Sunday, July 3, 2011

What's the difference

I'm going to hypothesize a bit and possibly do a little intellectual wandering, so pardon my ramblings should they occur.

In the spring of 2008, I was able to convince my wife to let me get a scooter because gas prices were rising rapidly. They weren't quite $3.50 yet, but they were getting there. After gas rose above $3.50 a gallon all remaining 50cc scooters vanished quickly from showrooms and none of the dealers for the mainstream manufacturers were able to replace them until much later in the year, with the exception of a few of the smaller upstarts like Kymco, SYM, and Genuine, though they would get snapped up almost as soon as they rolled off the truck. Chinese scooters were available in abundance and many folks availed themselves of these with varying results.

Gas topped out (around here) at just a bit over four bucks a gallon toward the end of summer that year, and suddenly there were plenty of new 50cc scooters at the Honda and Yamaha dealer, but alas, the Japanese manufacturers were too late to jump on the bandwagon and many of those 2009 scooters still sit, awaiting the backside of a happy scootster.


Well, here's my theory, or theories really. First off, Gas prices haven't rocketed up as quickly. Certainly, they rose fast enough to cause some concern, but not nearly as fast as they did in 2008. Add to that the current drop in prices to under $3.50, and we can guess that folks may be breathing a little easier.

The second difference is the lack of disposable income for most Americans. We just plain don't have the extra money to spend, so it might take a bit more than gas at $3.50+ to force us to make the move to two wheels. Despite promises of economic recovery from our president and his doting followers, no such recovery has taken place, and unemployment remains high.

So, what will it take to get folks back into buying small motorbikes and scooters? Gas at $4.00 a gallon? $5.00? I guess we will just have to wait and see.


kz1000st said...

Maybe the mainline dealers haven't moved many scooters but the online dealers have thrived these past few months. Green Earth Scooters starting running out of their own brand and are now selling another,JCL, in addition to their Bashans. GS Motorworks has at numerous times listed "out of stock" on many of their listings. People may not have $2000 plus tax for a Honda Metropolitan but they seem to be eeking out the money for a 50cc, and larger, Chinese scooter at that price from online sellers. Newer Chinese scoots are doing much better than of old and there are many people out on the road saving gas on them.

Joe said...

Sure I like seeing other scooterists giving me the wave, but I'll gladly sacrifice the prospect of having more of them on the road for the sake of lower gas prices.