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No Dragsters, No Rollercraft, Few Surprises

June 6, 2008

Last Friday Steve Guzman from The Scooter Scoop and Italjet USA announced some sad news. They have decided to “…re-evaluate our requirements for the current season,”. Their press release quoted on The Scooter Scoop cited the lack of the new Italjet products, such as the Dragster and Rollercraft. Steve went on to explain some issues with the development of the new lines. Apparently Italjet just didn’t have the capabilities to build or find partners to build the new bikes.  Unfortunately, this resulted in Steve leaving the company effective May, 30th.  Interestingly, the Amarcord was cited, originally shown as a prototype back in September, 2001 (yes, almost 7 years ago), as one of the scooter designs that didn’t get off the ground but Italjet has already diluted the name and put it on a Mainland China-made bike of dubious appeal.

This sad news goes beyond a good guy like Steve Guzman having to find a new job. It demonstrates again how difficult it will be for any non-fully established firm to ever create something new. It would be great to see an upstart make a great new design from scratch and bring it to the masses. But that scenario is probably not likely in the current environment. We very sincerely wish the best of luck to Steve and Italjet USA. That stated, to the latter I suggest no more ‘coming soon’ news until trucks leave your warehouse on their way to dealers.

Comments

6 Responses to “No Dragsters, No Rollercraft, Few Surprises”

  1. supersoulNo Gravatar on June 7th, 2008 6:50am

    Few Surprises?? How ’bout no surprise? From the get-go, the “new” Italjet business plan looked like a lot of smoke and mirrors to me. I’m surprised that an industry-savvy individual like Steve Guzman didn’t do his homework before associating himself with this sham of a company. Italjet’s press releases regarding new product development reeked of overpriced vaporware combined with delusions of grandeur.

    Furthermore, we consumers already have a plethora of decently designed, reliable, and inexpensive Taiwanese scoots to choose from. Why in hell did Italjet think that the savvy consumer would be willing to pay an exorbitant premium for their “Italian designs” built with common Chinese parts?

    Good riddance Italjet!!

  2. pocphilNo Gravatar on June 8th, 2008 12:30pm

    1 – I warned Steve…let this be a lesson to ALL scooterists…if a guy comes up to you and asks you for help “marketing or developing” his new scooter, run away. If he’s got the nuts, he’ll have a marketing director already. If he doesn’t already have a flock of classic scooters in the garage, he’s just riding a fad and won’t be there when you need support.

    2 – Diamo / LS motorsports / Jon & Mathu Solo hired a ringer to push vaporware and sign up dealers to generate $$$ on orders for products that didn’t have a chance in hell of appearing. Either they’re shady, or their not very good at market/supplier research.

    3 – If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.

    4 – Just because it shows up at Indy doesn’t mean it’s actually going to arrive anytime soon.

    Scomadi
    Lambretta USA (you can’t count the Uno or the Due…I mean the “good” one).
    Vespa GTS300
    The original ’98 Vespa Et3
    Anything bearing the name Italjet
    Anything Peugeot
    Madass 125
    Anything Sachs

    I’m sure there are many others.

    5 – No matter how good the Kool-Aid tasted at the time, if you drank it and look foolish now you’re gonna have to live with it…I’ve been there.

    I’m going back to trying to drink away this sunburn.

  3. thescooterscoopNo Gravatar on June 8th, 2008 8:33pm

    POCPHIL! Does your parole officer know you’re drinking? He does NOW! :P~

    Lemme sprinkle a little “steve’s special sauce” on this one.
    1) You did! You said “It’s never gonna happen”. Did I believe you? Well, kinda… but I WANTED to see it happen and I agreed to do everything I could to make it so without any shady business. I wanted to make sure that IF it didn’t work out I could still leave with a clear conscious.

    2) Jon’s not there any more. As for “generating $$$ or orders”, both Mat and I had agreed that we wouldn’t accept any payment until the units were ready to ship. As of the time I climbed on board in January, there was no “buy in”, no deposit, no minimum order. No, not the most savvy way to run a distribution company… I mean, who DOESN’T have those sorts of requirements today? It’s just that Mat wanted to make the transactions with the dealers as painless as possible to make up for the pain caused by Italjet in 2007. You’ve just about got it nailed with “not very good at supplier research”, but that phrase has to be handed over to corporate Italjet Spa. That’s been the holdup since 2006!

    3) Free Beer!

    4) Amen.

    5) Eh, I’m not a big fan of the lemon Kool-Aid we’ve been poured. I feel pretty good though. I don’t know anyone who would say I bamboozled them. I think, if anything, most of the dealers I talked with on a weekly basis were just upset to be THAT much shorter on stock this year. I never thought I’d see the day where a shop was actually clean out of scooters. Surprising, ain’t it? (though a seasoned vet would say “they gotta learn how to forecast better”)

    Good luck with the sunburn. I’ll feel better when my AC finally gets fixed right. You’d think after 2 weeks they’d have it ironed out!

    Cheers!
    steve

    Oh wait! Supersoul.
    Eh… Shammm? I don’t know about Sham. I know that LS Motorsports really is playing with as straight a hand as any today. That company has really cleaned up their act from the years gone by. They’ve got a new warehouse, a good staff, and the quality of their products is head and shoulders above what was made available in 2005. As for Italjet, Massimo WANTS it to succeed, but from my perspective he really needs a manufacturing partner. I believe if they tied up with Taiwan (TGB, SYM, PGO) and just licensed their name and designs that they could be a huge success EVEN with Taiwanese VINs on them. I mean, who would really care if it has a “Z” VIN? If its got a solid build and a great design, there’s potential!

    As for “Good riddance Italjet!!” I don’t know… it makes me sad really. Who wants to see a name like “Italjet” die off? I think what Massimo is TRYING to do is better than what some other companies have done with their legendary names. He still owns it… it’s in the family… he WANTS to produce a kick-ass product with the Italjet name on it (especially since their 50th anniversary is coming up in 2009). He just needs more fiduciary fortitude to make it happen, if you know what I mean.

    Cheers!
    steve

  4. thisishowwerollNo Gravatar on June 9th, 2008 9:55pm

    Well Steve is one of the good guys and he took a chance, sometimes that pays off and sometimes it doesn’t but we all have to take a chance a few times in our lives if we want to do something great.

    Steve is a big cat and will land on his feet, and frankly I wish LS and Italjet well, why not wish them well. There are quite a few ways they could be made viable again, but more resources will be required,.

    It is clear that the scooter market is robust, but don’t think there won’t be some surprises, because there will be some great surprises with electric and hybrid technology, the rise of China in the quality and innovation department, and some new smart scooters that expand the market way, way bigger. Kool-aid, I think not and keep yourselves prepared for some pleasant surprises, and I bet Steve will be there helping some quality company lead the way forward.

  5. supersoulNo Gravatar on June 11th, 2008 5:46am

    Steve:

    You’re right on about the bastardization of the classic Italian marques. My first scooter was a ’58 Lambretta. It makes me sick to see that venerable name slapped onto existing Chinese models. At least Italjet has the self respect not to have done that!!

    I wish you well.

  6. illnoiseNo Gravatar on June 11th, 2008 7:10am

    Supersoul:

    At least Italjet*USA* has the self-respect not to do that… Italjet in Europe’s been doing that for a year or two.

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