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Thread: The Ricardo company

  1. #16
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    What level of integration (vertical, horizontal, diagonal or any other direction) is required for a company to call a product its own?

    No matter the integration, in their rawest form form the mines, chemicals etc, all manufacturers start with the same raw materials and combine them in various ways. If they are "all the same" why did Yugo fail and Bently continues?

    From its perspective BMW outsourced the design and construction of fuselages that it attached its engines to in the beginning of companies history. The Dixie, BMW's first venture into automobiles in the 30s was a design it licensed and put its engines into. In the 50s the licensed Isetta was powered by a BMW engine and helped train a workforce to build cars in the future. Their first venture into modern scooters with the C1 used a drive train built by Rotax. The F twin was a Rotax engine. Lacking a European manufacturer the G450 went to KYMCO. Ricardo was involved in the design and development of the drive trains for the new scooters.

    American manufacturers (and others) have tried vertical integration form the mining pit to the showroom before. In the short run their were profits to be made but cumbersome companies that could not react to changes in technology and markets were often the result.

    What level of integration (vertical, horizontal, diagonal or any other direction) is required for a company to call a product its own?
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  2. #17
    One Man Wolfpack Kent Niederhofer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    IIRC, a Ricardo USA executive is a member of our community and has offered forum input in the past.
    You'd be surprised the amount of OEM outsourcing that takes place including in the powertrain space. Understand that very little of this is ever black box which means that they dump a specification in your lap and you show up in 18 months with a clean sheet engine -- the client is always heavily involved and is clearly project managing the whole of the vehicle program (since there's lots of other moving pieces and not just the engine design and development work).

    This is now public knowledge (though not broadly advertised by BMW) so I can tell you that Ricardo had a heavy hand in the development of the K1300S engine, the K1600S engine and the C650 engine. You can read detailed articles on the development process which the company talks about in their publication Ricardo Quarterly. The latest speaks to their work on the scooter and past articles speak to the other two bikes. To the best of my knowledge, Ricardo was not involved in the development of the new water-cooled boxer or the S1000RR engine -- that was supported by another German boutique engineering firm but I can't remember the name (not FEV).

    Kent

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    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    You guys are basically hitting the nail right on the head. Looks may be the only thing that is really different.
    Bare in mind that the design process is also often outsourced. At least by the smaller guys. I believe BMW did with the R90S and the R65LS (Hans Muth, not sure if he was an employee or a contractor).
    The auto guys do it all the time when they need a high-profile design which they figure can't be done by in-house staff, or the department is too overworked. BMW M1.

  4. #19
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    [QUOTE=mika;887283]What level of integration (vertical, horizontal, diagonal or any other direction) is required for a company to call a product its own?

    It's not black and white. The vast majority of components in cars are purchased from outside suppliers. We are talking from 60-80%. Then their are "badge engineered" products in which everything but the nameplate is made by someone else.

    The public rarely knows and seldom cares. It probably differs some when you get into prestige products, as buyers are lead to believe the premium price is justified by some levels of superior engineering, design, and "handcrafted" assembly. Unfortunately, most of that is marketing hype.

  5. #20
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=tonycarlos;889141]
    Quote Originally Posted by mika View Post
    What level of integration (vertical, horizontal, diagonal or any other direction) is required for a company to call a product its own?

    It's not black and white. The vast majority of components in cars are purchased from outside suppliers. We are talking from 60-80%. Then their are "badge engineered" products in which everything but the nameplate is made by someone else.

    The public rarely knows and seldom cares. It probably differs some when you get into prestige products, as buyers are lead to believe the premium price is justified by some levels of superior engineering, design, and "handcrafted" assembly. Unfortunately, most of that is marketing hype.
    OK, so if Honda and Yamaha trim some weight from their sports touring bikes, I would be a fool to spend the money on a more expensive brand.

    I really hope someone in Japan and Germany is listening..........
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  6. #21
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Lightness is expensive
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  7. #22
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Lightness is expensive
    The lightness of being?
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  8. #23
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    So, when the consumer buys a product from company XYZ that's a compendium of parts from suppliers A, B & C does he or she really understand that you're possibly just talking about a variance in QA/QC standards applied to the same product produced on the same assembly line? In addition, when the number of suppliers of a given component become fewer than the number of car companies, doesn't differentiating between car companies become silly?

    Once the market understands that you're just offering a different combination of parts that the other guy could have chosen to purchase, you've pretty lost any brand appeal.
    To your point, remember when each GM brand made their own engines? That ended. The difference is in the badging, trim and name. It's a perception game that in the end is meaningless as there is very little differentiation. It's already a little silly and will get sillier.
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  9. #24
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=36654;889170]
    Quote Originally Posted by tonycarlos View Post

    OK, so if Honda and Yamaha trim some weight from their sports touring bikes, I would be a fool to spend the money on a more expensive brand.

    I really hope someone in Japan and Germany is listening..........
    I doubt it's only the weight. Perception factors in here and with the japanese, it's price point. There's no other reason the ST and C14 do not have CC other than price point. Same with the F6B. It lacks ABS and CC. You'd think they'd find a way to include it at the same price or even a little more, but it's left out completely. That said, go to the gym and workout. The extra weight isn't the end of the world.
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    So who is responsible for the timing chain problems in the F800 and K1200?

    Was it too small or poor materials

    Rod

  11. #26
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponch1 View Post
    To your point, remember when each GM brand made their own engines? That ended. The difference is in the badging, trim and name. It's a perception game that in the end is meaningless as there is very little differentiation. It's already a little silly and will get sillier.
    Yes, and I quit driving Big Three products in 1992, because of that...
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  12. #27
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ponch1;889532]
    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post

    I doubt it's only the weight.
    Actually, weight and CG height are the biggest factors for me.
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  13. #28
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=36654;889580]
    Quote Originally Posted by ponch1 View Post

    Actually, weight and CG height are the biggest factors for me.

    I had a Nomad before the RT, so the RT is like a sportbike to me.
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  14. #29
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    Yes, and I quit driving Big Three products in 1992, because of that...
    I might after having a Suburban for 4 years. Never again. That said, I've had good luck with VW.
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