Future Production Possibilities
- Gepubliceerd: maandag 21 maart 2016 08:38
- Geschreven door René
Again, this articles could also have been in the 'Road Not Taken' category, but for now i'll put it up here, in the 'Future' segment.
However, this article is also pure speculative: nothing is considered to be a rumour, setup, or active process. You have to read it and consider it purely as a "what if?" story, nothing more, nothing less.
Since 1987, we have seen the disassembly of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch company, breaking up steadily and controlled into all these different parts and subparts, sold or rebranded or stopped. In 'The Road Not Taken' section, we will discuss all these other parts, but we will focus for now purely on the two-wheeler division.
Áll of the two-wheeler division was sold off. Every bit and piece of it is gone from Graz and the Puch brandname on two-wheelers (motorized and non-motorized) has been sold. Those are the facts. But Steyr-Daimler-Puch was big; véry big. I know most of what happened with each and every aspect and know what and where many divisions are today, but we'll talk about that another time. Even today, with the old company split up and sold into multiple parts, there are still traces (and thus possibilities) to revive the two-wheeler division in Austria.
* * * READ EVERYTHING AS PURELY SPECULATIVE ("what if?"). NONE OF THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON RUMOURS, ACTIVE PROCESSES, OFFICIAL STATEMENTS OR SETUPS OR BUSINESS PROPOSALS OF ANY SORT.* * *
Let's check out what kind of (alternative) future two-wheelers could be revived in the much beloved Austrian factory:
1. Puch brand for two-wheelers. This is a dead end, both negative and positive. With the sale of the entire division, the brandname for motorized two-wheelers went to Piaggio in Italy. They have seized production in 1997 and keep the trademark for legal reasons, but non-active. Even in Piaggio's online history they do not speak about Puch aquisition, considering it a failed takeover, but the fact is they bought out a competitor and stopped it's production indefinitely. So the motorized two-wheelers from Puch are a dead end.
The bicyles however are in the capable hands of the Cycleurope Group, based in Sweden. This Pan-European company produces many generic bikes in various priceranges and rebadge them for local markets. That is not a bad thing, specially for Puch. The brand is very strong in the Netherlands and Germany, and soon other European countries will follow. For Austria, they even produce a specific range of bicyles of high-end quality. Puch is, in that way, still alive and on the road again.
2. the Steyr-Puch brand. In the past, besides Puch itself, also the Steyr-Puch brand was used on many vehicles from the factory. For us fans, it would be the closest we could get with a hypothetical production. But legal jurisdiction and international laws would make this one near impossible to restart. It would however, be an awesome alternative, with a name still fresh in most people's memories today. So, we must conclude that this option is also a dead end.
3. the Puch-Suzuki brand. In 1983, Suzuki and Puch joined forces to produce Japanese designed mopeds and scooters in Europe. This was realized in two factories: the first being in Gras, Austria, and the second being the Avelló factory in Gijon, Spain. For several years, both brands profited from the joint-venture, with Suzuki being very strong in Southern Europe and Puch in Northern Europe. They even rebadged models for local markets. This also ended when Piaggio became owener of the Puch brandname for motorized two-wheelers, and Suzuki bought the Spanish factory and used up all the old Puch branded parts up to 1989. This is considere3d also a dead end.
4. the Hero-Puch brand. Again, a dead end. Hero is an Indian-based factory, which buys older moped and scooter models (the mouldings and rights) of old A-brand names. In 1988 they bought the Puch Maxi Plus and started to produce them under the name Hero Puch, up to 2005, in various modelnames and even prototypes of new developments based on the Maxi Plus. But since they no longer produce it, that brandname has become obsolete for Hero itself. It must be said, that the company did the most with the Puch brandname and models after they bought it. They deserve much credit for keeping the Puch brand on the road for so long.
5. the Steyr brand. This could be interesting. In the past, Steyr manufactured many 4-wheelers in Graz, Austria. Today, the Steyr brand produces rebadged Case/New Holland tractors, but with the famous power and durability. They have nothing to do anymore with the old Steyr-Daimler-Puch company, only a link with it's history. But consider that Steyr is doing very well in Europe, is very much alive and active and has the latest technology and the best engineers inhouse, so i would like to leave this option "open" for the future.
6. the Austro-Daimler brand. Few people in Europe still know the brand, that was part of Steyr-Daimler-Puch. But across the ocean, in America, it is very well known. The Puch Maxi Plus was sold there as the Austro-Daimler moped. And with success. Now, i don't know what happened to the rights of that brandname, but my guess is that someone owns it, not being Piaggio, and that production would be a possibility. It's comes from the same stable (Steyr-Daimler-Puch) and has a long tradition, and would fit perfectly for new vehicles. This would be a great option in my opinion.
As stated before: all of this is purely "what if?" speculative and should not be taken out of that context. Still, as a fan of the Austrians, and the legendary Graz factory, i hope that somewhere, somehow, in the future, something will happen, which will make riding on a new Puch(related) brand moped, scooter or other vehicle a reality.