Hyosung takes on U.S. market

Publish Date: 
Apr 1, 2007
By Arlo Redwine

It's quite possible that some Dealer Expo attendees stopped by three different booths without knowing that they all had a connection to South Korea's Hyosung Motors & Machinery Inc.

  • U.S. subsidiary Hyosung Motors America Inc. was exhibiting in the RCA Dome.
  • Also in the Dome, LS MotorSports LLC, the Texas-based importer of Diamo scooters, promoted its new deal with Italy's Italjet, for which Hyosung may manufacture the Grifon 650cc naked sportbike, and another deal with Fischer Motor Co., which builds its fully dressed sportbike in the United States using a Hyosung twin.
  • Florida-based importer United Motors of America Inc. was on the second floor of the convention center displaying the first fruits of a 11-year contract with Hyosung: UM-branded vehicles that, except for the labels and colors, looked nearly the same as those from the Korean manufacturer.

Hyosung was founded in 1978, and soon after started producing vehicles for Suzuki. This technical collaboration lasted until 2005, though Hyosung still produces some smaller displacement ATVs for the OEM.

Hyosung began to produce its own small motorcycles and scooters in the late 1980s. Growth ensued until 1997 when a monetary crisis in the region forced the company to declare bankruptcy. The government allowed Hyosung to continue operating on much smaller scale, and by 2003 it had produced its first 650cc motorcycle.

In 2004 Wan-Ki Hong — founder and CEO of South Korea's HJC, maker of the top-selling helmet brand in America — bought a share of Hyosung, and ultimately became its president and CEO. In 2006 the company produced 60,000 units.

Hyosung entered the U.S. market about six years ago through AlphaSports Motors (now Tomberlin). Once Hyosung had its mid-sized bikes ready, it bought out the importer's contract and went dealer-direct.

Hyosung Motors America's current product mix includes three bikes powered by a 250cc V-twin — a classically styled cruiser ($3,399 base MSRP), a fully faired sportbike ($3,699) and a standard ($3,199) — and four bikes with a version of the 647cc V-twin — a half-faired and fully faired sportbike ($5,399 and $5,799, respectively), a naked standard ($4,999), and a cruiser with a V-Rod look ($6,199). Graphics and two-tone paint schemes on select models cost a bit more. All vehicles are carbureted, but future models with fuel injection are the in works. (continued)