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Super Duper Mod Man
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Makes sense Sean, but can Ducati produce an Aprilia for "real world motorcycling" at "real world prices"? I'm not sure people will pay 12K and up for those kind of motorcycles. If they can keep the cost of them about 10K, they will sell them, but can they make money doing that?
 

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Will Ducati (if the purchase happens) sell the Laverda brand? It seems that Laverda is the "red-headed" stepchild in the mix. You are spot on in your theory on Aprilia. Those rotax motors are a dime a dozen and if they take the present factory and update some of the assembly process the price of the bikes will fall. I mentioned before that Aprilia needs to disband the GP effort. I stand by that. Aprilia would never sell a street "cube" so what's the point of racing it. The program is a bust and the finances for that could be used elsewhere. Guzzi has it made if this deal happens. Ducati is more than familiar with air cooling. With some engineering help from Pappa Duc the Guzzi motors will become more efficent and gain hp. I just hope that Ducati will allow some of the Guzzi "streetfighters" to motor on and the new show bikes to be put into production. Ducati Monster buyers are not the same guys as Guzzi LeMans or Grisso buyers. Just hope they recognize that.
 

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At this point it is hard to see exactly what Ducati might have planned. But it seems to me that a good arrangement of resources might be to make as few changes as possible.



Ducati can continue to develop their superbikes and MotoGP technology. Leaving the consumer versions of these machines to be produced in relatively small numbers and at relatively high prices. This seems to be the business model they want to use anyway.



The other Ducati lines can be continued or modified with whatever useful technology they obtain the rights to from the merger. Since most of these models aren't costing Ducati lots of development money they can be mostly used to keep the Ducati label visible on the streets at low cost to Ducati.



MotoGuzzi can be used to tap into the nostalgia market with some forays into the cruiser market. Again not terribly expensive to do.



Aprilla can be used to make scooters which is probably a huge cash cow. But it would be a waste to dismantle the Aprilla motocycle division. Why not keep at least some of the models and aggressively price them? Make and sell enough of them and Aprilla sport bikes could have sales figures that approach those of the Big Four.



The Aprilla sportbike division does not really have to compete for sales with the Ducati superbikes. If they were priced far apart from one another, they won't really be competing for the same buyers. Ducati already seems comfortable with this approach to business since they in no way price their superbikes to compete in terms of price with the Asain competition.



One more or one less brand of resonably priced sportbikes is not going to add to or take away from Ducati's customer base substantially. But having a financial interest in one of those lower priced labels will bring money into the combined corporation that might otherwise go to one of the Big Four.
 

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How come so many dealers for these bikes fall under one of two categories - "overpriced boutique" or "uncle joe's woodshed"? Build a solid dealer network, carry all three under the same roof - like the way yamaha/kawasaki/suzuki seem to clump together. Make an alternative to the japanese big four and the sales will follow.
 

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It would be nice if Aprilia would drop the notion that they can compete in the (litre class) street bike wars. If they would build that 450 v-twin (and a 250 counterpart) put it in a mx / supermoto / sportbike type of arrangement and sell bigger c.c. size scooters they'd be alright. But who'd listen to me, anyway.
 

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I agree with Sean on the market structuring. It would probably mean fewer (or no) Milles for Aprillia, and fewer (or re-badged as Aprillias) Monsters for Ducati. Regardless, Aprillia needs a smaller and cheaper model to compete in the 600-class naked market.



I think the biggest advantage would be in trying to get a decent parts/service/sales pipeline for all three throughout in the U.S. Right now it's as if Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury all had their own dealerships and parts and service departments. Makes sense to combine them. I have to think that there is a lot of overlap now with all three of those brands doing their own thing. A better (though not necessarily larger) and more visible dealer network might get more people in and cut costs.



My 0.000002. (converting from yen)

 

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Due detergence

SA, when will u exercise the due diligence required to update the Subscription Page, I axe yet again probably again in vain, contemplative of legal action, having been gone from MO over a year now?
 

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Re: When I get rich...

I'd like to open a series of Euro-sport bike shops selling Ducati, Triumph and Moto-Guzzi.

I'd have Ducati and Triumph sport bikes, Triumph Speed series and Ducati Monsters for nekkid hooligan bikes, Triumph Thruxton and Moto-Guzzi V-11 series for cafe` bikes, and Bonnevilles and the Ducati Classics for retros.

My cruiser line would be the Speedmaster, America and Rocket 111 with a California thrown in as well. My duel sport line up would be Multi-Stradas and Tigers.

If the shops were located near a university I'd have a selection of Aprilia and Vespa scooters for the trendy crowd.

Each shop would feature a full line of accessories and riding gear with an inhouse Esspresso bar with a big screen showing classic IOM TT and GP videos would give you somewhere to hang out while your bikes being serviced.

I'd call it Moto-Europa, Cool Huh?
 

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Big changes

I think you're right on about MotoGuzzi and Ducati, as well as the Aprilia scooter line. The real question is whether or not it is cost effective to continue the Aprilia motorcycle line. Their 650 is pretty neat, but did not do well here. Their 1000cc line is one that hasn't sold especially well. But with reduced price points, then a couple of models with the 1000cc motor might be a cool idea in the US. The Mille line has never quite flipped my switch. They were positioned as a competitor with Ducati, but never had the whole sex and feel thing going for them. They were just another serviceable 1000 twin. Ducati needs to place itself in the shoes of the American consumer and ask if they will buy a 1000cc twin from Aprilia with entrenched competition from Suzuki and Honda already present. Neither of those bikes has been screaming off of the sales floor, and they're pretty good.

Francis
 

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Re: Don't plan on getting rich

Totally agree with JB, few euro-motor stores make money. I've seen too many go belly-up (BMW is the exception). Its a tough business characterized by low volume and small margins (after discounting). Successful dealers are made with properly managed Parts, Accessories and SERVICE departments.
 

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Re: Aprilia's cash-cow died

Aprilia got into trouble because the Scooter market in Italy tanked (it's cash cow) due to a new helmet law and the simultaneous influx of lower priced Asian competition. Any plans to sell low-priced Aprilias in North America would be difficult if not impossible due to the strength of the euro.
 

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This for me is a sad day. I own a Tuono. I bought it after planning to buy an SV1000 until the bike show in 2003 after which I could not imagine buying the SV1k after seeing the Tuono. I am looking seriously to buy a Futura. I would also buy a Tuono 450 or 600 in a *heartbeat* as a third bike. I went to look at the Ducati ST3 the other day and walked away thinking "what's the big deal?" It looked and felt clunky. Put another way, I'm not really excited by bikes from many makers today except Aprilia (and maybe Benelli and KTM.) If Ducati buys them and kills their street bikes, it will be a SAD DAY INDEED!



GOD I hope the negotiations fall through and someone else buys them.
 

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Please let the RSV & Siblings live!!!

Like Mike above, I own a RSV 04 and am very pleased. I can't see Ducati keeping the sportsbike range of Aprilia going, as the RSV is a direct competitor to the 999. Here in Germany Aprilia was one of four manufacturers to increase their sales figures in Q1 amongst a steeply declining motorbike market (poor economy to blame). Personally, I think Ducati is like Ferrari, it's on the border of being boring, too omnipresent, just a tad behind the Japanese. Aprilia on the other hand still has something exotic about it (like Benelli): In Norway somebody said: "A big Aprilia, you sure see them very seldomly, what a beautiful machine..." I can only agree. As said before, without the GP effort and better marketing and servicing departments Aprilia could still go solo: the products are unique and have the best quality amongst its European peers. - YS

P.S.: I know that we have a world of free speech, but isn't there some law to silence annoying "know-everything-better" charades like... KPaul?
 
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