We always hear about low-quality Chinese scooters, and how the Chinese scooter industry has little regard for intellectual property. POCphil sent us this email from Binqi, and we’d actually received the same email recently, but ignored it. Dealers and anyone with a scooter website get emails like this several times a week. This one deserves a good look, though, because it’s the perfect storm of absurdity:
Goodday, note you’re the dealer for Genuinescooters, we’re glad to share attached Binqi motorcycles with you. Dealer requested, any care or concern, please feel free to contact with us.
A few things worth pointing out:
- A quick Google search shows some of these models on import sites claiming to be DOT/EPA compliant, and what appear to be the same bikes for sale in America (via the internet, of course). Yet neither “Binqi” nor “Zhejiang Yuota,” the manufactuer, appear in the NHTSA’s database, meaning it’s unlikely they actually meet DOT/EPA/CARB specs. Compliance is generally the responsibility of an importer/distributor. In some cases, (Piaggio, for example) the manufacturer sets up an American subsidiary to serve as the importer and distributor (and to handle dealer relations, training, marketing, warranties and spare parts). Other brands (like PGO, TGB, and Benelli) find third-party importers to handle their products (like Genuine, Cobra Powersports, and Power Sports Factory). Foreign manufacturers selling directly to dealers is irresponsible and possibly illegal, yet most opportunistic fly-by-night importers don’t care about spare parts, warranties, or paperwork, they want a containerload of cheap scooters that they can sell quickly and forget about.
- Who knows if those “similar bikes” on the internet come from the same factory, or are built with the same components? You can’t compare apples to apples in the Chinese scooter industry, all the scooters look the same, yet they’re all different. How can you know the one you’re getting is a good one? You can’t. Even factories that make quality scooters for one brand might make third-rate deathtraps for another. Some brands have better reputations than others, and those reputations are built on quality and dealer support. In a situation like this, there are no checks or balances to ensure quality OR dealer support.
- “Gility” is the name of the Kymco Agility, if you don’t read english well enough to realize that spiral triangle is an “A.” Even worse, “Better than Best” is a slogan already in use by Kymco. These guys aren’t even trying.
- Even funnier, their logo is such a bad knockoff of Aprilia’s logo that it’s almost not noticeable. Until you notice that their website is a knockoff of Aprilia’s website.
- Even funnier than that, “Binqi” appears to be a name chosen to create confusion with the better-known Chinese brand “Qingqi.” (note the logo they use here is a knockoff of the Qingqi logo. (Read that whole thread, it’s funny!)
- See those wholesale prices? They range from $345 for a 50cc to $495 for their top-of the line 150cc. When you see a 150cc scooter selling for $1200 and think “What a bargain,” the truth is, you’re giving the “dealer/importer” (using those terms loosely) about $700, usually for doing just about nothing (well, to be fair, the shipping costs come out of that), which is why there are so many online scooter shops and questionable strip-mall scooter dealers sprouting up.
- The other $500, of course, goes to the manufacturer. It’s a safe bet they’re making 50% profit, too. That leaves $250 for the parts, labor, and resources to build the 150cc scooter that you paid $1200 for. Do you trust your life on public roads to a 150cc bike that cost $250 to make? The 50cc likely cost less than $200 to make. Think about all the parts and labor required to build consistently reliable and safe scooters… Tires, electrical systems, frames, body panels. fasteners, brakes and suspension, precision engine components and cases, not to mention the costs of engineering, design, compliance testing, and quality control… That can’t be done for $200, even in China.