That is a great point. With that said, I don't particularly love the "world market" manufacturing ideals. What works for one economy isn't necessarily what is best for the entire economy. I am a large equipment manufacture and and while a Global product has huge benefits from a profitability stand point. It has great draw backs when compared to a specialty manufacture that can tailor their product to the customers specific needs. I guess my suggestion is to have a base chassis, engine bottom end, wheel sizes, bars, ext. Then tailor the bike to specific needs for selling.
In some countries the bike will be the purchasers main mode of transportation and the income of the buyer will be substantially lower than that of an American who will ride this bike as a secondary mode of transportation and makes four times their yearly income. Two very different needs and two very different incomes.
Americans as a whole want a quality product at a reasonable price and Honda has succeeded there. With that said Americans also have a style and mindset that is all their own. There is a "cool" factor that grabs a hold of us and it is hard to resist. The company that steps up with all three will be the market leader. You can't fake it. You read terminology like "CRF250F styled", "steel frame that resembles the aluminum one from it bigger brothers" and so on. We as a whole are not dumb (the adventure touring motorcycle buyer) and we can tell a phony. The problem is that the uneducated buy may not notice the differences until it is too late and the purchase has been made. If you run your business with the "get them while you can" method you are bound to loose. That is why Honda isn't the name that it once was. This this has opened the door for companies like KTM to take a HUGE portion of the market. Maybe not world market but defiantly the USA market. Honda will make much more money off this bike alone than what KTM may make this year but that can only last for so long. There is a reason why KTM, Ossa, Betta, GasGas, and Burg are making it. If the Asian manufactures in general would release what Americans want (at-least lump us in the the Europe only market) instead of what the world wants. They could shut the door on the specialty companies.
Originally Posted by tshelver
You've got to look where Honda is selling these bikes, the USA is likely not their biggest market.
In SE Asia this is a big bike, and the characteristics suit the market there. It seems to be popular in Thailand, and has now been released on the Philippines market, where their previous range topper dual-sport was the decades old XR200 5-speed.
Price, low seat height and all round ability with good road manners is what sells bikes there.
It's being sold around the world as an efficient, affordable, practical bike good for most road and offroad conditions, and as such hits the mark pretty well.
In this market they are up against the Chinese, who are starting to make some very good machines in the 200cc range that cost less than half of the old POS XR200 and less than a third of the CRF.
When the Chinese can finally solve their marketing and image issues, and get some consistency in their quality (some of the newer models are very good, some of the older ones are horrible), this segment will become even more interesting.