|Hard work and a dream. That's what established American Kawasaki Motorcycle Corp. way back in March of 1966. The first headquarters, an old meat warehouse in Chicago, was a humble beginning for the factory team sent to open the U.S. market.
They started with practically nothing - no customers, no distributors and no image. But they had something more important - a strong desire to succeed and a promise from the factory to supply the best products.
The fledgling entrepreneurs negotiated with several private companies around the United States to distribute the first bikes, which were small two strokes sold under the brand name of Omega. But U.S. riders wanted more excitement, so the factory quickly responded with a pair of potent rotary valve twins called the Samurai and Avenger. Here was the first indication that Kawasaki would become a company specializing in high-performance fun.
These bikes were sold under the Kawasaki name -- and there was a second operation, Eastern Kawasaki Motorcycle Corp., to handle east coast distribution. In 1968, this firm and the original Chicago company merged to form Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) in Southern California.
In 1969, the incredible Mach III 500cc two-stroke triple launched Kawasaki's performance image around the world. By the time of the legendary four cylinder 900cc Z1 in 1973, Kawasaki was a major power in the motorcycle industry, and KMC was building its own unified distribution network to offer dealers and customers better service.
Diversification came early when Kawasaki pioneered the personal watercraft business in 1973. Today our JET SKI® watercraft brand is a leader in an exploding market. The 1980's saw further expansion into ATVs and Side x Side vehicles.
Today, KMC's annual revenue tops 1.6 billion dollars. There are approximately 480 employees and more than 1,500 dealers. Our bestselling Ninja® sportbikes, classic Vulcan™ cruisers, rugged ATV and Mule™ Side x Side vehicles and exclusive JET SKI® watercraft form the foundation of our Good Times Company image.
Besides the headquarters building in Irvine, California, KMC has regional sales offices and/or distribution centers in Piscataway, New Jersey; Atlanta, Georgia; Fort Worth, Texas, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. of Lincoln, Nebraska operates a small engine manufacturing plant in Maryville, Missouri.