On the heels of an unprecedented sales stagnation triggered by the global recession, Japan's "big four" motorcycle manufacturers-- Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha-- announced an alliance today that they will develop, build, and distribute bikes under one banner. Corporation representatives revealed that the deal will involve a strategic meeting of the minds that hasn't been seen since the German Auto Union conglomerate was founded in 1932.
The new organization promises to be a technological tour de force. "We will usher in a new era of motorcycling," said spokesperson Soichiro Genichi Kojiro Michio, speaking on behalf of the manufacturers. "Using our new collective of racetracks which now includes Fukuroi, Motegi, Autopolis, and Hamamatsu, we will engineer a bold new breed of four-cylinder superbikes that will beat the best from Germany, Italy, and beyond."
Not content with sportbike domination, the new company, dubbed KawaYamaHondUki, will also tackle a complete re-thinking of the cruiser genre. "We will reassess the sound qualities that make single-pin, air-cooled engines sound so pleasing and apply them to a new line of motorcycles," Mr. Michio said, "And we will test and develop our new cruisers where they are most adored: on the Main Streets of America's Midwest."
The merger also revealed more about their motivations by mentioning that their guiding principle is captured by their internal slogan, "Operation Kamikaze," which captures the new company's take-no-prisoners approach to market share accumulation. "By bringing together our collective powers, we will deliver a world class 200+ horsepower, 1,000cc sportbike for under $10,000, a 100 cubic-inch cruiser for under $5,000, and an eight-cylinder touring bike for less than the price of a maxi-scooter."
Representatives from Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, KTM, and Triumph refused to comment, but the U.S. Congress has announced a task force to fund a new initiative within Harley-Davidson that will retaliate with "Operation Heritage," a multi-platform motorcycle lineup based on carbureted, air-cooled v-twins.
- U.S. Government to Enforce Mandatory Gyroscopic Stabilizers on All Production Motorcycles
- 2012 Harley-Davidson Lineup to Break Tradition With Water-Cooled Engines
- US Government to Require Trike Training Prior to Motorcycle Licensing
- US Government to Limit Motorcycle Engine Output to 75 Horsepower
- Motorcycle Chrome to be Banned!
- DOT to Make Wheelies Legal
Photo © Getty Images