I think a major obstacle to new Ducati buyers is the cost of valve adjustments. But that problem lies with the dealers, not Ducati. Senior Ducati management has complained to the dealers, but with no response.
A decent Ducati mechanic needs about two hours to adjust the valves on the two valve per head engines. But dealers routinely gouge the purchaser by charging $500 to adjust the two valve head. I know Ducati mechanics are wizards, but $250 an hour?
My recommendation is to get the dealer to agree to a reasonable valve adjustment price, like $200. Then, once out of warranty, learn to do it yourself. I took another option. I was so pi**ed off that I did not buy the Ducati I wanted. I bought a BMW.
I love the bikes and the sound of the desmo valve train. But the price of service for someone who rides as much as I do is ridiculous.
Im with you guys on this. I had to ride 150 miles to a guy on Sunday morning to do the valves on my Ducati. He charged 55.00 bucks an hour and that worked out to about 150 200 for valves fluids and the rest of a full service. This Ducati man also let me know what valves needed adjusting if any. I went 10K between services and only one valve moved out of tolerance. Desmo valves do not move much after the brake in period. At least that has been my experience. I ride a 2001 Aprilia Falco and now the Ducati magic is almost all faded away. Nice to look at still
Incentives are usually used to move product when inventories get to high. So what is the matter at Ducati? Too much production, not enough demand? Has competition stolen market share and is Ducati moving to regain long term profits through short term incentives? Are the new ugly bikes not working out? I always like to try to figure out what is going on with every move like this. What a boring old fart I have become.
From the look of the floor at the local Duc dealer I'd have to say that the new 999 style isn't selling very well. The styling and the price add up to slow sales. Pierfrancesco Chili is my hero. My age and riding a couple year old bike to the podium. Says he hates the new 999 and wants to give it back to Ducati.
800 Monsters and Supersports are sold out. By far the best value in the Ducati line up. That 800 motor pulls like the old 900.
You sound like you're right on target, Honda and Yamaha have been advertising like nuts as well with financing, cash back, and incentives for buying accessories. It sounds like these companies haven't met sales quotas for the summer and are trying anything they can to meet their numbers by initiating incentive programs in the middle of their hottest season. It sounds like a great time to buy new.
Despite the fact that we think the world revolves around motorcycles, it actually revolves around economics.
Good question. I was looking at a Multistrada and asked about the optional "comfort seat." The dealer told me that in addition to the $300 (or was it $400?) charge for the seat it took four hours (!) of labor to install it. Apparently the gas tank has to be removed to get access to the bolts that hold the seat on. I could remove and remount the seat on my BMW about 100 times in four hours, not to mention the heads are about as easy to access as they could be. I like the look and feel of Ducatis very much, but the questions about the cost of maintenance and repairs really turn me off.
A person of moderate mechanical abilities can easily do their own valve adjustments for almost no cost. The Desmo valves may take twice as long, but if you have to spend one Saturday or a couple of weeknight evenings a year, so what.
All this talk of economics, sales, marketing and inventories makes me wonder: have any of you read Dexter "Party Buffalo" Ford's most interesting article on branding in the current issue of Burns' ex?
Pretty interesting stuff to me. While I'm not a marketing maven, I'm pretty much in agreement that only Hardley Able has motorcycle branding/marketing down pat - with "Bring More Wampum" close behind. Most of the other bike companies seem to never NOT be running heavy duty incentives. This can't be good for the long term health of the business.
Sure wish the others would get this figgerd out...I'd hate to see any more makers go toes up.
Joe & Mike (ex Zen, ex Roswell Honda/BMW, ex Buzz Psycle, etc.) told me there was a new independent Ducati shop up Marietta way. Was started by frustrated Ducati fans. Sorry, no other info available. Call Joe at WOW for more info.
Bingo. I did; it was excellent. In fact I mentioned it on the Suzuki Boulevard thread (what a mistake that is). I am in the advertising/branding business and can tell you that Ford's analysis illustrates the way any smart company thinks of their brand. Many European companies only go halfway. The Japanese, although seemingly sophisticated marketers, don't really get it, either.
Wonder if you thought of the interesting contradiction between the brilliant way H-D has nurtured their brand and yet almost completely botched the Buell brand. Ford didn't mention this but I thought it was an interesting comparison. (They've tried to implement some of the same tactics used to build the H-D brand, but then they go shoot themselves in the foot with an indifferent dealer network, among other blunders. Those two brands don't belong in the same building together. But, the jury is still out on Buell. We'll see.)