TOKYO: Japanese auto majors Honda Motor Co and Yamaha Motor Co today said they have begun discussion towards a possible alliance in the Japanese market for small scooters as bike makers face rising challenges of compliance with safety and emission regulations.
As part of the planned collaboration, before the end of 2018, Honda will begin supplying 50 cc scooter models to Yamaha as an OEM that are developed based on its TACT and Giorno 50 cc scooter models which are currently sold in Japan.
Yamaha will sell these as corresponding models of the Yamaha JOG and Vino, the two companies said in a joint statement.
Moreover, the two firms will look into the feasibility of the joint development and OEM supply from Honda to Yamaha of a next-generation version of the current Honda BENLY and Yamaha GEAR 50 cc business scooter models.
The collaboration will also cover popularisation of electric motorcycles in the Class-1 category, which are vehicles equipped with two or more wheels and an engine with total displacement of 50 cc or less or an electric motor with rated output of 0.60 kW or less.
Honda Motor Co Operating Officer and Director Shinji Aoyama said: "Through this collaboration with Yamaha, we will continue to offer Class-1 category products that go beyond the expectations of our customers."
He further said: "...we will devote all of our efforts to revitalise the motorcycle market in Japan and establish a market environment that enables the popularisation of electric motorcycles at the earliest possible timing."
Yamaha Motor Co Managing Executive Officer and Director Katsuaki Watanabe said the collaborative activities, which will start with an OEM alliance, will go beyond the framework of a mere product supply alliance and carve out a future motorcycle culture in Japan.
The two companies said that as a result of the diversification of the types of short-range transportation, including power-assisted bicycles and mini-vehicles, the market for the Class-1 category vehicles in Japan has been shrinking in recent years.
"Moreover, motorcycle manufacturers are facing various challenges, including compliance with safety standards and emission regulations that will become more stringent in future years, as well as the pursuit of product electrification," the statement added.
"Under such circumstances, Honda and Yamaha arrived at a common understanding that co-operation is necessary to address these challenges for the future and based on this understanding, the two companies will strive to realise collaboration in the Japanese market in the Class-1 category," they added.