Ski manufacturing update in Japan...
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
While I agree with you, moderating such info is nearly mipossible. Unless you're an industry insider you really don't know for sure where (for example) if company X is building company Y's skis or not. The ski industry is a very closed industry in terms of who is manufacturing what, and where it is being done. As a result, most of what the average consumer, or even shop employees know, is hearsay passed down from a "friend who knows a guy who knows a rep who traveled to the manufacturer headquarters in europe and found out that the skis are built off-site somewhere else..."
about the industry is nearly impossible unless you are a real insider working in Europe. Also, because there is so much 'sharing' of manufacturing facilities - companies are careful to not release that kind of information since it could really kill the brand's image if they found out that many of last year's hottest skis all came off the same press in the Elan factory in Slovenia...
That brand would no longer be able to claim "we built this great ski." If company X is building all of company X's skis, as well as W's, Y's and Z's... why would you buy anything other than company X's skis (consumer psychology)?
So you end up with two situations. A small company with large manufacturing capabilities claims that it is building all of the skis for several manufacturers, but those same manufacturers are claiming that they build all of their own skis and sales people from both companies are using it in their sales pitch to the shops. Who do you believe?
IMO, we are fortunate to have you and a few other industry insiders who actually do know a lot about what goes on behind the scenes within each company. Being in the US and being so removed from the 'source' getting good information is next to impossible... and once we get the information we have to decipher the personal bias and sales pitch from the real data. Having people like yourself who have been to the factories, and know which skis are produced where and by who, and are willing to share the information - is a great asset. If you have correct information that would educate the general public - I encourage you to share it as much as you can because misconceptions run rampant in the ski industry.
You make a good point(s). All I can add is that the Japanese alpine consumer are and have been quite "overloaded" with brand hype and marketing. Ogasaka (made in Japan) and Rexxan (made in Osaka ski boots) are taking advantage of the this general trend to buy Japan made and "crafted." Are there really any 92 year old Japanese Meisters lurking around ski presses in Ogasaka's Nagano plant?
I believe Toyota best demonstrated how leary or finicky the stereotyped Japanese auto consumer is at the BMW, 300~500 series level. The strategists in Nagoya (Toyota grand central) proceeded to create LEXUS dealers all over North America and Western Europe to pay their "how dare you" backlashed "dues"...be ruthlessly critiqued by all the reviewers abroad...then come back almost 10 years later to introduce LEXUS to Japan- thus the current undeniable rage here in Japan for this premium auto.
These "Lexus" autos to a great degree were already domestically offers under the Toyota badge for many years here originally- rebadged as LEXUS and exported to North America Lexus dealers. The current line of Lexus models offered here in Japan have "morphed " into very different autos than the luxury Toyota lineup of models.
The off-shoot of this is it was facinating to visit parts of Asia, where LEXUS is the desired brand of choice instead of such luxury stalewarts as Mercedes, BMW and Rolls Royce in place like Hong Kong. I recall just 5 years ago, where Lexus was considered a souped up Toyota. Amazing.
Making an analogy between LEXUS and Ogasaka Ski is rather far-fetched to say the least but "Made or crafted in Japan" as they like to hype- is also taken the form of niche skis like KEI SKI and mogul specialty skis. At times, I suspect alot of these skis may be made in Ogasaka's plant in Nagano, a.k.a. Atomic, Elan, Salomon? BTW, Mizuno Skis are sub-contracted and manufactured at one these plants in Europe.
Limited edition or customized (color) for each individual retail outlet is an interesting marketing ploy offered for the last 7 seasons or so, where the exact same spec ski is offered in a individualized color scheme for a certain retailer. An example is a local ski shop...offerings:http://www.piste.ws/ogasaka/index.html
By all of my indications, the Japanese alpine consumer HAS bitten into the hype indeed.
Oh well, just some ramblings from the Far East.