Motorcycle Industry News
Each month, the Japan Automobile Manufacturer’s Association releases information about domestic motorcycle sales, production and exports from the Big Four (Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki) and others.
But JAMA also projects the future of motorcycle demand in Japan. Following is the report, which makes for a very interesting read to those who follow news in the motorcycle industry.
Total Demand for Motorcycles
Japan’s domestic motorcycle market continues to struggle with a protracted slump, attributable not only to structural factors but also to higher vehicle prices stemming from mandatory compliance with new emissions regulations enforced in 2007 and the resulting smaller range of available models. Nevertheless, motorcycle sales in Japan in 2011 surged 5.1% from 2010 to 445,000 units, marking the first overall increase in six years, with year-on-year gains posted in both the Class-1 motor-driven cycle and mini-sized motorcycle categories.
Despite the growth registered in 2011, owing in part to manufacturers’ efforts to market products closely tailored to consumer needs, total demand in 2012 is projected at 433,000 units, down 2.7% from 2011. The decline will likely be seen in the Class-1 motor-driven cycle segment, while demand in the Class-2 motor-driven cycle and mini- and small-sized motorcycle categories is expected to remain firm.
Class-1 Motor-Driven Cycles (50cc & under)
Demand in this category in 2011 stood at 257,000 units, a gain of 11.2% over the previous year, attributable not only to the introduction of new models but also to consumers’ focus on economy and energy conservation, driven by Japan’s ongoing economic doldrums and the impact of the March 11 earthquake, among other factors.
The impact of new models in the marketplace is expected to run its course in 2012, resulting in a projected demand in this category of 236,000 units, a decrease of 8.2% from 2011.
Class-2 Motor-Driven Cycles (51cc-125cc)
In 2011 demand for Class-2 motor-driven cycles totalled 96,000 units, dipping 0.7% from the previous year, attributable to a decline in the impact of new models introduced in 2010.
On the other hand, new models introduced in 2011 should help raise sales in this category to 103,000 units in 2012, up 7.6% from the previous year.
Mini-Sized Motorcycles (126cc-250cc)
Mini-sized motorcycle sales in 2011 reached 39,000 units, rising 3.3% from 2010. This growth is attributable to favorable consumer response to sports-type models, even as the demand for scooters in urban areas continues to slide.
In 2012 the appeal of sports-type models should continue to drive demand in this segment, resulting in projected sales of 40,000 units, a gain of 2.9% over 2011.
Small-Sized Motorcycles (over 250cc)
Sales of small-sized motorcycles in 2011 finished at 53,000 units, down 8.2% from the previous year. The decline in this segment in particular reflected consumer response to the continued sluggishness of the domestic economy, affecting employment and personal incomes, and the impact of the March 11 disaster.
An increase in the number of small-sized motorcycles on the market in 2012 should help boost demand in this category to 54,000 units, a 1.2% rise from 2011.