This weekend saw the 2005 Model Introduction for Kawasaki dealers take place in San Diego, California. This event is pivotal for KMC as it is where the dealers, at a grassroots level, meet the manufacturer head on. Orders for units and products for the upcoming model year are taken at this time as KMC tries to capture the attention of it's dealers and instill in them enthusiasm for the upcoming models, in hopes that this enthusiasm will in turn be transferred to you, the consumer.
KMC did not disappoint. The San Diego convention center is an enormous venue. The dealer and product show combined occupy the equivalent space of the average motorcycle show, which most consumers attend in their home cities every winter. The only difference is that this show is all about Kawasaki.
Complete with all of the brass from Japan, KMC rolled it out big time. Tommy and Roger Hayden rode in on the new 2005 636, and Bubba was there to represent KMC's commitment to competitive off road riding.
Peering through all of the glitz, glamour and the expansive light show, it doesn't take long to realize that KMC is pushing to rebrand itself in a major way. Slick presentations aside, the message that KMC is positioning itself to take on the "other 3" as top dog seems more than apparent.
Other key messages include a commitment to refine the distribution channels in an effort to get product into the hands of the consumer more efficiently. Apparently people in Japan were listening when they heard the complaints of consumers who desperately wanted to buy KMC's jewel in their crown, the ZX-10R, but couldn't because of shipping and supply issues. Setting your sites on being number one means having to deliver the goods.... Their new system will definitely be put to the test when the 2005 636 hits the showroom floors.
The myriad of dealers, industry reps, and aftermarket manufacturers was overwhelming. It was good to see members of Bikeland in person, and see them continuing to work with KMC and be represented at the show, specifically Rob Muzzy and Doug Meyer, both of whom have leant enormous support to this online community.
As mentioned in the earlier news report, there was a hefty level of representation from the Press. From Motorcyclist, Cycleworld, ATV Rider and MCN all the way to Farm Industry News, KMC attempted to leave no stone unturned in getting their message out. It was curious to see that the Internet was recognized unofficially, as demonstrated by the presence of this site and others, by KMC as a marketing channel, however there was no mention of the Internet whatsoever in the presentations made to the dealers and press. The corporation is slowly coming around to recognizing the power of the Internet. Members of this site and others should be aware that KMC is listening. Your voices here are being heard. We "the Internet" are not going away. We are growing stronger.
Looking at the 2005 model lineup, the changes may seem minimal to some... however reading between the lines one might easily predict the future for this corporation.... The most powerful message, (reading between the lines) would be the realization that KMC has replaced the entry level 600 Ninja (ZX600E), which has been in production and relatively unchanged since 1993, with 2002 ZX-6R (ZX600J), now renamed and rebadged as the ZZR 600. Who would have imagined that the cutting edge 600cc sportbike of 2002 would 3 years later is considered "a beginner's bike" and "entry level".
If this is an indication of what is to come, then we can't wait for the future!