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Super Moderator "Loose Nut" - Houston, Texas
2001 Vstar 1100 Classic (sold), 2006 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic
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Discussion Starter #1
And the Board of Directors had to implement your suggestion or idea, what would it be?

  • A new model?
  • A new class of bikes?
  • Lower prices? Higher prices?
  • A new dealer management/training program?
  • Acquisition?
  • Invest more in government lobbying?
  • Invest more in product/engine research?
  • Bring the Star Lineup back?
  • Do nothing, pass out bonuses to all employees for a job well done.
 

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Revive the Star line with four new cruisers. A 250, 950, 1700 and the Strat 1900. Nothing overly fancy just keep the price affordable. I don't need an overly sophisticated computer, just more things to go wrong and features I don't need or can afford. Like the new Venture but way out of my price range and I don't want half of the features it has so my only option is to go to Kawasaki when I'm done with my current bike.
 

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2001 Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar Classic and 1999 Honda NT650V Deauville
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Put an intelligent, ambitious, open minded person with a desire to improve in charge of the MotoGP team.

Bring back the XS 650 looking the same as the standard from 1977 onwards, but with injection, 270 degree crank, a balancer, improved frame, suspension and brakes. Price it to compete with the Royal Enfield 650.

Bring back the most profitable bikes of the Star lineup after a proper survey to make sure the audience will buy enough of them and call them Yamahas.
 

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the answers so far seem to be asking for things you want as a customer. maybe that's the best way to answer this since you're only CEO for a day, but if the goal is to figure out what is going to be the best thing for the company, i don't think any of these answers apply. there seems to be a theme of 'bring things back to the way they were'. but as a CEO you gotta figure out what's going to be best for the company for the future. i'm not sure what that is. i think the goal should be trying to figure out which demographic should be targeted. and that's probably not an older generation who is likely to only buy one more vehicle that's going to be their last.

then i'd ask 3 things and hire a team of diverse backgrounds and credentials to answer them:
1)why is Harley falling and why is Indian rising? (for all i know neither of these companies are given much thought as competitors as much as BMW and all the other Asian brands, but understanding what is going on with them could help to see what to avoid and what to mimic)
2)what is going to be the single most impactful way to stand out in the motorcycle world?
3)how is bike culture shifting as the world pivots away from this pandemic and where are global economies now headed?
 

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I would push for an online ordering system with delivery to your door.
Dealers would still show bikes, for buyers 'hands on' shopping but all the rest would be done online. Once buyers decide what they want and purchase, the bikes would be delivered to the buyers address.

Benefits:

  • Motorcycles could be sold cheaper, factory direct without having to pay dealer fees that pay for dealer overhead so more would sell.
  • Dealers only need stock/maintain demo/show bikes, reducing their overhead and maximizing store space for whatever else they want to sell, (other Yamaha products) and allows for smaller dealerships floor space.
  • Dealers make most of their money from bike maintenance or selling bike products and floor space would increase for this purpose with only show bikes to store.
  • Buyers who know what they want can buy from home with no need to travel to a dealership.
  • Yamaha could offer more custom customer choices for to the door delivery because dealers wouldn't have to buy all the variations for their dealerships, just the 'base' demo bikes for the 'hands on' experience.
  • Yamaha could then sell more build to order bikes --customer chooses colors, options, etc. and they are built to order and delivered with customer paying for extra costs over sock. This takes advantage of the market who wants a 'customized' bike delivered and encourages more Yamaha made accessories offerings.
Imagine a friend has a new Yamaha model you're hot to buy but you live a long way from a dealer. With money to burn you just get online and 'shop' for your bike, choose color, accessories and options, fill out the payment forms, opt for a dealer to register the bike, (or not) opt for insurance choices, and when you're done you have your proof of purchase code and in about 5 days your bike is delivered. Credit options could also be offered for those who don't have cash for full payment.
 

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I would push for an online ordering system with delivery to your door.
Dealers would still show bikes, for buyers 'hands on' shopping but all the rest would be done online. Once buyers decide what they want and purchase, the bikes would be delivered to the buyers address.

Benefits:

  • Motorcycles could be sold cheaper, factory direct without having to pay dealer fees that pay for dealer overhead so more would sell.
  • Dealers only need stock/maintain demo/show bikes, reducing their overhead and maximizing store space for whatever else they want to sell, (other Yamaha products) and allows for smaller dealerships floor space.
  • Dealers make most of their money from bike maintenance or selling bike products and floor space would increase for this purpose with only show bikes to store.
  • Buyers who know what they want can buy from home with no need to travel to a dealership.
  • Yamaha could offer more custom customer choices for to the door delivery because dealers wouldn't have to buy all the variations for their dealerships, just the 'base' demo bikes for the 'hands on' experience.
  • Yamaha could then sell more build to order bikes --customer chooses colors, options, etc. and they are built to order and delivered with customer paying for extra costs over sock. This takes advantage of the market who wants a 'customized' bike delivered and encourages more Yamaha made accessories offerings.
Imagine a friend has a new Yamaha model you're hot to buy but you live a long way from a dealer. With money to burn you just get online and 'shop' for your bike, choose color, accessories and options, fill out the payment forms, opt for a dealer to register the bike, (or not) opt for insurance choices, and when you're done you have your proof of purchase code and in about 5 days your bike is delivered. Credit options could also be offered for those who don't have cash for full payment.
Most bikes come disassembled in a crate so if you were going to have it shipped to your door it would need to be fully assembled at the factory and require more shipping space (therefore more shipping cost) and would not ship with a charged battery and likely no gas or oil in it. Shipping from Japan you might get it by the end of riding season if you're lucky. Then you have to check all the nuts and bolts to make sure nothing came loose in shipping. Go to the DMV and license it, etc. First guy to forget to put oil in it is gonna whine like a baby when the engine dies on him. I think I'd pay a little more and let the dealer be responsible.

then i'd ask 3 things and hire a team of diverse backgrounds and credentials to answer them:
1)why is Harley falling and why is Indian rising? (for all i know neither of these companies are given much thought as competitors as much as BMW and all the other Asian brands, but understanding what is going on with them could help to see what to avoid and what to mimic)
2)what is going to be the single most impactful way to stand out in the motorcycle world?
3)how is bike culture shifting as the world pivots away from this pandemic and where are global economies now headed?
1) In my opinion Harley is failing because most of their bikes have the same engine. Too much choice for the consumer(20 models) but not really all that different. They need to reduce the model line up which they thought they accomplished by killing the Dyna line up but what they really did was kill a lower priced line up that would have helped customers get into a Harley at a more affordable price. They need maybe 5 models with the larger M8 engines and perhaps put a 1340 engine in the Sport Glide, Street Bob, and perhaps the Softail line to have an offering above the Sportster without having to drop big bucks to go to the next model up. I was going to move up from my Sportster to a Dyna Wide Glide but when they killed the Dyna line I went to Yamaha instead. Their loss, my gain.
2) Harley has that ability to stand out with their dealer network which is second to none.
3) bike culture is shifting away from the cruiser line so for Harley to continue to offer 20 different cruisers and touring models is going to hurt them long term. With many lost jobs due to the pandemic people are not going to have the big money to drop on expensive Harleys is going to result in minimal sales in each model. Time to streamline and replace some of these cruisers with the Pan America and the Bronx. I think that's also what killed Yamaha's Star line. Too many models. Should have just offered a 950, 1700 and the Venture.
 

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2006 Stratoliner, 2014 Triumph Rocket III Touring, '81 XS650SH Project
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@bevo saw the point of the question, what would the CEO do? Like most of you, I have a desire to see certain machines return to the line up (VMAX was not mentioned, what's wrong with you people?). But as the CEO, the chief mission is to remain profitable. I think one way to do that is by improving customer service at all levels within the Yamaha family. Dealerships need great customer service from corporate. I have seen the frustration at the dealership level on warranty work and other dealings with corporate. The CEO can directly affect how the company helps the dealers to be successful. This may incur a higher cost up front but I think will pay good dividends in the end. After all, it is the dealers that make or break the brand.

And of course make sure there is always a VMAX in the line up. Always. And a Base Stratoliner with as little computer crap as possible...
 

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2001 Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar Classic and 1999 Honda NT650V Deauville
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I believe there is a huge difference between being CEO for a day vs permanently. One day = make the most out of it, you do not need to remain responsible 😄 Permanent = building the business. I consider the orginal question as a playful imaginative thing, where we can follow our imaginary dream without consequences ;)
 

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First and foremost, I would bring back an 1100 CC cruiser. To me they are the best displacement in the middleweight bike category and nobody makes one. Second, I would want a V-Max, but one that doesn't look like it was made for Mad Max. I have ridden a V-Max and was impressed, to say the least, with the power. I do, however, think that the last V-Max was one of the ugliest bikes ever made. Even making it look a little more like a standard would be better. Something in the middle that is neither sport bike nor cruiser.

As for Harley Davidson, I have brought this up in other threads and this is what I think: (Please keep in mind that I am an electrician and know nothing beyond being a customer.) Harley Davidson, in my mind is a victim of one of the best things about a Harley Davidson, the aftermarket. I have both a Harley and a V-Star. My Harley is 16 years old and today I can find any part for it. Weather it be replacement parts or aftermarket add-ons most everything is available and the majority of these things are as close as my nearest Harley shop. If not there, I believe an entire 2005 Electra Glide can be built from Amazon or EBay. Trying to find parts for my 2009 V-Star 1100 is a test of my patience and has caused me, more than once, to consider selling it. It is to some degree good that Harley has made the same bikes for as long as they have, but this is clearly not good from a new sales perspective. More and more I see people riding on older Harleys that don't look much different from new ones. It is true though that to survive Harley is going to have to find something that appeals to the younger crowd or first time buyer. They currently only have a couple of these available and contrary to what they think, nobody wants a Sportster. In the end, I don't think that Harley is going away. I can't say much for Indian as I don't know that much about them.

This brings me back to the third thing I would do if I were CEO for a day: I would require that shops selling Yamahas meet a certain standard of customer service and availability of both bikes and parts. I would have a standard for how shops should look and operate. Shop owners may not like this at first, but this is what saved Harley Davidson after the AMF years along with improvements in manufacturing and product quality. Along with that I would consider building Yamaha motorcycles here in the United States. And I say that not knowing if they already are.
 

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Most bikes come disassembled in a crate so if you were going to have it shipped to your door it would need to be fully assembled at the factory and require more shipping space (therefore more shipping cost) and would not ship with a charged battery and likely no gas or oil in it. Shipping from Japan you might get it by the end of riding season if you're lucky. Then you have to check all the nuts and bolts to make sure nothing came loose in shipping. Go to the DMV and license it, etc. First guy to forget to put oil in it is gonna whine like a baby when the engine dies on him. I think I'd pay a little more and let the dealer be responsible
I do understand how bikes are currently shipped. All your related concerns could be overcome by opening up assembly hubs in the US so the bikes could be set up there just as they are at the dealers and then shipped to the customers address, or delivered to a local dealer, depending on the buyers choice. I don't know about you, but I would be willing to wait a week or two or even longer to get the exact bike I want (color and accessory options) and to have it arrive at my door if going to a dealer was impractical for me. Bikes shipped air ride transport aren't going to rattle around and have nuts and bolts falling off and there is no reason the think someone at a hub assembly is any less competent than one at a dealership. Bikes would just need to be pretested as ready to ship prior to delivery.

Having motorcycles delivered to your door with online buying is a revolutionary idea and that's the point. The first manufacturer to offer it is going to have an edge on the competition.
 

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First and foremost, I would bring back an 1100 CC cruiser. To me they are the best displacement in the middleweight bike category and nobody makes one.
Nobody makes one? The Indian 2021 Bobber is an 1,133 cc engine
103299


The Honda Rebel 2021 is an 1100 cc bike (closer to a cruiser than a street bike):

103300


I agree that the VMAX is an Ugly bike and there is a small market for super powerful ugly bikes. ; )
 
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VMAX= the motorcycle equivalent of a "mid life crisis" Corvette purchase.

Me and my wife call that an "E-penis".

Just yanking Boog's chain. Carry on. 😁
 

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Didn't know about the Indian. My son looked at one once, but found it to be unaffordable and bought a V-Star 1300 instead. As far as the Honda, yes, it is an 1100, but they are very small. I sat on one at a shop the other day, and it is an incredibly cramped bike. I am under 6' tall and this bike felt like a scooter to me. I would love to see the return of the Shadow 1100 or V-Star 1100. I had an 1100 Sabre in the early 2000's and it was one of the best bikes I've ever owned. Best thing about it was that for a little money, I was able to turn it into a great bagger that I could ride on long trips. Today I have a V-Star 1100 and it is quick, fun and so far has not given me a minute's problem. Of course, I understand that availability is based on sales and market research and I am sure that the class of bike was eliminated by most manufacturers based on those things alone. Can't make what doesn't sell.
 

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I would try to be the Chevrolet / Cadillac of smaller bikes/scooters.
Build QUALITY bikes.

Really. Design and build BOTH 300 cc and below bikes AND moped equivalent, 150 cc equivalent, and 300 cc equivalent ELECTRIC bikes.

Personally, I think someone should make an electric bike WITH a small gasoline/diesel engine that runs at optimal RPM's for the generator/alternator it powers.

Like some electric cars do. "Range extender" gas motor in an electric car.
Oh, and the battery pack/s MUST be removable!!!!!

I refuse to get an electric bicycle or motorcycle with non-removable batteries!!!

In an electric bike/motorcycle the most expensive part IS the battery pack. And a lot of people don't have access to a place to park WITH an power outlet or charger.

I sure would prefer to carry 1 or more 40 pound batteries up to my 15th floor apartment (example, not me) than try to carry an entire bicycle/moped/scooter up to the 15th floor. Not removable (and replaceable! ) Is a "no deal" for me.

Think about it. A 150/200 cc equivalent electric bike/scooter that can run off of the generated electric power if needed, but still has full size batteries as well.

Short term (5+years) plan to sell these, before transitioning to all electric.
One frame with the same body work. available as gasoline, electric with a range extender motor, and full electric. Any of the 3 versions don't sell, kill them off. More parts for the other ones.

And if it works (sales), then do the same for the middle-weight class bikes.
Unless it is only as an emergency backup, I don't see a range extender version of the 900 cc or larger equivalent bikes. A small enough engine to FIT a big electric motorcycle would not be able to put out enough to drive it with dead batteries. At least not very fast driving! ☺
 

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1. Restart V Star or cruiser line with updates and just a little more powerful
2. Bring production to America; ppl are more apt to buy something if there's an investment or it effects them
3. Produce an electric cruiser; probably the least popular idea
4. Give me a new Stratoliner Deluxe; most important idea
 

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Ok, a few of you made me change my answer. If I were Yamaha CEO for a day I would sign an executive order banning Yamaha from EVER producing an electric motorcycle. All politics aside, electric vehicles are worse for the environment in the long run than gas vehicles. Of course, motorcycle manufacturers could do their part as well by developing small displacement turbocharged engines, which in the auto industry, has yielded higher performance vehicles with extraordinary fuel milage. Fact: My 2005 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide gets about 26 miles to the gallon. My 2009 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom gets around 34 miles per gallon. My 2019 Volkswagen Jetta with a 1500cc turbocharged engine gets about 41 miles to the gallon on the highway, and can cruise well over 100mph without breaking a sweat.
 
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