Hyped to death

BusinessWeek talks about why GM just doesn’t get it:

Why won’t [the Volt] be knocking socks off? Because by the time dealerships actually receive their Volts, the impulse buyers will have been seeing the vehicle for almost three years. To GM’s most cherished buyer demographic, the Volt will be old news by the time the first one hits the streets.

The same applies to most products, including scooters. People often accuse me of favoritism towards (for instance) Genuine and SYM, and being mean-spirited about other brands. To be fair, I’ve had less-than positive things to say about both Genuine and SYM, but I think part of the reason I have so many good things to say about them is that they’re two brands that do a great job of building up hype while keeping expectations realistic, then deliver on time, with a product that’s even better than what was expected.

Most other brands just don’t do this well. Piaggio posts photos and press releases months, sometimes years, before a product is available in Europe. Then, any excitement from the European launch is long-gone by the time products finally arrive in the U.S. To make matters worse, U.S. models are often stripped-down versions of their European counterparts. Diamo (Italjet) and CMSI/TNG (the Lambretta/Scomadi/”L” series) hyped vaporware for years and years and never came through. Cobra/Peirspeed’s exciting MadAss250 was old news when it arrived a few weeks ago, a few years after dealers and consumers expected to see it.

The small-but-dedicated American scooter media is always hungry for news. Bloggers, journalists, and newsgroup admins become players in this careful balance between hype vs. reality. We love a scoop, but we hate empty promises, especially when they’re repeated for years, and our bullshit detectors have become finely honed since 2000 or so. Obviously, getting press is important (What the hell has Kymco done in the last 9 months?), but press is useless when products are years away from reality. Ultimately the decision to release information is up to the manufacturers, and they could be doing a better job of it. Genuine (since the Stella) and SYM (recently) have done well to reach out to the small-but-dedicated scootersphere, always being honest and realistic about their plans. This communication benefits the company, who keeps interest in their products high, the media, who get something to talk about, and consumers, who get a realistic forecast of the direction of the industry and reliable new-product information.

5 thoughts on “Hyped to death”

  1. (What the hell has Kymco done in the last 9 months?)

    Gotten selected as the official scooter and UTV of the Indy Series? :)

    Yeah, I know… you’re right. When you’re right, you’re right.

  2. But seriously, Kymco rushed out a bunch of lackluster chinese-made 50ccs to keep up with the rush last year, and then… nothing. I think I read the MyRoad 700 was abandoned. I certainly don’t think you need a new scooter every six months to keep scooterists’ attention, but aside from the Indy deal and a few small sponsorship deals, it doesn’t seem like they’ve done anything.

    Oh, I forgot about the new sporty 150 Quannon motorcycle, that’s worth a mention here, but not much more. And their T-shirt giveaway which was a very good idea spoiled by some very sad graphic design.

    They just seemed to be good about keeping their name out there, and they’ve been strangely quiet all year.

  3. Hey — I kinda liked my all out-of-proportion busty woman on a People 150 t-shirt! ;)

    Some of the others I saw were kinda disappointing, though.

  4. Was that the shirt that looked like a transvestite?

    Vespa recently announced their 150s were going to EFI versions. Great, can;t wait to see them in a few years!

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