To regain lost market share, China will have to increase its investment in quality and technology. To meet overseas and domestic demand, China needs to produce about 25 million motorcycles a year, with about half intended for domestic consumption.
The interest in China by foreign manufacturers is, said Wang, a good thing as it will deliver the input China needs to increase the quality and technology of its products. He noted that a number of mutually beneficial partnerships exist with these companies.
We all remember the Chinese invasion of the U.S. powersports market from 2005 to 2007. So I asked Wang about exports to the United States. He said that, at present, China was focused on domestic and traditional markets, and doesn't have the capacity to sell competitive products in the United States. The expected rapid growth in China will provide more profit than could be made selling in the U.S. market, he said.
WANG DISMISSIVE OF ELECTRICS, CHINESE ATVS
Half of all scooters sold in China are electric and play a significant role in China’s transportation network. I found it odd that the only e-bikes I saw were the two on display at Honda’s booth. Wang was generally dismissive of these vehicles, saying that there are no standards for such products and are manufactured by bicycle companies.
CIMA: Aftermarket focuses on builders, not dealers
CIMA's second hall is primarily for the aftermarket, with a few secondary OEs. Unlike Dealer Expo, EICMA or Intermot, there are relatively few goods that a U.S. dealer would be interested in buying for resale to customers. In the states if you need a part for a vehicle, you generally source the OE unless, of course, it’s some kind of commodity item like brake pads, cables, tires and so on.
Here, it’s quite different. On display are instrument panels, cranks, cams, electrical connectors, various speedometers, tachometers and other instruments. Hundreds of petcocks, clutch plates stacked like hotcakes at IHOP on a Sunday morning, but very little in the way of outerwear, helmets, gloves, aftermarket exhausts, tires, lubricants and other items of which dealers stock their shelves.
It appears that while the first hall is dedicated to the needs of dealers in terms of basic motorcycle product, the second hall is geared more for small OEs who want to build a motorcycle from the ground up.
Outside the exhibition hall there were test rides, and retailers selling motorcycles to consumers, unlike the U.S. where they would be selling clothing and gear.-- Mike Vaughan
An owner of an electric scooter or bike is not required to have a license, the bike itself is not required to have a plate, and they’re limited to a 36 mph.
Wang indicated that several of these companies were invited to attend but declined; they believe, he said, that there is no foreign market demand. I guess they haven’t talked with Brammo or Zero. (Wang then added that some electrics may be exhibited at next year’s CIMA show.)
I returned to the U.S.market and asked him about all of the inexpensive Chinese ATVs that entered the country five years ago. According to Wang, the builders of these vehicles were not mainline Chinese motorcycle companies but, rather, assemblers who solicited distributors online, built a product for a price, and admittedly did not and could not supply any kind of backup support to either dealers or consumers.
Wang then stated that there is virtually no Chinese domestic ATV market due to heavy government restrictions, and there is no R&D for design -- which means, he said, that the Chinese have no real experience in creating ATVs for a world market.
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