Preparing for this paper was both educational and upsetting. My original plan was to compile information about the marketing strategies pertaining to my company, Golden American Life Insurance. In doing so, I retrieved information from the marketing department and the sales force. As I continued my research, I began interviewing upper management in both the marketing and sales departments; this is where I ran into a problem. It seems that the information related to the marketing strategy of Golden American Life is private and confidential; thus I would not be able to write my paper on what I had originally planned. My next thought was to write a fictitious paper on how I would handle the marketing strategies at Golden American Life. However, I decided against this because I donít want to put my job in jeopardy in any way, shape or form. I personally feel this could compromise my job or at least the trust I have built up with my superiors and I feel it would be best to steer clear of this subject all together.

Having decided not to write about the marketing strategies related to the company I work for; the next step was to decide what I should write about. I started to look for some recourses that I had easy access to. My brother-in-law races motorcycles and has access to various marketing materials and personal knowledge about Honda motorcycles. I also was able to find information on the Internet about motorcycles and about Honda. I felt that because I had a personal interest in the subject, it would be educational and simulating to do my final research paper about Honda motorcycles. I also feel that the trust I have built with the company I work for will not be violated.

In 1948, armed with only $3200, Soichiro Honda opened The Honda Motor Company. Shortly thereafter, in 1959 he opened The American Honda Motor Company so that he could bring to pass his dream of building a high performance motorcycle and marketing it to the world. During the 1960\'s the type of motorcycles bought by Americans changed considerably. The sales of motorcycles also changed; increasing by over 800,000 from 1960 to 1965. In the early 60\'s the major competitors were Harley-Davidson of U.S.A, BSA, Triumph and Norton of the UK, and Motto-Guzzi of Italy. Out of these competitors, Harley-Davidson held the largest market share with sales in 1959 totaling 6.6 million dollars. Many of the motorcycles produced by these companies were large and bulky, which helped lead to the stereotypical image of a motorcycle rider; someone who wears a leather jacket and is looking for trouble.

The Boston Consulting Group ( BCG ) report was initiated by the British government to study the decline in British motorcycle companies around the world, especially in the USA where sales had dropped from 49% in 1959 to 9% in 1973. The two key factors the report identified were: market share loss and profitability decline; and large scale disadvantages in technology, distribution, and manufacturing. The BCG report showed that the success of the Japanese manufacturers started with the growth of their own domestic markets. The high production for domestic demand led Honda to experience economies of scale proportion as the cost of producing motorbikes declined with the level of output. This allowed Honda to achieve a highly competitive cost position which they used to penetrate into the US market.

The basic philosophy of the Japanese manufacture is that high volumes per model provide the potential for high productivity. They also believe in putting capital back into production and using highly automated techniques. Thus, their marketing strategies are directed towards developing these high model volumes, hence the careful attention that we have observed them giving to growth and market share.

The report goes on to show how Honda built up engineering competencies through the innovation of Mr. Honda. They also distinguished themselves from other companies by deciding to set up their headquarters in the west coast of America and not relying on distributors to sell their product. The BCG found that the motorcycles available before Honda entered the market were designed and marketed toward a limited group of people such as the police, army etc. However, because Honda had a