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Many on this forum now argue that they prefer the 999 styling etc.. to the current model range. Nevertheless the fact remains that the 999 was a commercial disaster that almost brought Ducati to it's knees. A controversial subject still, I thought some folks would appreciate the details of the story and how quickly the 1098 pulled the company out of it's tailspin.

Ducati is a raging success story combining an iconic brand, a rich competition history and accessible V-twin performance draped in gorgeous Italian design. But not so long ago, Ducati was in trouble. In 2006, the company was saddled with debt and faced flagging sales as a result of it’s first Superbike commercial failure, the controversial Ducati 999 first introduced in 2003. All the gory details here
 

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Tamburini said it best when he said that the design of the 916's successor should have been "evolutionary" not revolutionary. I recall that he cited the example of the Porsche 911. Having said that, the 999 design has grown on me and I would be happy to own one. But, I would never sell my 998 for a 999. That's just me.
 

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2004 998S FE, 2000 748B, 1986 750 F1
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Having said that, the 999 design has grown on me and I would be happy to own one. But, I would never sell my 998 for a 999. That's just me.
I agree, I would be more than happy to add a gloss black 999S to our collection. But the FE stays. Every time I suggest this my husband just looks at me as though I have gone mad. I'll talk him around one day.
 

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Good article. While the aesthetic appeal of the bike will remain a purely personal thing, I hope the this article kills for once and all, the silly defense of the bike as a successful commercial product.

And good luck to the next group of designers who are asked to fill the Gucci's of Tamburini. Gentlemen, you have some very, very large shoes to fill !
 

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I thought the story might have been more along the lines of "How a bunch of ultra conservative consumers nearly killed Ducati, Porsche and countless other products as they can't stand change". Ha ha. Of course there are other factors, such as the new (at the time) Aprilia RSVR, Benelli Tornado, 1000cc MV Agusta F4, and the very good GSXR1000, R1 etc etc. But never let the facts stand in the way of a ripping yarn.

And "Signature styling elements"? What, like a nice set of spoked Borranis with a tubular swingarm up the back, Conti's running down along the sides and a big round headlight pointing the way forward?

:abduct:
 

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I thought the story might have been more along the lines of "How a bunch of ultra conservative consumers nearly killed Ducati, Porsche and countless other products as they can't stand change". Ha ha. Of course there are other factors, such as the new (at the time) Aprilia RSVR, Benelli Tornado, 1000cc MV Agusta F4, and the very good GSXR1000, R1 etc etc. But never let the facts stand in the way of a ripping yarn.

And "Signature styling elements"? What, like a nice set of spoked Borranis with a tubular swingarm up the back, Conti's running down along the sides and a big round headlight pointing the way forward?

:abduct:
Oh come on. The other bikes you site as competition (Aprilia, Benelli, MV) were non-factors, at least here in the US. The Japanese litre bikes moreso, especially as Ducati not only changed the style on the 999, but they raised the price as well.

If you want sales you must align the looks, features and pricing to match the expectations of the targeted buyer group. You don't hope to change the desires of that group. On the 749/999 models Ducati failed to meet buyer expectations, at least for the majority.
 

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the fact that the 1,099cc, 160 bhp engine comfortably out powered the exotic $30,000 999R for just half the price made the bike very compelling for the Ducatisti and many Japanese
Sportbike owners too.

no kidding and the 999 looks better because they are cheap now and the styling grows on you
 

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Yes again, blame the bike. The 999 so far has the highest winning percentage of all the Ducati superbikes. Why not blame Ducati for maybe not marketing it properly, (the ST-3 series is another perfect example of a great bike not marketed properly) and the high cost of the 999. The 1098 is a lot cheaper than the 999. If the 999 was priced the same as the 1098 there would have been more 999 sales, that just basic economics, lower price sell more. I bet that most of the "new generation" Ducati riders don't know who Doug Polan or Carl Fogerty are and what they did. So don't blame the 999, blame the suits at Ducati.
 

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Oh come on. The other bikes you site as competition (Aprilia, Benelli, MV) were non-factors, at least here in the US. The Japanese litre bikes moreso, especially as Ducati not only changed the style on the 999, but they raised the price as well.

If you want sales you must align the looks, features and pricing to match the expectations of the targeted buyer group. You don't hope to change the desires of that group. On the 749/999 models Ducati failed to meet buyer expectations, at least for the majority.
Once again I am reminded of something I once read in the late 90's regarding motorcycle production and the market and how things may have changed in ten years:
Harley is the market. [no longer true]
The Japanese study the market and produce bikes which respond to the market. [probably still true]
The Italians ignore the market, produce whatever bikes they want, and hope the market responds positively. [?????]
 

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I can feel the 999 haters coming out of the woodwork. The old, horsehair plaster woodwork. Maybe they can hold a convention with the PT supersport haters.
 

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Yes again, blame the bike. The 999 so far has the highest winning percentage of all the Ducati superbikes. Why not blame Ducati for maybe not marketing it properly, (the ST-3 series is another perfect example of a great bike not marketed properly) and the high cost of the 999. The 1098 is a lot cheaper than the 999. If the 999 was priced the same as the 1098 there would have been more 999 sales, that just basic economics, lower price sell more. I bet that most of the "new generation" Ducati riders don't know who Doug Polan or Carl Fogerty are and what they did. So don't blame the 999, blame the suits at Ducati.
Yes, you have to blame the bike, as prospective buyers don't get to meet the "suits". How, exactly, would you have proposed Ducati have marketed the 749/999, given that a lot of potential buyers were put off by the new styling? Racing results are good PR, but since most buyers don't race and the racebikes are highly modified machines, its not especially relevant. Its not just price, either, as a great product can overcome that issue. Fact is, the 749/999 series just didn't resonate with most potential buyers.
 

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I thought the story might have been more along the lines of "How a bunch of ultra conservative consumers nearly killed Ducati, Porsche and countless other products as they can't stand change".
:abduct:
agreed mindless style bimbos , the 1098 looks like a knockoff the 916 whereas the 999 looks a lot more purposeful and menacing.

whats what the successor to the 1098/1198 gonna look like....a 916 :sleep:

.........if only it had a single sided swing arm "sigh"
 

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I'm not taking sides as I own both models and accept them for what they are without comparison. To me all models are unique and treated as such for their own beauty, performance and ergonomics.

Getting to ride any Ducati is special enough :D
 

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One thing is for sure, the price point for the xx9 bikes was way off the mark, and imo that was a reflection of the larger state of things at the home office at that time.

I mean $15,000 MSRP for a 749s WAS pretty crazy, although I didn't pay that.
 

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not here, the 1098 was cheaper than the equivelent 999
i think he was saying that the 999 was cheaper world wide than in the US. ( are we on the same page ?) no question that the 1098 was designed to sell at a lower price point (anywhere).
 
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