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Not Lost in Translation:

Products with the “Made in Taiwan” label have not always enjoyed the best reputation in America, but Kymco seems to be proving the skeptics wrong with how they have performed in the U.S. market.

Products with the “Made in Taiwan” label have not always enjoyed the best reputation in America, but Kymco seems to be proving the skeptics wrong with how they have performed in the U.S. market. While some Asian manufacturers continue to run their operations like a roadside stand, pulling up and changing names whenever it’s convenient, Kymco has done just the opposite and is now setting the bar for some of the big OEMs.


Kymco, a Taiwan-based manufacturer, has been making ATVs for the North American market since 2003 (or earlier, if you count their private label deals with brands such as Kawasaki and Arctic Cat). The company has been known for making lower-priced, smaller displacement ATVs, but with the release of its 2013 quads and UTVs, it is clear they have made a leap forward in quality without changing the fact that they’re still a value brand.


Back in February of 2011, KYMCO USA made a fairly low-key announcement that they were being bought out by parent company, KYMCO of Taiwan. While it didn’t make headline news, the significance of the event was that the Taiwanese company was showing confidence in its brand and throwing its full weight behind their subsidiaries’ effort.


KYMCO’s roots in the powersports industry go back to 1963 when it was founded as the Kwang Yang Motor Company Ltd. Almost 50 years later, KYMCO is the largest scooter manufacturer in Taiwan with exports to more than 80 countries worldwide. KYMCO manufactures scooters, motorcycles and ATVs at its five plants in Asia, including its main facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


KYMCO’s dealer network currently includes more than 600 U.S. locations, with plans to expand that number in the near future, says Bruce Ramsey, vice president of KYMCO USA. He says that they’d like to grow their dealer network by as much as 40-45 percent in the next couple of years.


KYMCO USA has realized the importance of introducing new models and recently unveiled its 2013 off-road vehicles to the media on the grounds of the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.


As an official sponsor of the speedway, KYMCO was given permission to develop an off-road track around the famed NASCAR facility’s property. The area that was chosen was once to be used as golf course and condominium community in the early ’80s. The ground has sat vacant for many years until KYMCO was given the green light to turn it into an ATV playground.


The latest models that were introduced to the press were the MXU 500i LE, MXU 700i and 700i LE and the UXV 500i SP. Kymco also had other models that were previously introduced that included the unchanged for 2013 Maxxer 450i and the UXV 500i.
 
Riding Impressions
Kymco rolled out several new models at the Charlotte event, including their new MXU700i, which features their new engine. The 695cc SOHC with electronic fuel injected powerplant is the largest engine that Kymco has offered in any of its ATVs to date and is a stellar performer. We think you’ll see this engine in future UTVs. The engine is almost 20 pounds lighter than the 500cc, and it produces almost more 10 horsepower, coming in at 45 hp compared to 36 hp for the 500cc mill. Ramsey says that they will probably look at a multi-speed gearbox to power any future sport ATV.


The 700i was able to eat up the terrain and power through any of the obstacles without difficulty. The only real noticeable issue was a hint of bump steer on the 700i LE, which company officials said would be straightened out before production. The new engine was installed on the same chassis as the 500i LE and therefore made the smaller engine feel sluggish in comparison, but still adequate to rip through the terrain in Charlotte.


The new 2013 UXV 500i SP features all the bells and whistles the company could throw at it except the bigger 700cc engine. These UTVs were very impressive as rock crawlers and seemed to have just enough power to pull you out of any rut or hill climb. We also found some water obstacles that proved to be no problem other than puncturing a tire on a hidden fence post.


On hand for the event were the executives and engineers from Kymco Taiwan, and even though they didn’t speak much to the press, they were more than happy to let their 2013 machines do the talking. And it’s a good bet that dealers will be happy, too.

 


 KYMCO ATV/UTV 2013 Specs:

UXV 500i SP (MSRP $10,499)
The 499cc DOHC, 4-stroke, 4-valve engine comes with EFI and electric start. The transmission is a CVT automatic with differential lock and on-demand 2wd/4wd. It’s shod with Kenda Bounty Hunter 14-inch tires. This UTV weighs in at 1,325 lbs. and features a cargo rack with a spare tire and light rack with replaceable bulbs as well as a tow hitch that comes standard.
 
MXU 700i LE (MSRP $9,399)
The 695cc SOHC, 4-stroke, 4-valve engine comes with EFI and electric start. The transmission is a CVT automatic with differential lock and on-demand 2wd/4wd. It’s shod with Kenda Bounty Hunter 14-inch tires and adjustable shocks with dual rate springs. This ATV weighs in at 786 lbs. and features a standard front and rear cargo rack as well as a tow hitch.

MXU 700i (MSRP $8,599)
The 695cc SOHC, 4-stroke, 4-valve engine comes with EFI and electric start. The transmission is a CVT automatic with differential lock and on-demand 2wd/4wd. It’s shod with Kenda Bounty Hunter 14-inch tires and adjustable shocks with dual rate springs. This ATV weighs in at 786 lbs. and features a standard front and rear cargo rack as well as a tow hitch.
 
MXU 500i LE (MSRP $8,299)
 The 499cc DOHC, 4-stroke, 4-valve engine comes with EFI and electric start. The transmission is a CVT automatic with differential lock and on-demand 2wd/4wd. It’s shod with Kenda Bounty Hunter 14-inch tires. It weighs in at 806 lbs. and features 5 position adjustable shocks and a front mounted winch.

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