Honda, Yamaha eye steep growth of powerful motorbikes in Thai market

BANGKOK, NNA - Japanese motorcycle makers Honda Motor Co. and Yamaha Motor Co. are aiming for a more than 20 percent rise in sales of powerful bikes in Thailand this year against the backdrop of a better economic picture and higher prices of farm products.

Honda's Thai arm, A.P. Honda Co. expects to sell 11,000 such motorbikes in the country this year, while Yamaha's Thai unit, Thai Yamaha Motor Co., predicts sales of 2,700 powerful motorcycles in 2017.

Large models of over 400 cc in engine displacement are likely to grow continuously, with their total sales this year expected to be 23,000 to 24,000 units in Thailand, said Suchart Arunseangroj, vice president of A.P. Honda.

He said Thailand's motorcycle market in the first quarter of this year will be better than a year before due to political stability and rising prices of agricultural products, particularly rubber prices in the country's southern and northeastern regions.

The Federation of Thai Industries has reported that 297,749 motorcycles were sold domestically in the first two months of this year, showing a slight rise of 1.9 percent.

The Honda executive forecast that domestic sales of new motorcycles overall will be around 1.75 million to 1.78 million units this year, up 2 to 3 percent from 2016, while predicting that Honda, the overwhelming market leader, will sell 1.38 million on its own, up slightly from 1.37 million last year.

Honda is hoping to sell 11,000 Japanese-built powerful motorcycles this year for an increase of more than 20 percent over last year, counting on recovery in economic activity and consumer spending.

Thai Yamaha Motor, meanwhile, also predicted that a total of 1.75 million new motorcycles will be sold in the country this year.

The company aims to sell 285,000 motorcycles in 2017, up 16 percent from last year, according to its chief operating officer, Praphan Phornthanavarsit.

Sales of new big bikes grew 23 percent from January to February and are expected to reach 28,000 units in the whole year, up 22 percent from 2016, according to Yamaha's projections.

Yamaha expects its own sales of large models at 2,700 units this year, up 29 percent.

Praphan said sales of sport motorcycles have particularly grown in the Thai market. "Their proportion in the total large model segment has dramatically increased to 27 percent from 5-8 percent a few years ago." (NNA/Kyodo)