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They sound an awful lot like they sounded at the Milan Bike Show.
An Italian journalist commented "They are trying to show optimism but they don't believe what they are saying".
One of the things that hit them the hardest is the shift away from sportsbikes, a traditional source of excellent profits. I don't know how the situation in the US is but here they hit a downwards trend around 2005, when the industry was still selling bikes by the truckload. There are various reasons for this but the major one was fashion: sportsbikes were out, big, road oriented trailies were in. The Japanese, who once literally owned the sector, were caught napping and BMW made billions. Still it didn't matter since they were making a good profit with large volumes of scooters and road going 600's.
To be completely honest many dealers asked the Japanese to differentiate, to introduce large displacement bikes people would be actually interested into since their own margins on 600's and scooters are so thin they require large sales. The Honda CB1300, introduced in most European markets in 2003, connected instantly with customers. How did Honda react? By reducing imports to a trickle and pressuring dealers to push on customers the bland CBF1000. This year they outdid themselves by stopping imports of the popular unfaired S version altogether and only importing the half-faired S model.
Sure, the economy is in the crapper but they made some very bad decisions they had to pay sooner or later.
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