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2500 Year Old Strategy Challenges Modern Beliefs and Provides for New Opportunities in the Struggling North American Motorcycle Market

Release time:2017-11-01 13:51:20

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“If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.”
― Sun Tzu | The Art Of War

Ontario, CA – November 1st 2017: Although sales of motorcycles in the US have declined in virtually all categories, one area is seeing growth, and that is small displacement motorcycles. Many have questioned in the past, “Why would a company focus on small displacement bikes when everyone else was following the “Bigger is Better” marketing strategy that appeared to be working for so long.” For LIFAN the answer was simple, continue producing high quality smaller displacement motorcycles and eventually the market will return to its roots and sales will soar. This is exactly what we are seeing in current market with sales of 125cc to 250cc motorcycles leading market trends.

The quote “If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.” appears in the Chinese military treatise “The Art Of War” by strategist Sun Tzu (Master Sun). This 5th century quote is often used in marketing to describe a strategy of waiting for the market to come back to you. This strategy clearly would not work in the high-tech world of computers and smart phones, however when it comes to motorcycles, it appears to be working well for LIFAN. “Americans once lived by the phrase “Bigger is Better”, however we do see a trend in the motorcycle industry towards smaller engine sizes and this is an area that we already have a strong foothold.” says Mike Turber, Director of Sales and Marketing for American LIFAN.

“Over the years as other manufactures built larger displacement motorcycles, LIFAN continued to perfect the engines it was already producing, and this strategy appears to be paying off. LIFAN is a major player in the motorcycle market with products being sold in over 120 countries. Approximately 55 million motorcycles will enter the market this year with the United States accounting for about 500,000 units, or just under 1% of the global market.” Stated Mike Turber.

Tony Sun, President of American LIFAN, sees the market trend and said “We believe strongly that the American perception of “Bigger is Better” has changed and that is no more evident than in the automobile industry. The motorcycle industry, is now recognizing this fact and is going through a similar phase that the automobile industry went through with the focus now turning to smaller and more efficient engines.” Tony further stated, “This is an area that we have dominated for decades and we feel our products are well suited for the new demand for smaller displacement motorcycles in the United States.”

At AIM Expo 2017, in Columbus Ohio, that trend was very evident in the number of dealers who were looking for smaller motorcycles to meet the demands of their customers. American LIFAN estimates that nearly 50% of the traffic coming to the booth were looking for smaller bikes. The KP series of motorcycles from LIFAN accounted for nearly 85% of the sales generated by American Lifan at AIM Expo. The KP series is famous around the world as it holds many records and has won 17 of the last 18 CRRC Championships since 2012.

With the growing popularity of smaller pit bikes and mini motorcycles, consumers are looking for an alternative to the relatively expensive models like the Honda Grom or Kawasaki Z125. The LIFAN KP-MINI has a more powerful engine with a respectable 12.2hp vs less than 9hp for both the Grom and Z125. Other notable differences include a 5-speed vs a 4-speed and 150cc vs 125cc. The KPMini also has a more affordable price tag at over $1,000 less than the comparable Grom or Z125.

It is clear that the smaller engine classes are getting more attention these days and this may not be a trend, this may be the future.