August 28 2006.
Japanese domestic sales of motorcycles inched up 0.2% on the year to 706,242 machines in 2005, the first year-on-year gain in three years. The slight increase stemmed from sales growth at Suzuki Motor Corp. of motorcycles in the 51-125cc range, which make up about 10% of all sales.
Market leader Honda Motor Co. saw its market share decline 3.2 percentage points to 52.3%. It enjoyed strong sales in its Forza series of large scooters, which were fully remodeled in 2004, but it did not release any notable new models.
Second-ranked Yamaha Motor Co. continued to enjoy robust sales of its Maxam large scooters, rolled out in April 2005. By making the scooter lower to the ground, the company hoped to appeal to younger people who often ride double. But sales of its mainstay 50cc-class models fell, pushing its share down by 0.8 point to 23.6%.
In contrast, third-ranked Suzuki boosted its share 4 points to 21.3%. The gain was driven by the Address V125 model, rolled out in February 2005. It is the first 125cc motorcycle to feature an electronically controlled fuel injection system. The system has significantly improved the model's fuel efficiency and engine start-up capability.
Japanese Motorcycle Sales 2005
Rank     Company      Share      Change
1           Honda           52.3        -3.2
2           Yamaha         23.6        -0.8
3           Suzuki           21.3         4.0
4           Kawasaki        2.8         0.0
Domestic sales: 706,242 units (up 0.2%)
Source: Nikkei