Friday, December 1, 2006

The Aggressive Chinese Motor Scooter Industry

Ever wonder why so many inexpensive Chinese Motor Scooters have arrived in the U.S in the last 3 years? The ethic of "work hard work," making and selling them is responsible. Making them attractive for export. China is truly doing that!

China is Wooing the buyer everyday to commit to container loads of motor scooters. Many business people in the U.S. have had a number of ISO certified factories build them on an OEM basis, for the market in the United States. We all seem to be gobbling them up as a fill-in alternative for transportation of the gas-saving type. No arguement on the fuel savings, since they all seem to get 80 to 120 miles per gallon. Safety, and comfort is sometimes another issue. Not everyone can ride one, or wants to do it, but many welcome the availability of a cheaper mode of personal transportation.

Ningbo, China is a major seaport from which many containers of motor scooters depart, bound for the United States. Within 200Km of Ningbo are several motorcycle and motor scooter factories. If you examine the factories you will discover the people there are very committed to the work. Competition and productivity among workers, and factories is very keen. I was surprised, knowing that this is a Communist country. Each factory in the industry sports ISO certifications at various levels, and while cheaper less desireble motor scooters are being exported, for the most part the quality of the product is very good. Especially the engines and controls, many which are cloned designs from Honda and others which were produced in China, and are even today. A lot of Taiwanese know-how also filters to the mainland.
China is, and isn't divided. People travel regularly from Taiwan to mainland China.

Seemingly, the biggest problem for the United States buyer is how well the selling OEM corporation in this country supports parts and service, or even technical issues. Even more important,is how much money they spend to insure they are building a quality product in China. Often, they could specify better! The Chinese are very attentive. If you say you want this built, you will have it at the price you asked to pay. That may not be the best interests of the end user in this country!

For the most part, OEM builders in the U.S. have realized they can't have China make junk and expect to sell it here. Word gets around fast. Better quality Chinese made Scooters are available. The brand I hawk is Motofino.

Still quite reasonably priced compared to the major Taiwanese or Japanese Scoots. The better body panels make a big difference along with the engine components. It turns out all Chinese made scooters look amazingly the same. That's because all the body designs belong to the "people." Any factory can use these communal molds to make product and they do!

In future posts I'll try to talk about things like hardware and welds, longevity of product. We have lots to share!

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