September 19 2005.
Japanese motorcycle manufacturers are starting to use their production bases in China and other countries to supplement their exports to worldwide markets such as the U.S. and Europe.
Motorcycles are generally sold in the local markets where they are manufactured, but because Asian countries now have large production facilities, costs are low and quality is improving, so companies are increasingly using them as bases for exporting to industrialized and other nations.
This summer Yamaha launched the TT-R50E in the U.S.. This is a motorcycle with a 50cc engine manufactured by its Chinese unit. It plans to export 15,000 units in the year through December as it seeks to develop the U.S. market with competitively priced models.
Because Yamaha does not manufacture motorcycles of the 125cc engine class in Europe, where demand for them is growing, it plans to supply that market with Chinese-made units. Yamaha intends to boost exports of motorcycles from overseas production sites to other countries by 40% to 310,000 vehicles this fiscal year.
Kawasaki has started exporting motorcycles made by an Indian company, with which it has a technology partnership, to South America under its own brand. Its initial export target is 5,000 units as it bolsters its brand image in such countries as Brazil, where the market is expanding.
Meanwhile, Honda exported from foreign subsidiaries to other markets some 570,000 motorcycles in 2004, or about 5% of its global production.
Suzuki doubled its exports of motorcycles from China and other countries to approximately 150,000 vehicles in 2004 from the previous year. It is currently expanding exports from China to Nigeria and other African nations in addition to Central and South American countries, including Brazil, and Indonesia.

Source: The Nihon Keizai Shimbun