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Aprilia - Say it aint so!

33113 Views 122 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  MikeSchinkel
Just yesterday did I upchuck a thought about my Aprilia for the 2004 Shoot-out - and today this. Get Bush to pay the measely 147mil needed. Oh, wait, I forgot, US politicians (Arnie excluded) prefer to drive over rather than with motorcyclists... :)

I agree with Sean in that it is more likely that somebody will take over Aprilia (and it's assets: Ducati is showing interest in Moto Guzzi). This may well come from a non-motorcycle company (automotive?), just like MV Agusta recently.

On the other hand, if production stops my bike will be like a Norton in a couple of years, a collectors item ($$$). Ok, a couple of decades...
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Can see your angle, but Aprilia has a couple of real good models, and no one will make replacement parts.
No just the Gubenator - John Kerry rides too.

I own an Aprilia. 1995 RS250 - last of the red-hot 2-strokes.
Re: Dear Harley don't buy Aprilia but buy an engine.

Of course, Harley has a SEVERE "Not Invented Here" syndrome. They are still smarting over the traces of Porsche DNA in the V-Rod (they downplay it at every opportunity, and wish it would just go away), and the BeeLast is so incredibly pathetic only because of the engine choice (the Blast with the EX500 engine in it would have rocked, hell it would have been better with the EX250 engine!).

Anyway, HD doesn't need to buy it from Aprilia. Aprillia had Rotax design the engine, HD could ask for the same basic thing, either the same narrow angle or have Rotax do something else (eg, 90 degree V-twin, or if you really want unique and powerful: a narrow-angle, counterbalanced V4)

Or hell, Honda seems perfectly willing to sell RC51 engines, but hogs would fly first...
Re: Dear Harley don't buy Aprilia but buy an engine.

"Or hell, Honda seems perfectly willing to sell RC51 engines, but hogs would fly first..." LOL Good point. Thanks for the Rotax info.
Re: again the HD faithfull refuse to admit that change is possible

Yep you're right. I'll still love the Daytona lines though. Not sure I am ready for a naked bike yet A friend who has been riding for several years says the progression you go from sport bikes then to nakeds or sport tourers, then to cruisers. He just bought a Yamaha Road Star. Beautiful bike. The women at the office sure like it.
Realitiy check for Aprilia. Could Triumph be next??

Buz and you are right about Aprilia. Like you said the lesson is you don't go head to head with the Japanese and Ducati already has the Italian Sportbike niche. I hope Triumph can stay in the game but I am starting to accept what you told me a long time ago that they are probably doomed if they go head to head with Japan Inc. At a dealer that sells all the Japanese makes, I sat on the new CBR, R1. GSXR and ZX10 talk about bad ergos. I had to go back out in the parking lot and sit on my Ninja to make sure I wasn't missing something. I don't think the world needs any more race replicas regardless where they are made.

Not to mention that he's wealthier than the entire Bush clan put together.
I'm curious - why are the Japanese so "unbeatable" in price/performance ratio? What do they do that other countries can't emulate? Honda I can see - the engineering/intellectual/financial resources that the car division must provide is a huge advantage. But Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha? What's the magic formula? Is it genetic? Why is it so "hopeless" to try and compete with the Big Four?
My only beef with Aprilia is that they make bikes with really interesting, bold-but-not-obnoxious lines, then cover them with the most godawful paint and graphics. I've never seen bikes with such a lack of harmony between form and finish. Imagine how beautiful a solid-yellow Mille would be.
It's because they ALL have financial resources that go far beyond motorcycles. They also have the proverbial "head start" on manufacturing inline four sport bikes. I said it before, and I will say it again. The Japanese lose money on every sport bike they build. How can a bike they rediesign every 2 years sell for only 200 bucks more than last year? Answer: It can't. When they redid the GoldWing, the price went up about 4 grand, and they won't mess with it for the next 8 years. Kaw makes ships, Yamaha makes musical instruments, Suzuki makes cars, and Honda makes everything. That allows them to lose money in this segment, and this allows them to wipe out the competition.
You forgot the heavy equipment - Kawasaki makes BIG trucks, dozers and the like as well...
Don't start, please.
Re: again the HD faithfull refuse to admit that change is possible

Just keep the Ninja and acquire a Speed Triple. Eventually you'll own a sportbike, a naked, a sport tourer and a cruiser.
If you really want to know the story (or at least a big part of it), read "The Machine that Changed the World: the Story of Lean Production". It's a 1990's book by the MIT International Motor Vehicle program. While ostensibly a study of Toyota's Lean Manufacturing, it's a complete story of the post-war quality movement in Japan. (Started with Edward Deming who, rebuffed by arrogant US manufacturers, went to Japan - originally to build a better phone system.) They developed a completely different manufacturing model which has proven to be orders of magnitude more efficient AND effective then the Mass production, pre-war western approach. Looking at the auto industry, US global market share actually peaked in the early '50's although it wasn't until the '80's that US manufacturers, Harley included, got religion through the TQM movement.

It's pretty interesting reading.

I know, it's also more complicated then that. Economies of scale, engineering prowess, etc. all count. But these are transportable.

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Afew people have harped that same line, over and over again. "They don't make money on the sport bikes, every other bike they sell covers the loss"

Please provide some back up material on it.

No one has ever produced any hard evidence that the big four lose money on the sport bikes. From a buisness point of view you don't do that forever.

So before the flames start find a financial statement that breaks doen profit and loss on each style of bike a company makes, or at least untill you can present some evidence, stop presenting your opinions as fact.

Heres an idea for an story you can do for MO. Research it, document it, and MO can publish it.
NOOO!!! Having only ridden the 03 Mille R a few hundred miles, this is enough to make me panic. I'm only about 2 years from having enough cash on hand to buy one outright. GAH!

If aprilia goes down... do you have any idea how much a good used Mille R is gonna go for? I'll be able to buy a Titan for less.

First, the Japanese DO lose money from this catagory. You say you don't stay in business long doing this. Pride and competition drive this area of motorcycling and they do it for that. If they made a living here, they would have died long ago. Ducati and Aprilia and Moto Guzzi can show you their balance sheets to tell you there is no money here, even though they charge thousands more for each bike. There are not any financial statements from the Big Four that breaks down by catagory. If you ever looked at one you would know that. Tons of manufacturers are making cruisers, yet there are no startup sport bike manufacturers. Why is that? No money is why. It's a losing proposition all around. Here's all the research I need. No sport bike manufacturer outside of Japan is making money. That is a FACT. Think MO will print it?
Wasn't it the CEO of GM who said that "America needs GM more than GM needs America"?
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