I wasn't too excited when I first found out that the Suzuki Inazuma 250 was coming to India. It seemed all right but seemed to be the capable but dull sort of motorcycle that motorcycle journalists struggle to give memorable verdicts to.
If you've read my articles then you know that I genuinely enjoyed it. Not in the visceral way that led me to bring home Ferocitas, my KTM, but it was a persuasive, elegant counterpoint to the KTM at every level including price. And as I predicted - not rocket science - the price was too high and Suzuki didn't sell many.
But what happened next blew me away. Suzuki up and lopped 30 per cent off the price. There's an event that doesn't happen often. The only question Suzuki no-commented is the one that no manufacturer will agree to answer - what happens to margins?
They said that the original price was not without basis. They believed the product had a lot of qualities and ability to offer. But the feedback, from us and via the dealers was unanimous. Suzuki heard over and over that the price, and price alone, was the stumbling block for people (the numbers are far bigger than you think) who came to the point of buying the bike and then decided against it.
Lowering the price by 30 per cent is not an easy corporate decision but they made the move. Brave. All the other price corrections I can come up with have not so great histories - Daewoo Cielo, Honda Civic Hybrid...
Then Suzuki did something admirable as well as unprecedented. They decided to pay the difference between the original and new price back to the customers who have already bought the Inazuma. It isn't some vague plan either. Suzuki says the money is already on its way to dealers who will contact these customers and issue cheques. No nonsense about service or parts credit here.
This might be the boldest thing Suzuki's done since they got into two-wheelers in India. That isn't all compliment, obviously . But no matter how cynical you are, they're doing the right thing. I like that. It is a big change in price and that's without any limited discount, introductory price, special scheme dance. They've ensured that the customers who invested their faith, emotions and money in the Inazuma already aren't left out in the cold either. That is admirable. The cynics will say Suzuki should've just done their homework.
What I'm saying is this. I'm not concerned with how we got here. But look what a nice place we have come to!
This column appeared in the July 2014 issue of OVERDRIVE