- January 5th, 2014
One of the major signs of encouragement was the host of new models that hit the showrooms. Not just “bold new graphics,” but actual new models, and new engineering has surfaced. It’s as if the OEMs finally realized, “Hey, if the market is going to get off its collective butt, we’d better offer something worth having.”
For example, Honda led the new model invasion with several 500cc variants, the CTX1300 (the world’s largest scooter, in my opinion) the reintroduction of the Valkyrie, and everyone’s favorite, the Grom.
Most of the media buzz, however, was reserved for Indian and Harley-Davidson. The Polaris reinvention of the Indian motorcycle was a bona fide success from a marketing and press review perspective. The real indicator will be the sales numbers yet to come. Waiting patiently for the Indian uprising to subside, Harley-Davidson then released its “Project Rushmore” models, featuring liquid-cooled heads. Continuing its somewhat pathological aversion to showcasing real advances, they downplayed this significant bit of engineering; may the gods forbid that they do anything to offend the old guard! (psst, Harley, the old guard is mostly…dead!)
It was nice to see these, and several other, new entries, but I don’t see this collective fare doing much to kickstart the marketplace. Oh, bikes will be sold, but not in numbers large enough to affect CPR on the sales charts. So, just where will industry help come from?
I have a thought about this —whoa, there’s a shocker!— but I’d prefer to hear what you have to say first . So, tell me, what’s it going to take to make motorcycle sales healthy once again?