February 6th 2005. Sales by the four major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers at home and abroad are expected to total 19.95 million units in 2005, up 18%, boosting their combined world market share by 6 percentage points to about 58%.

The combined global sales of Honda Motor Co., Yamaha Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. rose 27% to 16.86 million units in 2004.

Growing sales in China, India and Indonesia, the world's three most promising motorcycle markets, are likely to be the driving force behind the expected expansion.

Industry leader Honda aims to increase global sales of motorcycles by 16% to 12.2 million units in 2005 and overseas sales by 17% to 11.81 million units. This will boost Honda's overseas sales ratio to its total global sales to 97%. The company is stepping up production in Asia with its plan for new plants in China and Indonesia in 2005.

Yamaha will double production capacity in Indonesia through 2007. The company projects that its sales in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam will grow 30% to 1.67 million units in 2005.

Suzuki withdrew from the production and sales of motorcycles in India in 2001, plans an annual production output of about 500,000 units following this year's re-entrance into the market.

In Japan, Honda expects sales to remain flat, and Yamaha projects a slight decline. The combined domestic sales of the four motorcycle manufacturers is likely to account for less than 4% of the total global sales.

Source: The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Feb 5th 2005.