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.
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.