Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SYM Factory visit report...

The top photo is me standing just outside the front door of the SYM's main assembly plant in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Notice the jacket - it does get chilly during the winter months, even there, and the temperature never got over 55 that day.
There were many happy events and surprises during my morning with SYM, but sorry to say a major disappointment also: no pictures allowed inside the factory! So, aside from the photos posted above, there are none that show the high-tech vehicle assembly line, the extensive quality and safety check department, and SYM's equally-impressive robot-driven warehouse facility.
The middle 3 shots are of the showroom/lobby, and the bottom photo is of my son, Jon, standing at the welcome desk with our very welcoming host, Mr. Eddie Lu of SYM's Overseas Marketing group. Thanks go out to Eddie for a very pleasant tour and discussion. Thanks also to Pete McIntosh at Carter-SYM for his help in arranging the tour in the first place.
It's amazing to see how quickly a scooter comes together on the assembly line - from the machining of pistons, cylinders and valves into complete engines; from steel tubing into welded and painted frames; from bins of wire and connectors into complete wiring harnesses - and then the merge of all these different lines into the final assembly where in about 50 feet and 15 minutes, out comes a finished, running vehicle. From there the scooter is ridden about 10 yards into a test area where all the functions and sub-systems of the scooter are run through stringent quality and performance tests. After that, it's whisked to a holding area in preparation for crating and shipping (or storage in the warehouse). Amazing!
When we arrived in the warehouse, there was a Symba! Eddie turned to me and to my surprise and delight, handed me a helmet and said, "Want to take it for a ride"? Naturally! So, up and down the factory roads I went for about 15 minutes. Acceleration: good; ride and handling: good and solid; seat comfort: good; braking: good (although I never got over 35 due to having to dodge people, fork lifts, and various other equipment). Overall impression: pretty much exactly what I hoped for.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Symba Emblem

Here it is, folks - the official Symba emblem. It's the badge that will go on the front of every Symba sold here in the USA. You can see it on the styling prototype in my previous post. What do you think? Personally, I'm pleased. There's nothing "Wo Wow"-ish about it - which means, a guy can ride the bike around town without fear of being asked if it belongs to his wife or girlfriend. Thank God it's not a cute little lion cub!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The first SYMBA hits US shores!

True to their name, the Scooter Scoop has got the scoop on the 2009 Symba! They actually have one down there in Austin and have taken it out for a couple of rides. It seems it's not the "full" USA version, however, as Steve mentions the speedometer reads in KPH. I presume it's one of the styling prototypes they made to nail-down the colors and Symba-specific badges and markings (I see a nice "Symba" badge in the pic. Sweet!).
Steve promises more test rides and details to come - we'll pick up whatever they report and post it here, of course!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Can't wait to order your Symba? Moxie Scooters is taking reservations now!

If you live within driving distance of Colleyville, Texas, you can order your Symba now for pick-up in April! It might be a good idea to do this, particularly if you've already made up your mind: who knows how many units Carter Brothers is going to be able to get in the 1st shipment from Taiwan? Moreover, how many out of that quantity will your local dealership order or be allocated? My "local" dealership in Brooklyn NY seems to have a tiny showroom and not much space to store inventory. With a pre-order, you'll have a better chance of getting one from the first bunch from the factory, as well as your color selection. I assume dealerships such as Moxie that take pre-orders will definitely be allocated at least the quantity they have already sold to (anxious) customers!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Symba MSRP: $2598.00. Availability: April, '09

Team Symba has just been informed that the suggested MSRP for the 2009 Symba has been tentatively set at $2598.00. That puts it right next to the Fiddle-II 125. I think with fully restored antique Super Cubs selling just under that range, the updated features of the Symba, plus the 2-year warranty and SYM's outstanding reputation for quality all put together make this price a very good value for the American Cub enthusiast as well as the scooter/light motorcycle community!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Symba Factory, here I come!

In about a week from now, I"ll be on my way to Taiwan! During my 10-day stay in this beautiful and exciting democracy, I'll be visiting the SYM factory in Hsinchu, Taiwan's high-tech science and industrial center located about an hour's drive from the capital city of Taipei.
It's not my first trip to Taiwan by any means - I've been a regular visitor for the past 20 years as part of my carreer in the computer hardware manufacturing business.  It was during just such a trip in the summer of 2007 that I first saw the SYM "WoWOW" on the streets of Taipei.  As a long-time Cub enthusiast, that really gave me a pleasant surprise!
I go to the SYM factory hoping to get a look at their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility (perhaps even the SYMBA production line) and also come away with a better sense of the history of the company and their plans for the future.
I'm very grateful to the public-relations people at SYM, who have been very kind in accommodating this rather sudden drop-in by an American Symba fan!  Thanks also to Pete McIntosh at Carter Brothers here in the USA for his help.
- Nate