CAN GLOBALIZATION SAVE
The KTM Duke is made in
India and is one example of
globalization in the motorcycle
You don’t need a palm reading by Madam Kulagina to know that the price of
modern motocross bikes is hurting the continued growth of the sport worldwide.
There are those in the halls of motorcycle manufacturers who believe that the
solution to the high cost of small-run, exotic racing machines is to farm them out to
India, China, Brazil and Thailand. With cheaper labor and improving production
quality, the price of the typical 450cc motocross bike could drop $1000 or more.
Blasphemy, you say? Motorcyclists would never buy a bike made in a low-tech
country. Wrong. They already do. KTM makes its 125, 200 and 390 Dukes in
India and plans to form a joint venture in China to make the same bikes for the
Chinese’ domestic market. The Kawasaki Ninja 250, Ninja 650 and KLR650 are
sourced from Thailand. BMW private-labeled Taiwanese-built Kymco engines for its
small-displacement models. Honda builds the CBR250 and Grom in Thailand, while
the CRF230 comes from Brazil. Ducati builds knock-down kits in Thailand, while
MV Agusta does the same thing in Brazil. Yamaha’s entry-level bikes have been
produced in Brazil for years.
Since the sales figures for motocross bikes have tanked since the recession,
setting up the factory’s expensive home-base production line for a short run of
machines doesn’t make sense. Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, KTM or Suzuki could
build these bikes in offshore factories, with technicians shipped in to ensure quality
control or even use knock-down kits to speed production and lower costs.
There’s nothing rough about these
diamonds. Every part is scrupulously
selected and meticulously
maintained, every facet glimmers.
THE CHOICE OF CHAMPIONS