I think the difference in the hawk, Suzuki 400 bandit ,fzr400, rz350, Honda ascot etc etc .Is they only had a couple year run in the US. The versys has been for sale since 2008 in the states.
Previous bikes have included a hawk, the Ascots (both a VT and a FT), and even a Yamaha Vision (remember those? 550cc water-cooled V-Twin, shaft drive, monoshock...) and presently a Versys.... I'm thinking that says something about me, though I am not exactly sure what...?
The difference between those bikes and the Versys is, I think, two things. As mentioned, all those "other" bikes had, at the longest, a 2 year production run in the states, the V is going on it's 6th year in the states and I believe its 7th or 8th worldwide...that's a pretty long run. And secondly, all those "other" bikes were kind of in the "odd-ball segment" of the market at their times, whereas the Versys is in, arguably, the hottest segment of the current market (say, "adventure themed" bikes), with EVERY big manufacturer having a bike to "fit that bill." The Versys "styling" is, evidently, very popular currently.
I think the (now discontinued in the states?) Kawasaki ER6n more represented a "modern Hawk" in many ways...