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Triumph Sounds Japan's Death Knell

Japanese dominance is going, going, gone over the next decade, kids. You heard it hear first. Some reasons:

1) Bike technology is already so good that further incremental increases are becoming very difficult. Did you hear Boehm gush over the new liter Gixxer? That's great, but what are they going to do for an encore? Make the whole bike out of carbon fiber? Meanwhile, incremental gains at the smaller companies will be greater, since they have catching up to do, narrowing the gap every year.

2) Japan's economy has been in the dumper for the last decade. When a strong yen returns, import prices go up, and suddenly there's no premium for owning a Triumph.

3) People buy Japanese bikes because they offer unparalleled price, performance, and reliability. Brand loyalty is seldom a factor. When Europe catches up in these three arenas, customers will leave the Japanese like rats fleeing the Potemkin.

4) China is the world's largest producer of motorcycles, and they are annihilating Japan with their cheap knockoffs. Honda beats Harley every year on the strength of its small displacement bikes it sells in developing countries. Those are going away. Rapidly.
 

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Re: Triumph Sounds Japan's Death Knell

1) Assuming that this argument has been around since the '50s, that has no bearing on its correctness today. In the '50s, bike manufacturers competed to see who could build the fastest bike. Today, the self-imposed 186 MPH top speed bike makers have adopted for Europe has made that contest moot. So now the contest vis-a-vis engines involves building the best powerplant that goes up to--but no faster than--186 MPH. Assuming that the Japanese have already done this and that the Europeans will continue with some success to pursue this goal, however slowly, total equilibrium will eventually be reached. That's just logic. The same applies to other constituent technologies, where barriers are imposed by physics, rather than people.

2) Favorably, as the article to which these comments pertain suggests.

3) There are some examples of brand loyalty, and the Gold Wing is probably the best. But I think we can agree that such examples are dwarfed by European brand loyalty, which is in turn dwarfed by Harley-Davidson owner enthusiasm. As to your other points, I don't believe engineering staff size is much of a factor, and manufacturing will continue to improve along with automation in general.

4) This is tantamount to saying that because Honda has a plant in Marysville, OH, they don't compete with General Motors. You lost me on this one.
 
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