Saturday, September 27, 2008

Evolving into Rust and Dust. New Super Cub Fails

(click on picture to enlarge)

Note the rusty screws. Note the rust and deposit on tailpipe under cover. One can only imagine the condition under there. It looks like, oil may be leaking from the spindle seal and dripping and cooking on the hot exhaust pipe. That's just a guess. 

Note the scrapes on the gloss black engine cover revealing the silver underneath. I'd guess in less than 1000kms, that's going to look hideous, partially black, partially silver, and appearing even more worn than it is.

Ok, as I 'splained' in a comment, I dislike the new Honda Global ad immensely. Does that make sense?

No, it doesn't Let me say that again in plain English.

I hate it. It sucks.

Here's what I said
(some repetition here with this post):

Ok, I just went to the site.

I Just watched the Ad. I'm not sure I like it. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I'm sure I don't like it.

I see the irony they are trying to present, the sarcasm that there is nothing better, but the overall message I get is, 'if we do our job well, better than we're doing now, the Super Cub is finished. It will be replaced.'

That's not exactly what I call a brilliant idea for an ad campaign. And I'd wager Soichiro wouldn't care for it either.

If they want to try harder, how about making a better Super Cub, not replacing it. Better as in, not shoddy. As in, stainless steel screws on the Yamaha copied exhaust on the new model. I took some pics of a new '08 model on the way to work. The screws are already rusty. My cub sits outside. Always. In any weather, except extreme wind and rain from typhoons. I want to get on it and go. I do. It's not rusted. It has almost 17,000kms on it. Hard kms, too. No rust. 2004 model. No rust. 2008 model, less than 500kms, less than 6 months old, rust.

Honda, make a better Super Cub, and a better ad while you're at it.

(second post)

And another thing. (he growled), why doesn't the special site ad start on the first kick? What's with that? Mine always does.

The point of the Super Cub, which whoever did this campaign seems to not understand, is the Cub is dependable. It shouldn't be seen as not starting on the first kick, when in reality it usually does. And what is this whole 'continues to evolve' nonsense? The beauty and the popularity of the bike is its non evolution for cripes sake. Otherwise, get a Wave.

Hmmm. (scratching my head) I'm convinced Honda is suffering from being stuck on stupid. Their management team, at least on the Global side, is interested in profits over quality. Not understanding that quality ensures profits. Oh, well. Just means our bikes are that much more rare.

(End of ranting and raving posts.)

But before I even watched that ad, I took these two pics of two different Super Cubs on the way to work the other day. Both cubs sit outside on the same street not even one block apart. Needless to say, they get the same weather treatment. But one has been getting it for much, much longer. 

One Cub is brand new '08 model, the other is quite old, a mid 90s Super Cub. (well, not old compared to Passports in the U.S. of course. But old for Tokyo)

Take a look at the brand new bike, with rust already on the screws and showing up on the kickstart spindle. Is that evolution? Is that what you call, 'evolving', Honda? No, that's what I call garbage. It's what I call shoddy workmanship, and poor quality materials.

And that's not even getting into the design which is a direct copy of, guess what, a YAMAHA Mate, if you can believe it!

So, Honda has this winning design, breaks all kinds of records, beloved the world over. Yamaha copies it, as does Suzuki.
Now, with newer management at Honda, Soichiro dead and buried and apparently a good portion of The Dream with him, the New Honda decides 'let's copy Yamaha's copy of our Super Cub. Yeah, that's a good idea. But we'll save even more money, because we'll use cheap screws that rust in less than 500km outside. Basically, one rainy season, and bang, rust. And they'll have to buy new ones! Yeah, that's the ticket."

Good grief. And note the already discolored leg guard inserts on the '08 model compared with the still matching white versions on the old cub.

And my own Cub, which sits outside 24/7, in all kinds of weather, rain, sleet, snow, you name it, actually gets more wear and tear on it than the postal cubs here (and they're stored inside!)
Yup, and mine is rust free. I don't baby it. I get on it and go. I cover it only during typhoons, and often times not even then.

I wanted an everyday bike, not a show bike. Yet, it looks like a show bike to many. Because I keep it clean and running well.
It pays me back with great love.

That's a 2004 bike with almost 17,000 kms on it.

Here's two more old cubs (not the two I described above. These are just more evidence of the quality of the older bikes over the '08 model, which is a drastic departure from all previous models in more ways than even Honda seems to admit.

These Cubs below have been outside for years. Compare them with the '08 model's already deteriorating condition. Note engine case, exhaust, leg guard covers.

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Blogger hondacubber said...

I was extraemly dissapointed in the ad after the hipe I hoped for something better. Not being able to even see the legandary "Cub" was like going to see a film with a big name actor and they just use his/her voice for narating.
I wondered if the ad would be better recieve in Japan but I can not see that kind of advetising getting Honda where they are today.
The news release mention that the site would have "featuring the philosophy, detailed history, and current facts of the little motorcycle that made Honda what it is today." but I could not find anything like that.

11:10 PM  
Blogger supercublogger said...

Yeah, I forgot to mention that in my rambling! Haha!
You can't even SEE it!!

Clearly, they hired the wrong Ad agency. Totally wrong for Honda products, no matter what the model.

And the 'art' work, graphic is ridiculous. Did a child make that? A child would do a lot better.

You'd think with the hype they were generating with the whole future date announcement, etc. they'd have something to be proud of.

If they are proud of that mess, I worry about that company.

Honda clearly dropped the ball.

I may write their president, not that I think he'll ever see a letter from a customer, but it might be fun. Honda (Japan, not the export market) does listen to their customers, and I've had good and considerate responses from them in the past.

You compare that ad with the small, low quality one they did with the Presscub and the girl delivering newspapers in the morning, and there's no contest. That ad, inspired me to do my own Park and Ride cub short film.

The new Super Cub ad would inspire me to do nothing but run from Honda, run far away.

*btw, it seems Honda no longer has that older ad on their website. That figures.

7:42 AM  
Blogger hondacubber said...

My favorite ad is "The power of Dreams" with the Super Cub (Passport) taking the pilots out to the jet which they take off in.
Being a pilot and Piper Super Cub mechanic I liked the the line "We've always had wings." which was followed up by "Now we're flying."
I have not found an email address to write to Honda US to voice my support for a US 50th anniversary Super Cub.

12:44 PM  
Blogger supercublogger said...

My favorite ad is "The power of Dreams" with the Super Cub (Passport) taking the pilots out to the jet which they take off in.
Being a pilot and Piper Super Cub mechanic I liked the the line "We've always had wings." which was followed up by "Now we're flying."

Oh, sure. That's a real good one.

I can't wait to get the ball rolling on getting my pilot's license when I get back to the states. I love everything about flying and aircraft. Military and civilian.

As far as ads, I love the Impossible Dream as well. But, like you point out, they need to add in the new Honda Jet after the hot air balloon. ;)

I have not found an email address to write to Honda US to voice my support for a US 50th anniversary Super Cub.

Yeah, I don't know of one for the US branch either. Maybe snail mail is all they provide.

5:21 PM  
Blogger NJSuperCub said...

Wow, what a dumb ad. Instead of "making something better", they could have said, "making more and more products as good as the Super Cub". And why would they want to make the Cub disappear in the first place? They're almost saying that they are ashamed of the fact that this amazing durable, iconic product that outsells everything else they make is still popular. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

But if the quality has gone down so precipitously in the '08 model, prehaps that's the way they intend to make the Cub disappear: by turning quality into trash, so nobody will buy one anymore.

Enter the SYM "WoWow" !


9:00 PM  
Blogger NJSuperCub said...

Follow up -

A fellow Cub lover forwarded me this article, which seems to suggest the "replacement" Honda is planning for the Super Cub may be powered by an electric motor...

A nice concept, but until battery power density is, say, at least 5x the current SOTA, not in any sense practical, IMHO.

-Nate in NJ (raining cats and dogs)

11:02 AM  
Blogger NJSuperCub said...

Oof! Wrong link!

-Nate in NJ

12:08 PM  
Blogger supercublogger said...

Oh man. Talk about stupid. I'd rather walk. 30km distance? Oh, that's efficient...NOT. Ad in all the periphery such as charging facilities, plastics to manufacture and maintain the battery, replacement of the battery..and I'll bet it saves nothing.

Brilliant, Honda. Take one of the most fuel efficient vehicles ever made and change it to electric. Well, like I said, there's millions of Cubs out there already. Start buying them up, restoring them, keeping them, selling them and forget about the New Honda being connected to them. They're part of the old Honda, the one that remembered its roots and didn't want them to disappear.

Just goes to show you that innovators who start up companies and ideas, once they are gone, leave their creations to idiots who try in every way imaginable to negate all the progress that was made.

The Japanese have a saying that means One generation works hard and makes the fortune, the next generation sits around and spends it and the next generation destroys the good name.

7:24 PM  
Blogger hondacubber said...

Is the anyway to get a copy of the Japanese motorcyclist magazine of Feb 2008? It had pictures and an article about the Super Cub's 50th anniversary.


11:04 PM  

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