Suzuki beats BMW in Quality

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Trail Boss, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Trail Boss

    Trail Boss World's fastest slowrider

    Nov 4, 2004
    There have been some spirited discussions here recently about the quality of BMW GS motorcycles vs. Suzuki's V-Strom motorcycles. In light of these recent discussions I found the following study interesting.

    The 2006 J.D. Powers Motorcycle Competitive Information Study rated 10 motorcycle brands in 5 key areas: product, quality, cost of ownership, customer's sales experience, and service. The brands were rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. 6916 owners who purchased new motorcycles between Sep 2005 and May 2006 participated in this study.

    In the 3 areas that rated the actual products the mfgs produce - product, quality, and cost of ownership - Suzuki beat BMW.

    Product: BMW 4, Suzuki 4 = tie

    Quality: BMW 4, Suzuki 5 = Suzuki wins with a 20% higher score and ties Honda as the highest of all 10 rated brands

    Cost of Ownership: BMW 2, Suzuki 4 = Suzuki wins with a 40% higher score.

    Combined Score for these 3 product areas: BMW 10, Suzuki 13

    A clear win for Suzuki in the quality dept and combined score.

    Only Victory Motorcycles beat Suzuki in these 3 key areas, with a combined score of 14 vs. Suzuki's 13.

    In the 2 human areas - sales and service - BMW tied for first with Harley Davidson and Victory. Suzuki suffered in these areas badly.

    The study noted that there was a 21% improvement in quality over last year's study. Quality "is becoming the price of entry" says Tim Fox, research supervisor at J.D. Powers.

    In summary then, the results of this study show that if you can stomach the "less than the best" sales and service experience at a Suzuki dealer, you will be buying a motorcycle with the highest quality rating in the industry and a very low cost of ownership.

    If sales and service are more important to you than quality or cost of ownership is of least concern, then BMW is the better choice.

    Source: Motorcycle Consumer News, March 2007, pg 8
  2. Navaho

    Navaho Long timer

    Oct 31, 2005
    Baton Rouge, LA
    That's interesting. I've never owned a BMW but I would have expected that BMW would be the winner on quality because of the price. I am a big Suzuki fan and own 3 SuziQ's right now. The main reason I bought the Suzuki brand was simple - performance at an affordable price. I also have owned Honda's, a KTM and several Kawasaki's which I had no troubles with either.

    I've never had reliability issues with my Suzuki's. However, I admit that the quality of components on the SV650, DR650 and DRZ400 are not the best but I usually replace many parts (handle bars, sprockets, seat, grips, tires, etc) with my favorite aftermarket items anyway.
  3. DFW_Warrior

    DFW_Warrior Brutally Honest

    Aug 19, 2006
    Arlington, TX
    Just because you pay a premium doesn't mean that you are getting high quality equipment. I'd be willing to be there aren't too many Ferrari's runnin' around with 150k miles on them. But I could show you quite a few Honda Civics with more than that on the clock.

    What's funny is the BMW riders swear they are buying the absolute best bike on the planet just because it's extremely expensive. To me, that's funny.:D
  4. ShortOnSkill

    ShortOnSkill Long timer

    Nov 10, 2005
    I suspect that BMW's high price has something to do with expensive German labor laws and an over valued dollar.

  5. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

    Jun 1, 2004
    Sometimes in Hillsburrito



    or maybe


    in either case, it aint gonna be pretty...


    Talk about having the right tag line. :lol3

  6. atoms

    atoms drunk

    Sep 7, 2006
    Dear J.D. Powers,
    Thanks for going to all that trouble to help us in the motorcycle world. For your next study, especially if you are gonna compare BMWs to Suzukis please consider adding one more key area: FUGLY.

    Thank you,
    a cranky bike snob
  7. Yad

    Yad yet another dave

    Jan 7, 2007
    middle of the road Ohio
    Why? That would just be another tie. No effect on outcome.

    KTOOMER ad-vent-ure man

    Apr 8, 2005
    yea, i'm going to run out now and buy a Suzuki 1200GS
  9. Marvin the Martian

    Marvin the Martian Long timer

    May 16, 2005
    Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change
    To be honest really none of the current ADV style motorcycles are "good" looking. Fuction seems to be the style and fuction is seldom pretty. That being said, if you want to be happy for the rest of your life...... she sure can cook.
  10. eaglemike

    eaglemike Been here awhile

    Jun 16, 2005
    san Diego
    If Suzuke made a V-Strom with a better fairing, shaft drive, and ABS, maybe a bigger tank, I'd be all over it. They don't have anything to compete with a R12RT for 2-up comfort and traveling that I know of.

    I did own a 1K Strom, and an FJR. I like the BMW best - not because of the money. I like it because of the bike it is. If the price was 3K lower I don't think they could keep them in stock. Maybe I'm worng, though, because there is a good chance some people buy for reason(s) noted above.....

    all the best,

  11. dynamos2000

    dynamos2000 is boinking your mom

    Jan 12, 2006
    I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.. now that I have that out of the way, I thought I heard/read that BMWs across the ocean from us in America are more reasonably priced and they are just more expensive here in the USA cause we buy into the whole 'BMW' thing (i.e. thinking its a Honda) :evil
  12. Orpheus

    Orpheus more like fool sport

    Nov 2, 2006
    Huntington Beach, California
    Whoa, whoa, whoa... let's not think about this logically.

    People used to bitch constantly about the price of Ducatis. Then the Honda 599 came out and for some weird reason, it was about the same price as a Monster. Funny thing was, it was built in Italy.

  13. FT BSTRD

    FT BSTRD Welcome to The Dispersive

    Aug 6, 2005

    Huh? Aren't GMs and Fords manufactured with UAW labor here?

    Why are they lower priced than their import brethren?

    Could it be that there are more
  14. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

    Jul 23, 2004
    Belvedere, Marin County
    Strong Euro and weak dollar mean higher prices for the US on imports but we actually pay less for BMW and Ducati than Europeans. The USA is a huge market. In fact, look at the price of the 1098 it's a bargain.
  15. Joe S.

    Joe S. Been here awhile

    Aug 1, 2002
    I read this too and I think its an interesting survey.
    I often wonder about the methods used to conduct these types of things.
    It would seem to me if it is done by asking owners to compare their product to a theoretical "best" then I have a bit of an issue with it, particularly if the survery participants are drawn from owners of all Suzuki and BMW models.
    Imagine you survey Suzuki owners, everything from the GS500 to Hayabusa. You get an extremely wide variety of owners, everything from the very experienced to those on their very first bike. Does a person on their first bike have quite as critical an eye as a person who has been riding 5, 10 or 20 years? Possibly, possibly not.
    On the whole I would say BMW buyers tend to not be first time buyers and may rate their bikes more critically.
    I believe this line of thinking would also hold true even if it were limited to the V-Strom lines and GS. When I had a 650 Strom I noticed that many of the owners were first time buyers and many others were hesitant to criticize anything about the bikes because " they're a good value for the money." (which they are).
    I have no idea if owner experience is a factor in these surveys or even a valid isue. I would think so or at least something that has to be corrected for.
    Having owned a R1150GS, 650 Strom and my current Tiger I can say all are good machines. IMHO, the Suzuki has the lowest quality fit and finish, lacked in detailing, but was quite reliable. I felt that BMW had the best fit and finish and was certainly the most fully refined and developed package although my particular bike gave some trouble (much of it related to dealer issues IMO). The Tiger is somewhere in the middle on finish and has so far been stone reliable and the most fun to ride of any of them (subjective of course). Its fairly well developed as a package but shows a lack of detailing (for example, why three locks for each saddlebag, not keyed to the ignition key)
  16. ekaphoto

    ekaphoto Been here awhile

    Jan 3, 2004
    Northern CA
    Not anymore. Most "US" cars are actually asembled out of the country now. Mexico is a favorite for ford.Even if it says assembled in the USA that is only part true. They assemble it just enough here so it can say it is, but is mostly assembled out of the country by cheap labor. Oddly enough due to the import stigma of years ago Nissan and Toyota's are assembled in the US now.
  17. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

    Oct 1, 2005
    kootenays canada
    Somebody go get the head poppin tool!
  18. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    Which is the point really. Fit & finish you can see when you buy the bike you can make an informed choice there before you pay over the $$$.

    Hand grenade transmissions on the other hand - well, you not only can't see the problem in advance, but it's also quite likely to happen somewhere that'll really annoy you.

    I'd guess that's why BMW has such bad ratings, the finish may be excellent, but the annoyance of things failing after you've paid for the bike is a lot greater than an ugly looking Strom - which you could see when you made the decision.

  19. Joe S.

    Joe S. Been here awhile

    Aug 1, 2002
    What you propose may be the reason but it is equally possible that there are other factors at play such as higher expectations on the premium bikes. I would also propose that fit and finish is a significant part of the quality equation, not as important as a major failure to be sure, but a factor.
    Also you have to wonder about things like cost of ownership. They rate Victory very highly. I really have to question this as I know in our area they have poor resale value which is certainly a factor in cost of ownership to me. It could be a regional thing or a quirk in how they rate cost of ownership.
    In any case I would have liked to have seen a much more detailed breakdown of the owners, models rated, what areas the problems were (engine, electrical, fuel system etc.). That could actually be useful information for a consmer, this survey simply doesn't give enough detail to tell a person much.
    Lest anyone wonder, I'm not anti Suzuki or anything. I still have an SV1000 and an LTZ400 quad. I've probably owned more Suzuki products than any other single brand in 38 years of riding.
    They (Suzuki) often come up with some of the most interesting Japanese bikes. I think of them as being very good at finding and initially exploiting a niche market (such as middle weight dual sport, liter class V-twin, inexpensive middle-weight adventure tourer ) but I inevitably have to shake my head that they never seem to take them to the next level and fully develop the package. For example, were they to have taken the Strom to the next level with purpose designed luggage and accessories, instead of the tacked on stuff they offer like the heated grips and bags. Similarly, they could easily have developed the SV1000 into a bike that would go head on with the likes of the Ducati ST3 and have a really world class sport tourer because the SV1000 drivetrain is quite excellent, they just won't do it, no doubt for fear the market wouldn't be there.
  20. BMR

    BMR Long timer

    Mar 31, 2003
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    Yabbut only the whiners and complainers actually take part in those surveys. The happy owners don't bother and the unhappy post their continual toxicity on websites. Just an observation.