July 30 2008.

Kawasaki is to increase  prices of the motorcycles it sells in Japan and the U.S. to cover increased materials costs.

In a rare move, the company intends to raise prices across the board, slapping the higher materials costs onto the price tags for all products when it releases new models in 2009. The scale of the price hikes is expected to lie in the 2-4% range, or 20,000 yen to 30,000 yen.

To prevent the higher prices from dampening consumer demand, the firm will include new features, such as better fuel economy and operability, in its new models.

Steel and aluminum account for the majority of the materials Kawasaki uses to make its motorcycles, which weigh around 100-200kg. Such higher materials prices have added tens of thousands of yen to the cost of its motorbikes.

Kawasaki holds the fourth-largest share of the domestic motorcycle market. Most of its products are midsize bikes that sell from 500,000 yen to 1 million yen.

Source: The Nikkei Wednesday morning edition