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 volume at the A$35,000–A$40,000 price level . 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.