Young People Returning to Motorcycles in Japan
Tokyo: The motorcycle market in Japan is showing signs of pulling out of the prolonged downfall as sporty, easy-to-manoeuvre machines, with an engine displacement of 250 cc, are attracting young people including women.
Sales of new 125cc and bigger motorcycles totalled some 106,000 units in 2012, up 14.9 per cent in the first year-on-year increase in seven years, according to the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association. In particular, motorbikes with displacements of up to 250 cc, which have low maintenance costs as they are not subjected to regular mandatory safety inspections, logged a 16.5 per cent sales increase to 45,300 units.
Sales in the category jumped 52.2 per cent in the first four months of this year from the same period last year. Fuel-efficiency, economy and ease of ride such as a light and easy to handle bike around town are the key factors. The sales growth for motorcycles has been led by Honda Motor Co., JapanĘs biggest motorcycle maker, as it has attracted people, especially those in their 20s, to its lineup of machines such as the CBR250R.
“Sales are more than expected and women form a large portion of buyers,” said Masaharu Iuchi, President of Honda Motor Cycle Japan Co. Honda machines are attracting young riders because of their designs and affordable prices. Equipped with a fairing and a windscreen, for example, the CBR250R looks like a racer. Honda produces the CBR250R in Thailand to make it affordable for global sales for a sport-type motorbike.
ItĘs a good sign from such a mature motorcycle market as Japan has always be over the last decades. Will it be a global trend? The decline of the economy in many countries could help. Also, the strong demand for 250 cc motorcycles among young people is a good chance to lure them back to motorbikes. ‘hat will be encouraging as the average biker age is still increasing, at least in the western world.