[sdiy] Getting over eBay (rant)

Neil Johnson nej22 at hermes.cam.ac.uk
Wed Jun 12 20:11:38 CEST 2002

> ... it turns out many of the used Yamaha grands available are so called
> "gray market pianos", which are pianos originally manufactured for the
> Japanese market, sold to consumers in Japan, and then later bought as
> used

A similar thing happens to motorbikes in the UK.  Being so close to
mainland Europe (you can almost spit across the channel if the wind is
blowing in the right direction) it is economically viable to take a
daytrip across to France or Amsterdam with your flexible friend, buy a
motorbike there, drive it back and pay the import duties.  You could be
saving several hundreds to possibly thousands of pounds.

Of course, the reason for this big difference in price is that the UK arms
of the various manufacturers have their sales targets to meet, as dished
out by headquarters back in Japan.  And because the market here is smaller
than mainland Europe, they articificially raise the prices to meet

So what do they do now about these enterprising importers of "grey" bikes
(and cars too)?  Take 'em to court to stop them.  Honda (IIRC) did this a
while back, saying that it was a bad thing to import grey bikes from
Europe into the UK.  So the judge asks "why?".  Their answer: that
UK-market bikes are safer than European bikes.

*Ouch*  Consider the inverse of their argument....

So along comes Honda Europe and says "what the !!??**##@@" to that and
stamps on Honda UK, who has to back down and retract the "reason".
Result: little guy wins.

So what do they do now?  Simple: flick through the catalogue of the UK
motorbike companies, and compare the range to what is available in Europe
or the US.  You'll notice the UK catalogue somewhat _thinner_.  So the UK
market is starved of new models.

Which is odd because that then fuels the grey import market to satisfy
the hunger for the newer models.

Bizarre, but true.

BTW: I'm not a biker myself, but my Dad is (turned 60 and bought a Yamaha
Thundercat ... *sheesh*) so I get to hear all the tales... you should have
heard him swear when I showed him how to browse the web, and he found the
Yamaha Bikes US site....!

Anyway, thanks for all the panel comments, I'll be posting a summary


Neil Johnson :: Computer Laboratory :: University of Cambridge ::
http://www.njohnson.co.uk          http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~nej22
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