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#120835 - 07/23/08 02:35 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
TheCaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Simi Valley, CA
This is an interesting topic, and one in which the Tier 1 manufacturers really don't have to worry about diluting the quality of their name as long as they don't dilute their Tier 1 products. Steinway has created the prototype of how to run this business. There is absolutely no product contamination between Steinway and its Boston and Essex lines. Steinway is simply grabbing additional slices of the market without making any capital investment in setting up its own manufacturing facilities. It simply buys the pianos at a manufacturer's wholesale price and has the pianos shipped either directly to its dealer network or to a distribution point where it can check out the pianos one last time to correct minor defects and to cull out the dogs. Engineering costs are minimal and it incurs no manufacturing costs.

Furthermore, its risks actually get lower as Asian manufacturing improves and the price point largely holds, i.e. when pianos improve in quality fatser than they do in price, it improves the overall number of people who might one day want to trade up to a Tier 1 product. In short, the new millionaires being minted in China are not buying Hailuns, Stecks, and Brodmans. They're buying Steinways, Bosendorfers, Bluthners, etc. Steinway, for example, lists China as one of its fastest-growing international markets -- and it makes absolute sense.

How well is the strategy working? Of Steinway's $235 million in revenues last year about 20% (maybe $47 million) was from the sale of Boston and Essex pianos. Are those buyers getting a little slice of Steinway because the pianos are "Steinway designed?" From a marketing perspective, they certainly are, although it's questionable how much they're really getting technically. When I asked a Steinway sales rep why I should pay more for a Boston than an equivalent Kawai, she explained how the wood was cured for a longer period and that Boston pianos would age better and hold their tone better over the years. At that moment, I understood the true meaning of ROFLMAO as the room smelled of buffalo.

The bottom line, however, is that buyers plopped down about $47 million for overpriced Asian pianos for the right to be members of the Steinway family. Are they stupid buyers? There's no doubt, for example, that an equivalent Kawai is just as good at a lower price point, and there's also no doubt that you can get an equivalent Chinese brand to an Essex for a lower price. What you cannot get, however, is the Steinway magazine sent to you every month, and you also cannot be part of a Tier 1 prestigious piano family like Steinway. You also get the security that comes from buying from a major name manufacturer, along with the assurance that the piano at least meets a good quality standard. The Essex pianos may not play or sound better than a number of Chinese models, but they're certainly solidly built and make a fine entry level piano, albeit for $1K to $2K more than stencils with a far less well-known name.

So given that there is a value associated with the security of a brand name and the psychological value of belonging, buying a Boston or Essex piano, or Vogel or May Berlin, or Irmler, etc. may just be worth it as long as the name in question completes the marketing loop and makes you feel like you're a member of an exclusive fraternity. After all, owning a piano and playing music is ultimately a form of entertainment and who is to say that the value of belonging to a prestigious family isn't worth the premium you paid?

Think about it. Almost everyone on this board would agree that there was something that makes paying $30K for an Estonia or $60K to $90K for a Steinway or $100K+ for a Bosendorfer, Bluthner, or Fazioli worth it because they deliver that special extra that somehow reaches into your soul. Is it really worth that much money when you can get functional performance from pianos for only $15 to $25K? It probably is. So what's the big deal if you pay a few thousand more for a Boston, Essex, Vogel, May Berlin or Irmler if the benefit is the values of belonging and security?

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#120836 - 07/23/08 10:08 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Caz,

I agree with you up to a point. I don't think the 'family of fine pianos' approach is so much to make hay in the USA though. That may have been true of Steinway's plan years ago. But the Europeans are coming late to the party and there's not much hay to be made here anymore.

This is really about getting a toehold in Asia both in terms of manufacturing relationships and marketing channels. The Euros realize their manufacturing costs are not competitive with those in Asia and that their biggest potential sales market is in Asia. US may be strategic, but not the place to look for high-volume sales. We have a bad economy and a declining interest.

One other thing. People pay the Estonia premium for what's inside the piano, not for any mystique that surrounds it. The same is true of people who buy a thoroughbred from Sauter, Steinbraeber, or any other maker who isn't dabbling in the 'family of fine pianos' approach.

Some of the European companies that are marketing sub-lines are quite reticent (to be polite) to reveal to the potential customer just where on earth the piano has been made. Read the Bluthner statement from Alex Hernandez on this thread about the Irmler sourcing. I know someone who recently shopped an Irmler. He asked about the piano's origin from the dealer and sent two separate e-mails to people inside the Bluthner company. He couldn't get a clear answer from any of the three, and he was no looky-loo. He was at the point of purchase. The best he could get was the assurance that the pianos were finished off in Leipzig. If the Euro manufacturers take the approach of ordering a batch from here, a batch from there, and maintain flexibility in sourcing to harvest the best Asian product at the lowest cost, they will not have continuity in the product line like that which Steinway has accomplished with their Boston line. This may limit sales to discriminating customers.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#120837 - 07/23/08 10:14 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
One of the most loosy goose pianos I ever played was a Chinese(?) made Irmler. It was even worse than Estonia before it became a US sensation.

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#120838 - 07/23/08 10:56 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
TheCaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Simi Valley, CA
It's one thing to start sourcing from Asia; it's another to feel comfortable about it. Steinway created the family fiction and met it head on. As a public company, they had no choice. They have to make such disclosures otherwise they'd be sued into oblivion by their shareholders.

I can understand how a privately-held Tier 1 European firm can be embarrassed about it and try to hide it. In the long run, however, that's a really bad strategy that will backfire on them. A lot of owning a piano is perception. How would you like to find out that your beautiful piano from the family of Bluthner that you thought was from Germany really came from China? You might be Dastocksauer ab, which the language translation website said was ****ed off in German.

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#120839 - 07/23/08 01:35 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
For all the heat Steinway takes on PW, I do think they've handled this issue well, making no secret about where their pianos are made. People care and want to know about this for their own reasons and it really doesn't matter what those reasons are. I am interested in where a piano (or anything else) is made and it can be a factor in my buying decision. I would not necessarily rule out a piano based on where it was made but I definitely would rule out a piano if I couldn't easily find out where it was made. Obfuscation by manufacturers and their dealers on this question is self-destructive behaviour. In the face of such obfuscation, people may assume there is something to hide and look elsewhere.
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#120840 - 07/24/08 12:11 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
TheCaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Simi Valley, CA
Let me give you a case in point. I looked at new Schulze Pollman uprights the other day: the 114, 118 and 126. All played very well, and it looked like they were members of the same family. The 114 was $7,500, the 118 was $9,500, and the 126 was $11,500. The 118 and 126 are true Italian brothers with Renner action and hammers, Roslau strings, and a soundboard from the Val die Fiemme forest. The 114 comes from Asian (China, I think?), and has a different soundboard, strings, and action. Apparently, about the only things that are the same are the Renner hammers and the name on the case.

How do you spell misleading practice that leaves a bad taste in my mouth? Ironically, the piano played great. Nevertheless, it's a mystery piano because I don't know its sourcing. Furthermore, S-P doesn't even have it on its website, so I can't find out.

If there's someone from S-P on PW, please tell your management that they're only hurting their great name by not dealing with this correctly. If it were properly disclosed and labeled at the dealer, I wouldn't have any problems at all. I'd probably be raving about how great a piano it was for the price ...

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#120841 - 07/24/08 12:41 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1474
Loc: Danville, California
 Quote:
For all the heat Steinway takes on PW, I do think they've handled this issue well, making no secret about where their pianos are made.
Surely you jest.

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#120842 - 07/24/08 12:44 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
 Quote:
How do you spell misleading practice that leaves a bad taste in my mouth?
Am I the only one that thinks we hold piano manufacturers/retailers to a different standard than other industries/products?

If I'm shopping for a SubZero fridge, a BMW or an Italian couch, do I really know where all the components are made and is the pricing of that product truly "transparant"? If I asked the dealer to carefully detail the source of all the components, and what their margin was, would I really have a basis to be offended if that information was not readily forthcoming?

I'm not trying to raise a stink, I'm truly curious how we piano lovers come to the conclusion that these kind of issues are offensive and misleading, when outsourcing and global procurement in the pursuit of providing a variety of attractive price points is one of the hallmarks of modern society and a significant contributor to our Western style of living.

It has to be more than the simple European image issue. I still like BMW's and Gagganau appliances (don't own either), and if they work right, that's enough for me. I know that BMW's are made in South Carolina.

Do those of you who take such offense at the lack of forthcoming clarity hold the manufacturers of all your other purchases to the same standard?

Note my key caveat..."it has to work right".
_________________________
RPT. In the business: Feurich pianos, Neupert harpsichords, Hidrau benches, piano technician

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#120843 - 07/24/08 01:13 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Eric,

I have to disagree with you here. I'll be joining Starting Over when he marches out the dealer's front door. If the seller of a piano when confronted point-blank with the simple question: "Where was it made" chooses to hem and haw, bob and weave, and refuse to give a simple answer, I'm not interested.

This idea of final inspection, fine-tuning, finished off, fertiggestellt, post-assembly regulation, etc. is reassuring in that it stresses the company's committment to back the product. But it's not a substitute for a simple disclosure of the country of manufacture.

Personally I'm not afraid of 'made in China', 'made in Indonesia, or 'made in Macao', but let's be realistic. In terms of pricing and value received, apples need to be compared to apples, and oranges (such as your delectable avatar) to oranges. \:\)
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#120844 - 07/24/08 01:13 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Vince in Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/07
Posts: 169
Loc: Las Vegas
Well actually if the thing works (i.e. touch and tone) and it isn't falling apart I couldn't care less where it was built. Clearly a lot of forumites do care.

From TheCaz " Ironically, the piano played great" do you mean surprisingly? Do you find irony or surprise in a piano that performs well but dosen't have a known pedigree? I wouldn't be gripped by either of those emotions if I sat at any piano that sounds and feels good.

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#120845 - 07/24/08 01:33 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
TheCaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Simi Valley, CA
Actually Eric, I have no problem whatsoever with outsourcing in a global world, but it's the manufacturers who have created the problem, not the consumers. As a way to distinguish quality of the European pianos versus Asian ones, the Euro manufacturers like S-P make it a point to tout Renner actions and hammers, Val de Fiemme soundboards etc. My problem comes when they then introduce a model that doesn't match those specs without such disclosure. If they didn't say anything about the sourcing and parts in any of the models, then I wouldn't have a problem at all. I'd be free to judge by sound and price, wouldn't I?

But who created the image that Val de Fiemme soundboards are better than ones Asian companies source from Sitka forests in Russia, or that Renner hammers are better than Asian hammers, or that Renner actions are better than ones made in Asia? It certainly wasn't the Asian manufacturers?

I don't want to be harsh, but it seems to me that the Euro manufacturers are now being hoisted by their own petard.

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#120846 - 07/24/08 01:56 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
TheCaz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 224
Loc: Simi Valley, CA
Vince,

I don't care where it's built. I care about being given a misleading impression. That's what I meant when I said that ironically it played great. As far as I'm concerned, if S-P can keep prices down and still build a great-sounding, quality piano, I'm all for it.

I didn't create the image that Euro parts were better than Asian ones, or that pianos manufactured in Europe were better. The Euro manufacturers did.

The irony, of which surprise is a key component, is that I really couldn't distinguish by sound and touch that the 114 wasn't the same as the 118 (obviously not as big a sound), although a more experienced player might, so I'm not the best arbiter here. And if I can't, what does that say about the superiority of Renner actions, Val de Fiemme soundboards, and Roslau strings, which cuts to the heart of the matter, doesn't it?

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#120847 - 07/24/08 02:48 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1735
If you look at the stickers on new car windows, they tell you where the parts were made (above a certain percentage) and where the car was assembled. Most BMWs were not made in South Carolina.

On a semi-relevant note, is there a thread (or would it be appropriate to start one) for questions about the new Larry Fine supplement? I have a couple of questions I would like to ask about it.

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#120848 - 07/24/08 04:02 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Vince in Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/07
Posts: 169
Loc: Las Vegas
TheCaz "The irony, of which surprise is a key component, is that I really couldn't distinguish by sound and touch that the 114 wasn't the same as the 118 (obviously not as big a sound), although a more experienced player might, so I'm not the best arbiter here. And if I can't, what does that say about the superiority of Renner actions, Val de Fiemme soundboards, and Roslau strings, which cuts to the heart of the matter, doesn't it?"

Good points and well said. I now understand the earlier statement.

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#120849 - 07/24/08 04:11 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
 Quote:
Originally posted by Furtwangler:
 Quote:
For all the heat Steinway takes on PW, I do think they've handled this issue well, making no secret about where their pianos are made.
Surely you jest. [/b]
Nope, not at all. It's easy to find out where they're made. Discussions on the Forum about S&S pianos often focus on the differences between Hamburg and New York models, which Hamamutsu assembly line Boston pianos are made on, why Pearl River vs Dongbei etc., never about what country of origin. That's a given.

I first learned where S&S family pianos were made when I visited my local S&S dealer for the first time a couple of years ago and asked where their pianos were made.
_________________________
Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers


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#120850 - 07/24/08 05:18 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
Actually, T, I think you ARE agreeing with me...we (the collective we of piano geeks) do in fact hold piano manufacturers to a different standard than we do other high end, expensive product manufacturers.

Not right or wrong, necessarily.
_________________________
RPT. In the business: Feurich pianos, Neupert harpsichords, Hidrau benches, piano technician

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#120851 - 07/24/08 05:39 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Bose, it's all about transparency. Lower down the chain, the inquiry might be about who actually manufactures a certain stencil.

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#120852 - 07/24/08 07:04 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by BoseEric:
Actually, T, I think you ARE agreeing with me...we (the collective we of piano geeks) do in fact hold piano manufacturers to a different standard than we do other high end, expensive product manufacturers.

Not right or wrong, necessarily. [/b]
Eric

Agreeing with you? That would be awful. I don't want that. Think of my image, man! \:D

Seriously, I think the workmanship...the fitting of the soundboard, ribs, plate, etc. is a different issue from the possibly unfinished state of a factory-shipped piano.

In the ever-more-popular final inspection routine among European manufacturers, I don't think any found deficiencies in materials and construction workmanship can be overcome without a teardown. Action regulation and whatever else can make the piano the best it can be, but does not change what it is. It is what it is. If it was made in China it's a Chinese piano. If it was made in Indonesia, it's an Indonesian piano. If I ask a sales pro what it is and he will only tell me where it received its final inspection, or where its various components were harvested, I suppose that he's afraid to tell me what it is. Maybe he doesn't know either. \:D But it just doesn't feel right.

BTW, I'm no geek. I'm not sure you are either. Don't you have some kind of one-off radial back UX type experimental Yamaha vertical contraption at home? \:D

If a Chinese manufacturer chooses to put at the top of its website.......

"Our pianos are made in China. They are unabashedly Chinese and we are proud of them. We will offer you European upgrades for action, hammers, soundboard, etc. if you like and are willing to bear substantial added cost, but we stand behind our Chinese pianos made by Chinese workers of 100% Chinese components and are confident that they will meet with your satisfaction."

......I will be a fan of that maker's marketing.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#120853 - 07/25/08 01:15 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
PianoPro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by BoseEric:
 Quote:
How do you spell misleading practice that leaves a bad taste in my mouth?
Am I the only one that thinks we hold piano manufacturers/retailers to a different standard than other industries/products?[/b]
You mean like:

GM (General Motors)

Aveo-Made in Korea
Cobalt-Made in Mexico
Impala-Made in Canada
Tahoe/Suburban-Made in U.S.A.
_________________________
Dennis C.
Piano Store Operator,
Former District Manager,
20 Year Industry Experience

"Tell the truth, honor God, and make money!"

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#120854 - 07/25/08 06:27 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
A few years Lee Iococca was president of Chrysler. He went to Japan with a delegation complaining of how many Japanese car companies were hurting US industries by making their cars in Japan.

When he got back a reporter questioned him because so many parts such as seats were made for Chrysler in Mexico. He was asked how much of Chrysler cars were made in the US. His reply was that at least 50% of the Chrysler car parts were made in the US. Now I'm sure the percentage is lower.

I believe in honesty in advertising and piano companies should answer questions about were things are made. But the quality and deserved rating of a piano, IMO, is not closely correlated with the country of manufacture.

(By the way I just learned that Frank has improved this forum spelling so very much. If you right click on a misspelled work then the computer suggests correct spellings. How nice. Thanks Frank.)
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#120855 - 07/25/08 07:07 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1474
Loc: Danville, California
 Quote:
(By the way I just learned that Frank has improved this forum spelling so very much. If you right on a misspelled work then the computer suggests correctly spellings. How nice. Thanks Frank.)
And it is working flawlessly!

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#120856 - 07/25/08 08:34 PM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
M&B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/19/06
Posts: 262
Loc: California
Among all members posting on this thread, if somebody shows a good grasp of the piano industry is Norbert. His posts couldn’t be more accurate; he is practically predicting the future.
IMO For the most part German manufacturers are not longer interested in what Norbert already mentioned: “Stick with what you're doing best and do it better”. Over pricing pianos to the dealer network doesn’t make them enough money; therefore other alternatives most be found.

OTH Steinway is the only company with a name big enough to build sub-lines, make money, keep their reputation immaculate, AND set-up future Steinway buyers.

The Japanese have done also a good job as well. They make all their lines with the same name and simply divide them in categories. Off course they built their reputation from ground up; this is what is allowing them at this point to move successfully on either direction.

BTW It is a shame that a piano manufacturer such as Blüthner cannot make enough money to sustain healthy business without the need of stencil brands and confusing stories that make them look almost shady.
Respect to those manufacturers taking “the high-road” instead of compromising their image or integrity.
_________________________
Piano Dealer
Representing Kawai, Mason&Hamlin.

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#120857 - 07/26/08 12:59 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1966
 Quote:
Originally posted by M&B:
Among all members posting on this thread, if somebody shows a good grasp of the piano industry is Norbert. His posts couldn’t be more accurate; he is practically predicting the future.
IMO For the most part German manufacturers are not longer interested in what Norbert already mentioned: “Stick with what you're doing best and do it better”. Over pricing pianos to the dealer network doesn’t make them enough money; therefore other alternatives most be found.

OTH Steinway is the only company with a name big enough to build sub-lines, make money, keep their reputation immaculate, AND set-up future Steinway buyers.

The Japanese have done also a good job as well. They make all their lines with the same name and simply divide them in categories. Off course they built their reputation from ground up; this is what is allowing them at this point to move successfully on either direction.

BTW It is a shame that a piano manufacturer such as Blüthner cannot make enough money to sustain healthy business without the need of stencil brands and confusing stories that make them look almost shady.
Respect to those manufacturers taking “the high-road” instead of compromising their image or integrity. [/b]
This post is wildly off base and frankly insulting. I would invite you to offer a detailed and factual argument that supports the idea that offering a more affordable instrument compromises a manufactures integrity.

I, for example love the Shigeru Kawais that I have played but wouldn't for a moment think that the RX cheapens the Kawai image.

I predict that Irmler will be a strong competitor in your market. Russell Kassman is a dedicated dealer who offers a well prepared and well supported inventory in the bay area ( if you are the dealer I am thinking of ).
_________________________


Blüthner USA, LLC

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#120858 - 07/26/08 01:53 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#120859 - 07/26/08 02:25 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1966
_________________________


Blüthner USA, LLC

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#120860 - 07/26/08 03:31 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
M&B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/19/06
Posts: 262
Loc: California
A. Hernandez,

A) Kawai has been making pianos for 80 years. They came into the market as a modest piano manufacturer from Japan, always under the shade of Yamaha. Today, they have an amazing piano in tier One. OTH The name Bluthner has existed for over a 100 years always known as high-end piano maker; today they're venturing into the cheap piano manufacturing.
Using Kawai as part of your argument is irrelevant by just looking at the history of these two companies, and where they are situated in today's market.
BTW Hirotaka KAWAI uses his real last-name; I wonder if Christian's last-name is really Bluthner?

B) The fact that you are here on behalf of Bluthner proves my point. I’ve never seen any Fazioli or Steingraeber sales representative trying to clean up their name here at PW.
Do you know why ? Because they have nothing to clean up. Nor Sauter which by the way I think this is one of the lines your friend Mr. Kassman. is representing. (great pianos too)

C) Since you brought up the name of Mr. Kassman. If I remember well a few moths ago YOU will not recognize him as Bluthner dealer. Today he still claims to be a Bluthner dealer; and all he has is one Bluthner on the floor.
Is this all it takes to be a Bluthner dealer? One piano.
Do you think Steinway will let anybody buy one piano, then allow them to declare their store Steinway dealers? The answer is NO.
This shows how unprofessionally Bluthner is running business; and how much they care about the prestige of the company.

D) If Bluthner has decided to make lower priced pianos ( cheaper over priced stuff). The smart thing to do is not to associate the cheap pianos with Bluthner. Alex! There are excellent pianist who has never heard of the name Bluthner. What is making you guys think that consumers interested in lower priced pianos will get excited over a Korean made piano designed by Bluthner? (This is where Norbert make a lot of sense. He is right . You can’t compete in that market with this business model)
BTW Bluthner should have a sales rep dedicated to the cheaper stuff, this way Bluthner’s sales representative (you) won’t have to get involved into this mess of who makes what and where.

E) I’m a dealer but not that dealer. But since you opened a can of worms, I’ll take up on it.


Dear Alex I don’t have any intention of insulting anybody. It is also understandable that you are not responsible for the good or poor management of Bluthner.
_________________________
Piano Dealer
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#120861 - 07/26/08 10:17 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
 Quote:
I offer my opinion to you with all due respect and hope it gives you the answers you have been seeking.[/b]
Since I asked you to supply the answer to a simple factual question and since you declined to do so, I fail to understand how you could possibly think you gave me the answers I have been seeking.

Consumers who wish to know where a piano was made have a right to expect an answer to that question. SMC is not a country of origin. It is my understanding that production costs in Korea have reached the point where they rival those in Germany and that SMC is increasingly shifting its production to Indonesia.

If the new Irmler in US inventory is made in Korea, then say that. If it is made in Indonesia, then say that. If it is made in China, then say that. If there are new Irmlers in US inventory that have been built in different countries, then say that and provide an answer to the question of how those manufactured in different countries can be told apart.

You cannot be naive enough to think that these things do not matter to consumers, to retailers, or to those such as Mr. Fine who critique industry products. This continuing unwillingness to answer the question with digressions into subjective piano tiers and the product lines of a Japanese competitor can only do harm to a marketing effort in the long run.
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Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
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#120862 - 07/26/08 10:55 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1735
The only reference to Irmler in Larry Fine's 2008-09 supplement is that "Bluthner has temporarily discontinued the Irmler and Breitmann piano lines." If this is correct, it answers the question of where Irmler pianos are currently being made: they aren't.

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#120863 - 07/26/08 11:13 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Barbara G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 495
Loc: N. Texas
Turandot. My infomation did not come from Ivan Kahn alone. It came from a higher up exec. with Bluthner, and not Alex. I believe it to be correct. Why do you not believe it? My explaination is detailed and factual. I did not get all of your questions answered, as you had not yet asked them. Unless you are actually shopping for an Irmler, I believe that you have enough questions answered. I was told and Alex has told you that the US Irmlers currently in dealers were made in Poland and the ones which are now being prepared to be shipped to dealers are made in Korea.

Now it is time that you showed some courtesy to others.
_________________________
Master of Music, School Teacher, Church Musician- See "Our Adventure to a New grand" thread... http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/18212.html

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#120864 - 07/26/08 11:55 AM Re: Is Irmler made in China?
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1966
 Quote:
Originally posted by M&B:
A. Hernandez,

A) Kawai has been making pianos for 80 years. They came into the market as a modest piano manufacturer from Japan, always under the shade of Yamaha. Today, they have an amazing piano in tier One. OTH The name Bluthner has existed for over a 100 years always known as high-end piano maker; today they're venturing into the cheap piano manufacturing.
Using Kawai as part of your argument is irrelevant by just looking at the history of these two companies, and where they are situated in today's market.
BTW Hirotaka KAWAI uses his real last-name; I wonder if Christian's last-name is really Bluthner?[/b]
Kawai makes a high end and an entry level, That is good business. I don't understand why you criticize the Blüthner family for offering an affordable alternative to the public.

 Quote:
Originally posted by M&B:

B) The fact that you are here on behalf of Bluthner proves my point. I’ve never seen any Fazioli or Steingraeber sales representative trying to clean up their name here at PW.
Do you know why ? Because they have nothing to clean up. Nor Sauter which by the way I think this is one of the lines your friend Mr. Kassman. is representing. (great pianos too)[/b]
This smacks of bitterness and is regrettable coming from a representative of such esteemed lines. Can we find a more respectful way to address your issues?

 Quote:
Originally posted by M&B:

C) Since you brought up the name of Mr. Kassman. If I remember well a few moths ago YOU will not recognize him as Bluthner dealer. Today he still claims to be a Bluthner dealer; and all he has is one Bluthner on the floor.
Is this all it takes to be a Bluthner dealer? One piano.
Do you think Steinway will let anybody buy one piano, then allow them to declare their store Steinway dealers? The answer is NO.
This shows how unprofessionally Bluthner is running business; and how much they care about the prestige of the company.[/b]
Mr. Kassman is now an official Blüthner dealer as I have stated on this forum before. It is not his fault that we cannot make our instruments fast enough.

 Quote:
Originally posted by M&B:

D) If Bluthner has decided to make lower priced pianos ( cheaper over priced stuff). The smart thing to do is not to associate the cheap pianos with Bluthner. Alex! There are excellent pianist who has never heard of the name Bluthner. What is making you guys think that consumers interested in lower priced pianos will get excited over a Korean made piano designed by Bluthner? (This is where Norbert make a lot of sense. He is right . You can’t compete in that market with this business model)
BTW Bluthner should have a sales rep dedicated to the cheaper stuff, this way Bluthner’s sales representative (you) won’t have to get involved into this mess of who makes what and where.[/b]
The Blüthner legacy stands on it's own and it's pretty wonderful my friend. Blüthner is but one voice in a choir of wonderful piano makers today. It is true not everyone knows about us but that doesn't mean we have failed, it only means we have yet to be discovered.

 Quote:
Originally posted by M&B:

E) I’m a dealer but not that dealer. But since you opened a can of worms, I’ll take up on it.[/b]
Can you understand it is difficult for me to take your criticism seriously when you choose to hide behind an alias. I invite you to publish your contributions under your real name with a link to your store. That way we all know who you are and the consumer can decide if your style is a match for them.

You know my real name, where my store is and everyone can hold me accountable for my contributions, I am comfortable with that, please do the same.

 Quote:
Originally posted by M&B:

Dear Alex I don’t have any intention of insulting anybody. It is also understandable that you are not responsible for the good or poor management of Bluthner. [/b]
I am a blessed person my friend and I suspect you are too. I would love to help you or anyone else by offering my experience and expertise here on Frank's wonderful forum. But I think we can accomplish much more by remaining civil to each other.

Good health and good business!
_________________________


Blüthner USA, LLC

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