TOKYO (majirox news) – Honda Motor Co., Ltd. plans to increase motorcycle production by more than 20%. But it’s not in Japan. It will all be in Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and India where sales continue to grow.
Current Honda motorcycle production worldwide, including some made in partnership with other firms overseas, is nearly 18 million motorcycles a year. Overseas production increases will come at the expense of Japan, where Honda plans to shut down some motorcycle manufacturing, except for large size models and one type of small model, the Super Cub. Sales in Japan, which are 190,000 bikes a year, account for only a tiny bit more than 1% of Honda’s sales worldwide.
“Because of the market increases overseas, we will raise our motorcycle worldwide production by 2.7 million by the end of 2011,” said Tomohiro Okada, a spokesman for Honda. “This will include Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Brazil.
In addition, Honda is also considering shifting the smaller models from Japan to overseas, except for the Super Cub. “The Super Cub is not only for institutional demand (such as the post office), but also very popular for commuter use by young people as well,” Okada told Majirox News.
Honda imports motorcycles from Thailand and China, but not Taiwan, where they also have a factory, according to Okada. “But our Kumamoto factory (Japan) is necessary as a mother factory for producing from 50cc to 1800cc motorcycles. We haven’t announced the future volume, yet.”
Joe Tashiro, 29, librarian and motorcycle buff in Tokyo, is not happy about it.
“I appreciate that the price will be lower and more affordable,” he says. “But the quality will not be as good. When I bought some valve stem parts, the one stamped ‘Made in Thailand’ was wobbly and its edge was not as smooth as the Japanese ones. I much prefer to have ‘Made in Japan.’”
It looks like the days of Japan as a motorcycle manufactures and exporter are rapidly drawing to a close.