Don't agree; instead I think you missed my point. It's summer, I'm bored; let's get into this.
snip........ GTO, three duces, progressive linkage carburators, heck yeah! My buddy had one and we used to tear sh%t up.
OK, skis: IMO Lemmings will buy Volkls if they are seen on the feet of Definers: Winning competitors or strong skiers on the local slopes. Regardless of whether they say, "Racetiger by K2." OTOH, I began to question Volkls long term prognosis when I started seeing Mantras on a lot of intermediates out west. Exploders were mythic, mostly on the feet of guys who slipped out the back gates at first lift, or patrollers. Mantras now are becoming the next B3. Anybody can drive them. Early Gotamas were ground breaking, tailored to specialists who lived for powder. Now they're trying to keep up with the indies, and otherwise everybody's default compromise for variable days. A good, reliable ski. Which is the kiss of death for marketing.
So I just think it's too simple to argue that consumers won't accept a product if its brand is consolidated. Some consumers won't care, they'll be more concerned with whether the car/ski pushes the envelope. They probably know exactly who makes every piece of the product. Others will follow the first group into the ski store. A few will care, because they trail way back, and don't know jack. But when the first group leaves the building, even if the product keeps selling nicely for a while, it's walking dead. That's where Volkl is right now, IMHO.
Explosivs, which I skied three pairs for about 3 seasons and hold in reserve as a rock ski, are a wierd story. The burgundy model with the Budha badge, was identical to the earliest Explosivs, Blue and Yellow, and Clouds/Sky graphics. In between was a period of two models called The Wizard that were super well liked and had the qualities and construction that developed a cult following. People at Squaw will still part with serious cash to get a pair in mint condition. But the Budha doesn't really enjoy that following. It wasn't all that fun to ski, just stiff like hell, and a wierd sidecut that was not a continuous curve, but a long angle, two almost straight sections meeting at the boot heel. It was originally an extreme/powder ski, and I think the design was for platform/check short-swing type turns, a la Sylvan Sylvain (sp?). Just when off piste skiing was taking off in several cool directions, Volkl pulls out an old press. Wierd.
Then the Mantra came out and Volkl skiers who felt they were promised a new model that was still hardcore, were pissed off to find a softer tail, more sidecut, a large-spread tip. People shook their heads and said: "It's just a different ski altogether." And they were no more inclined to follow with the Mantra than any other comparable ski. Many did buy the Mantra and have no serious gripes, they just say: "It's a different ski." as if that is not necessarily a GOOD thing.