of years later, remembering the pleasant experience I had on that scoot, I rented another KYMCO scooter while in Mexico, and had an equally enjoyable experience – even with my wife on the back.

Since then, I’ve been on four trips to Taiwan, visiting manufacturing facilities and riding two and four-wheel product. The facilities I’ve seen there matched, and even surpassed, some of the R&D and manufacturing facilities I’ve toured in Europe and the U.S.

Industry folk often ask me what I’ve experienced during my time in Taiwan, about the market, the companies, and the product. Here are the seven statements I tend to include in my reply:

1) Taiwan is NOT China.
2) Whereas China has proven itself to be a prolific vehicle manufacturer, Taiwan – like Japan – proves proficient at developing AND manufacturing vehicles.
3) Taiwanese manufacturers are to Japanese manufacturers as Japanese manufacturers were to Harley-Davidson.
4) Most people who’ve had a chance to inspect, ride or sell Taiwan-made vehicles know the quality of such product tends to be on par with units built in Japan and higher than many of the units imported so far from China.
5) Multiple North American and Japanese OEMs source quads and scooters from Taiwanese manufacturers.
6) While many “New Asian” suppliers entering the U.S. market often attempt to scrape together as many sales as possible as quickly as possible by moving product through multiple distributors, Taiwan-based vehicle suppliers appear to have a more long-term approach, choosing a single U.S. based importer/distributor through which they can more easily manage their business and plan for the future.
7) Remember where Kia and Hyundai were in the U.S. auto market 10 years ago? Check out their statistics now. Expect the same from the New Asians in the powersports industry.

Victory’s Super-Secret Concept Bike is …

January 14, 2009

Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Victory Motorcycles. Not only do I dig the motorcycles the company builds, I like that it is one of the more forward-thinking OEMs out there. For goodness sake, the Victory crew came up with the Vision.

Now the born-from-snowmobiles company is ready to spring something new upon the waiting public Friday Jan. 16, at the New York City stop of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show. At 2:30 p.m. New York time (that’s 11:30 p.m. for you left coasters) Victory will unveil the CORE concept motorcycle. At this point, the only picture I’ve been able to find for this appears here so I thought I’d post it here:

core-crop-2

It looks like the Victory Design Team is channeling H.R. Giger.

The following is from the IMS site and is almost certainly channeled directly from a Victory press release:

Created by the Victory Motorcycles design staff, CORE is a reduction of the motorcycle to its most pure form using some of the latest production technology. Join the staff of Victory Motorcycles in the Victory display as they host the first public reveal and discuss the CORE concept motorcycle.

Hit us back up on Friday Jan. 16 at 11: 30 a.m. WEST COAST time (because we prefer thinking in our own time zone) to see pics of the CORE — as long as Pandya receives the bribe I sent him in exchange for the TOP SECRET pics.

(disclaimer for the literal: OK, it was an embargo agreement, not a bribe.)