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Hunwick Hallam of Australia - Marketing Motorcycles

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by dan, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. from http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2005/06/06/motorcycle-companies-stillborn/

    "As noted yesterday, there have been many attempts to rebirth old names in the motorcycle business with no guarantee of success. There have also been some recent attempts to start up with a new name which unfortunately fared no better. One notable name is Hunwick Hallam of Australia. Introduced with some fanfare in 1997 they produced prototypes of a superbike, the X1R, a power cruiser, the Boss, and a standard, the Rage. The various models resulted from the easy adaptability of the basic motorcycle. They designed and built the majority of their components in house. The bike was to be produced by AMC, the Australian Motorcycle Company and the plan was to individually build to customer order.

    The Australian Graduate School of Management has a study of the company which makes for interesting reading, outlining their plans, marketing issues and prospects. Written before the company’s demise in 1998, it shows the difficulty of launching a new company even when the product is well designed.

    Apart from the domestic market, AMC expects to concentrate its export efforts on Europe and Japan. Consultants who evaluated AMC’s prospects were unwilling to sign off on the size of the market that HH motorcycles could capture. This problem arose because Hunwick’s target segment has never been targeted before. Apart from racing motorcycles and a few limited edition special models (like Honda’s NR750 which sold for over A$80,000), no other manufacturer sells motorcycles in volume4 at the A$35,000–A$40,000 price level (see exhibit 3 for examples of Australian motorcycle prices).5 However, many purchasers of expensive motorcycles buy accessories to customise their motorcycles, resulting in gross purchase values of well over $30,000.



    Would the company have fared better today? Was there any one thing they could have done better or different that would have resulted in success? Hard to say, start ups are never easy and sometimes a bit of luck plays a part. But this particular company had what seemed to be a pretty good chance of succeeding judging from positive reviews of their product and many were sorry to see them go under and it’s one more reason to applaud those that make it."
     
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  2. Facinating post, Dan. Thanks for that. I had a mate in Canberra who had a business connection with the project and it all seemed so exciting, such a shame nothing came of it.

    Would it fare better today??

    I believe it would. After all, we have buyers willing to shell out $50k+ for Honda Runes and a waiting list on the $77k MV Agusta, so it's fair to say that the market for high end exclusivity has probably grown.

    Whether a local based company could carry through from R&D to serious production is another matter. Our various governments talk a lot about fostering industry and innovation, but most of it seems to be just talk.

    Thanks for reminding me of another great Oz m/c story.
     
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  3. Seemed like it had the potential with that fantastic engine, although IMO the styling left a lot to be desired across the whole range.
    Shame they parted company, I think it's last incarnation was the Hunwick Harrop???
     
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  4. Yes I believe it was. Ron Harrop was brought in to provide some engineering expertise and probably money too. Such a shame it didn't succeed. Not being a cruiser bike man I didn't like the cruiser styling very much but I thought that the sports bike one could have been refined into a very sweet looking bike.
     
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  5. Wally Campbell did some ripping good burnouts in front of the isle of Wight hotel on the superbike, awesome!
     
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  7. According to some, that fairing made it very hard to steer and it handled poorly because of it.
    Considering the way fairings have gone (almost) with GP bikes this is fairly believable.
    Gardiner was one who was critical of the handling.
     
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  8. It had three problems.

    1. Styling. Just too radical. It may have sold well in France but not hear or the UK
    2. Australians are sceptical of small vehicle producers. Too many have gone broke. There seems to be a bit of a kit-car mentality here.
    3. Price. Back then there wasn't many bikes above $30k. Even now there are not many and those that are don't seem to hold there value. It seems at the moment people will spend up to about $25k for a proven bike such as a Duck, a BM or Hardly. Even then it would need to be near the best in it's category

    So to be a real chance of breaking into the market you would have to produce a fairly conservatively styled bike, in enough numbers to give consumers confidence and get it on the road for less then $25k and be a top sports bike, a good cruiser or a decent tourer.

    Has anone got $100,000,000 they want to lend me?
     
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  9. You could include the Rocket 3 in that list, which seems to have overcome the fact that it is BIG, FAT and FUGLY and sold by the boat load, and the main reason for it's success seems to be because it is so BIG, FAT and FUGLY!
     
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  10. Well, I hesistate to open up this can of worms, but I think the main reason why people by Rocket 3's is the same reason why people buy huge 4WD's.

    "Mine's bigger than your's"

    Do I need to say any more than that??
     
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  11. You beat me to it. IMO they were ahead of their time in the styling department, which may of been an issue for the times also. Even if you look at some of the new Buells out on the road these days, very similar
     
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  12. but if you dropped that the bill for the fairing would be HUGE!!!
     
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  13. I know I'm reviving an old thread, but my boss just showed me a whole lot of documents and photos of the Hunwick Hallam bikes and company. Unlike the comment on the first page of the linked case study, they did get VC funding - from my boss.

    I must say they were very much ahead of their time. The sportbike was probably the first to have an underseat exhaust. I think their bikes also had quite some influence on other bike makers (particularly in the styling department). Their Phantom has some passing resemblance to the Rune for example.

    It's a shame it failed in the end.
     
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