Originally Posted by phillipsrog
But here's my take. Japanese bike companies have been like the big U.S. car companies in the 90s. They made their money selling big, expensive SUVs and were fat, rich, happy and content to dominate that market. Then the SUV market crashed.
Japanese bike companies were making money and playing it safe while smaller companies tapped into the adventure market to fill a relatively small niche.
Now the Japanese companies are seeing growth in the adventure bikes while other segments they dominated are flat or in decline. They can either try to rekindle those markets or shift their RD to something that's growing.
I would somewhat agree. And, offer a similarity.
During the auto industry bail out debacle, there was one American car company that stood out....Ford. It seems like Ford seen the crash coming, and began to re-focus on the actual auto, and not relying on the "they've always bought it, they always will" mentality of the buying public. They began to focus (re-focus?) on quality, reliability, and innovation before the others did. I know some will argue, but I seem to remember that the CEO of Ford was begging for money less than the other two.
Apply this to what is happening now in the motorcycle world. One company seems to be standing out....Yamaha. Yamaha seems to be the one Japanese big 4 that are taking the lead with innovation and quality. The S 10 is the first big displacement dual sport(>1000cc) bike that actually has dual sport capability out of the box, and so far the quality has been superb. This seems to be the first Japanese bike that could give the GS a run for it's money, and begin to steer sales away from the Germans. Yes, I am well aware that the V-Strom has been around for a while, but I think most would agree that the V is mostly a road bike, that many owners have outfitted to become off-road capable.
I am trying to be as unbiased as I can. Personally, I've always been a Suzuki fan. And I have two in the garage right now. A DRZ400SM that I am absolutely in love with. This bike makes me giggle like I did in when I was a young schoolboy, launching a Suzuki quad into orbit. I also have a DR650. This is one of the biggest POS's I have owned. Similar technology, similar manufacturing, different outcomes. I feel that the quality control of the 400 compared to the 650 is night and day. Which leads me to believe that the plants in Japan have fallen to the same syndrome as many of the American car companies......it's a (********)....people will buy it.....why do I need to pay attention to quality? But then,, they are two different bikes....so who knows. But to me, Suzuki has let their quality go down in the past few years, and have failed to keep up with technology compared to the current market leaders.
I also have in the stable a BMW RT. When it breaks hard, it will be replaced with a Yamaha Super Tenere or FJR.
And I haven't even talked about the WR250 yet.,,,,,
Just my $0.02