They do <make> a LOT of extra $ by making the best selling kite (RPM 12m) smaller and cheaper to produce but still follow the price ladder and charge full 12m price.
That is the stupidest thing I've read on this forum in a long time.
You actually think SS made the kite smaller to save money on material?!?!
I don't think its that stupid, they are stupid enough to try and save on the pumps.
If you sell plenty of something even a small saving on each unit will make a difference.
Why would the kites be priced differently if production cost was not a factor?
I'll weigh in here with some factual stuff even though I believe this to be a troll.
In the far east, the Lions Share of production cost is material, it's imported, has to be pre-booked and forecasted (hence why they don't like specifying colour). Slingshot cut their kites with shaped panels, they don't run broadseam front to back panels (Not on their performance kites, I notice they do on their new 'bucket kite') so there is considerably more material wastage than kites that don't use this method (Count the individual panels on your kite). They also do stuff like grain alignment on their segmented leading edge, again another huge material expense over one piece leading edges. So, for Slingshot the material is a huge part of the production cost and it tends to be better spec'd cloth.
Now it is true, that one of the common problems with Far East production is the practise of 'scalping' small savings on undersizing products magnified by the volume, Dakine had an issue with this with their harness lines which imported British rope a few years back, a couple of mill here and there over ten thousand pieces adds up in extra profitability.
Now on simple things like harness lines it's easily done, but on complicated builds like the pattern employed by the RPM
it would be very very difficult to scalp or shrink without some very obvious performance issues. So I doubt very much what your saying is the case either and certainly not at Slingshot the US companies direction they are after all riders like yourself why would they do that, if nothing else in this life, there is honour among riders in our world.
As to the pump issue, like you, initially for what it is, cost etc, it did seem like a paltry saving with 'stingy' overtones, but I looked in my shed the other day, I've accumulated dozens of pumps, I've even got those stupid little hand jobbies from when we used to blow up the struts individually (you lot don't know how lucky you are these days), so on balance and with their undoubted green credentials, Slingy are right to make the saving, less transport costs, you buy three kites you really only need 1 pump and if you've been around a while like me you don't even need the one.
I'd put your mind at rest chum, they are not out to 'fleece' you, if they were trying to do that they'd be spending tens of thousands of euros writing books at huge expense over how they've dominated the kitesurfing market for ten years and how they are the master kite race and invented everything, like another brand I could mention.