Thursday, February 07, 2008

Help your scoot friends help themselves

Every once in a while, we get this publication at the shop -DealerNews- which highlights the powersports industry and has interesting articles about numbers and trends and blah blah blah. Well, this month's issue was more of the same, but what did stand out amongst all the blahs was the sheer number of ads for new scooter brands looking for dealers to sell them!

I'm not talking about Piaggio or Kymco (although there was a Kymco ATV ad in there) or some other well known OEM, but a large number of Chinese manufactured models with no home or distributor. There was over 20 in total and many of them looked to be the exact same types of scoots, just with different colors or stickers applied to them. Naturally, I began to wonder if all of these different "brands" were actually the same brand with different logos and badges glued to them.

So I did a little research.

It seems that, for the most part, while a lot of the scooters are built in the same type of manufacturing plants and centers, they are actually produced by different companies. While I have no opinion if that's a good thing or a bad thing (I do think that the pollution coming out of Shanghai must be attrocious), I guess I am a bit surprised. I really expected all of these scoots to be coming from the same company.

Here's the list I compiled before I realized that it would take all day to do this and got lazy:
  • Znen Motor - Zhejiang Zhongneng Industry Group Co Ltd
  • Peace Sports -Zhejiang Peace Industry and Trade Co Ltd
  • XRT - Obviously Chinese, but they've masked the manufacturing info. Site only lists the U.S. distribution address.
  • SYM - Xiashing Motorcycles Co Ltd
  • Adly Moto - Her Chee Industrial Co Ltd. Full page ad noting how quality is more important than price but still had some extremely cheap wares to sell.
  • Qlink - Not the first ad I've seen for this Chinese firm of clone-cycles, but they've hidden their manufacturing information.
  • Bam X - uh..
  • Jonway Motorcycles - Shanghai JmStar Motorcycle Co LTD & Shanghai Shenke Motorcycle Co LTD. The only one I could find being produced by two susbidairies of one conglomo company. Scary. Site is poorly translated and produced by a company in China for the U.S. market. Bad move.
  • Crossrunner - Says produced by "North American," some U.S. company but a deeper look reveals that the actual name is "North American Imports."
  • Veken - This one is funny. The site is crap, totes that they're the "leader of Power Sports technology," but has a picture of an MV Agusta f-1000s sportbike and a BMW Boxer Cup replica racer. Obviously not Veken vehicles. Who does that? They do showcase a "hybrid" scooter that gets a supposed 200 mpg, but after looking at it and the specs, I'm assuming that it would only get 200 mpg once and then fall apart. The Veken China site by comparision, is amazing. No info on products though (my Kanji comprehension isn't that great...)
  • Keeway - Qianjiang Group of China
  • Meitan - Shanghai Meitan Motorcycle Co Ltd.
  • SunL - Says they're homegrown in Texas but there is NO manufacturing information avaialble. A hard look at their product shows that the bikes are obviously Chinese

MANY of the companies listed above flaunt not only scooters, but streetbikes, dirtbikes, golf carts, ATVs and sometimes dune buggies. My problem with that fact is that even big OEMs like Honda and Suzuki aren't equally strong in everything they build, so why would I think that these Chinese firms with little history of quality and reliability would be any better if not just outright horrible? It would be one thing if these companies advertised that they were building bikes as "weekend toys" or cheap gifts that are for immediate entertainment only... But they don't. They advertise to prospective dealers and customers as if the products can compete with existing, proven marques such as Vespa and Kymco.

Anyhow, thought I'd share share that fun stuff with you guys and gals. I say, if you have any friends looking to buy a scoot sometime soon and they mention some brand you never heard of, show them this list and beg them to do some research.

I hope this post doesn't come off as I'm bashing Chinese products; it's just that most of the new "hot and cheap" is coming from the country and not a lot is being said about what these products really are nor who the companies are the are producing them. With the recent scare with pet foods and children's toys, I think it's only fair that folks take a little bit of caution when spending their hard earned money on a new ride as well. After all, isn't buying a scoot is about flexibility and having fun? Nothing fun in buying something only to have it not work the way it was intended.


RED said...

I also seen at the car show a few weeks ago in Detroit that These Chinese co. are intering the car market in the U.S.. This will really shine light on their quality.

Mike said...

Good info. One correction to your list. SYM is Sangyang Industry Co. Ltd. A Taiwan manufacturer that started out making bicycle headlights in 1959. Had a long term relationship with Yamaha. Is the #1 scooter manufacturer in Taiwan.

Lina said...

Yeah, I was about to step you up on on the SYM. They're very good too. :)

Brett said...

Yes as with the Sym, Adly made in Taiwan, with a good reputation... was the no. one selling scooter in Australia for a reason, at the same price as a Yamaha I might add.