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Pro/con/philosophizing

I went to a factory auction the summer before I moved. Advice to those interested: Yes, you can buy anything your mechanical heart can think of (machinery for pennies on the ton) especially if you've got room, and be prepared to buy in bulk (a lot of two dozen micrometers at a time and such. It is also one of the most thoroughly depressing things you can witness. Without too much polemicizing on the erosion of the manufacturing base, it is just deeply sad to see another industrial effort get killed off like this.
 

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Gone in Sixty Seconds...Again

It royally pisses me off that America can send a rover to flip'n Mars, but we can't get out business $hit together. What was once a great manufacturing country and I mean "the greatest" has fallen to IPO's (anytime a company goes public it becomes victim to its shareholders and quality-control be damned), offshoring and outsourcing. This all sucks and for the motorcycling industry means the loss of an option to choose from as riders.
 

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Indian was not "killed" it died. An inferior product for the most part that cannot stand on it's own legs will usually die. The Harley market is unique unto itself. To try and compete with a clone like product will not work, for the same price point? Exception is the very small by comparison custom market.



We do have the ability to build the best products in the world. We also have the sense to understand a global market that we must compete in. Global competition is the reality we all must recognize.



Just a thought, how many of you would have believed ten years ago that Toyota would be number one in domestic vehicle sales. Guess what, Toyota did, it was their goal ten years ago and they did it!



The consumer will ultimately find the best value. The lowest price does not always constitute best value. There is an emotional factor. Many people I know who own Harleys will admit their purchase was very emotional, compared to most. Thats OK, but who would believe that a clone of an old classic bike could compete on a Global scale with HD.



Hopefully some good will come from this, and lessons will be learned.
 

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With Indian closing shop maybe Polaris (Victory) will see the writing on the wall and build an American assembled Performance motorcycle, whether it’s an all out Sport bike or a Standard/Naked bike. It can be done; look no further then the recent start up success of Aprilia with the Rotex V-Twin or Triumph and its 955i and 600 TT, H-D V-ROD even had a European firm design its engine and it equip it with Showa suspension.

Polaris is our best chance for an American assembled Sport bike; they have the engineering, manufacturing experience, long range vision and deep pockets to pull this off.

 

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Re: Pro/con/philosophizing

What is "depressing" about cleansing the marketplace of an inferior, overpriced product?

Have you seen or ridden one of these? My neighbor has one (Now, _him_ I feel for.) and it's a hodge-podge garage special that breaks down frequently and performs worse than the bikes it was cloned after. Good riddance.
 

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Did you know that Indian sold more motorcycles last year in the USA than Ducati, Aprilia, Triumph and Victory?



H-D had a liquid-cooled 60 degree VTwin in its Superbike long before Porsche got involved in the VRod project.
 

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You are correct. It is too bad that Indian did not come onto the scene again with their own motor to begin with and some advanced thinking versus retro. Instead, there was the constant flurry of spin-doctoring and pandering to the stars while trying to get Indian motorcycles into the movies versus making a solid motorcycle. Too bad. Indian will not resurrect in this run...it's gone for some time to come.
 

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You nailed it.

I call it the Harvard MBA syndrome. Short term profit at any cost. Wall Street kind of demands it though. During the internet boom when P/E ratios were spiraling out of control, some Harvard MBA called it the new economy where the old rules didn't apply. Now we see the results Boeing, GM, Ford losing market share because they didn't invest in R&D, people, plant and equipment. They also started offshoring critical skills.
 

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Re: Gone in Sixty Seconds...Again

Indian was a private company. Honda, HD, Suzuki, etc are public companies with shareholders. I don't understand how shareholder's = poor quality?
 

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I wonder if bikes like the Aprilia Tuono and Ducati Monster S4 count as sport or standard.



Is standard reserved for Bandits and Zr-7s and the like?



Judging by the cruiser sales, is it any wonder H-D isn't making anything else and the Japanese are falling all over themselves to come out with all new cruisers?
 

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Indian sold more motorcycles than Duc, Aprilia, Triumph, and Vic??? Are you math challenged? Are you seriously suggesting that the COMBINED SALES of DUCATI, APRILIA, TRIUMPH, and VICTORY, were ONE Motorcycle? I say again.... OOONNNNEEEE????



Sheesh. I'm the proud owner of the only motorycle sold last year!! Did you know that Indian after 4 years of teeter tottering only produced 2 prototypes (on sale as we speak)? I think you're full of poopoo ... Admit it man, you just made that stuff up from the crack of yo' butt...!!!!



And how dare you invoke the name of the all-mighty superbike with the likes of Harley. As I recall, in it's first race parts of the engine fell off in one of the first laps and the team was a DNF.
 

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I think it's a matter of time. Unfortunately Harley has made a deep deep niche for itself that they will have huge difficulties crawling out of. In another 10 years I suspect that the harley crowd will begin to thin out (i.e. get old and die off, mostly of natural causes I hope, and not the "swatted by a cager"-type death). Look around at bike meets. It's the older crowd that hovers around the harleys. Young guys like me just can't afford them anymore. Even a used harley is just too $$ (value retention HAS a downside). When you talk to young riders, they all say: Sportbike (and let's be honest here, "standards" and "touring" bikes are by and large "sporty", or they'd be called "cruisers"). Once you get hooked on a Sportbike, once you feel that acceleration, get the "love" for twisties, why would you go to join the "old age" bikes?

It used to be the other way around. Remember when Harleys DOMINATED the racing world? When's the last time you saw one at a race?

 

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Yeah, who can forget the 50 VR 1000's that were sold with a $50,000 price tag and the unforgettable performance in the super bike series, can’t figure out why they went outside the company for engine and suspension development.



Start-up companies Aprilia and Triumph are successful because they manufacture bikes that appeal to a world wide market not just to the domestic market.



The top selling bikes in England, Japan, Australia and Europe are sport bikes with cruisers no where in site. The US market and probably those Canadians are the only significant market for cruisers.

 

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Grand National - would that be the 883 sportster series or is Grand National the series that Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki left 10 years ago, only then did factory supported H-D teams dominate the series.

2 years ago Suzuki started giving factory support to 2 teams running the TL 1000 V-twin, how long before they dominate the series again? How long would it take for Honda to dominate the dirt track again?

 

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Re: Pro/con/philosophizing

I hear you, and I agree that the marketplace has spoken....

But there still is something deeply depressing about the auction of any factory, something about the broken dreams of so many people. Not just the founders, managers, etc, but the people who fed their families working there.

I have been involved in the closing of a number of plants -- often it was my financial analysis that determined that they should be closed, but no matter how much I knew that it had to be done, it was always hard to keep the tears out of my eyes when I would witness the actual closing.
 

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I didn't say combined. But according to American Rider, Indian's actual numbers were higher than each of those companies individually. They actually sold quite a few in 2003.



I own a Ducati. I see lots of Indians on the road here in San Diego. Just the occasional Triumph and Aprilia. Quite a few Ducs here in SoCal but they don't sell many nationwide.



I didn't say Harley was a good Superbike! Suzuki and Kawasaki haven't exacty been burning up the podium in Moto GP lately.
 
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