GMAT : Analysis of An Argument

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An Argument

37. The following appeared as part of an article in the business section of a local newspaper.

Motorcycle X has been manufactured in the United States for over 70 years. Although one foreign company has copied the motorcycle and is selling it for less, the company has failed to attract motorcycle X customers - some say because its products lacks the exceptionally loud noise made by motorcycle X. But there must be some other explanation. After all, foreign cars tend to be quieter than similar American-made cars, but they sell at least as well. Also, television advertisements for motorcycle X highlight its durability and sleek lines, not its noisiness and the ads typically have voice-overs or rock music rather than engine roar on the sound track.


Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.


The author rejects the claim that the loud engine noise of American-made Motorcycle X appeals to the manufacturer's customers and explains why they are not attracted to quieter, foreign-made imitations.

The author's rejection is based on two reasons. First, the author points out that foreign cars tend to be quieter than similar American-made cars, yet they sell just as well.

Secondly, the author claims that ads for Motorcycle X do not emphasize its engine noise. Instead, the ads highlight its durability and sleek lines and employ voice-overs of rock music rather than engine roar.

In my view, these reasons do not establish that the quieter engines of the foreign imitations fail to account for their lack of appeal.

To begin with, the first reason rests on the assumption that what automobile customers find appealing is analogous to what motorcycle customers find appealing. This assumption is weak since, although there are points of comparison between automobiles and motorcycles, there are many dissimilarities as well. For example, head room, smooth ride and quiet engines are usually desirable qualities in a car. However, head room is not a consideration for motorcycle customers. And many motorcycle riders specifically want an exciting, challenging ride, not a smooth one. The same may be true of engine noise. It is possible that motorcyclists like what loud engine noise adds to the experience of motorcycle riding.

The author's second reason is also problematic. Although the engine noise of Motorcycle X is not explicitly touted in advertisements, it does not necessarily follow that engine noise is not an important selling feature. Because Motorcycle X has been manufactured in the U.S. for over 70 years, its reputation for engine noise is probably already well known and need not be advertised. Moreover the advertisers might use rock music on Motorcycle X ad soundtracks for the specific purpose of suggesting or even simulating its loud engine noise.

In conclusion, this author has not provided convincing reasons for rejecting the claim that quieter engines make foreign-made motorcycles less popular. The author's analogy involving foreign car sales is weak and the claim about Motorcycle X advertisements misses the purpose of including rock music in the ads.

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