Japan’s automaker giant Honda Motor Co. has targeted to double its made-in-Vietnam bike exports this year in an ambitious plan to become the biggest market share holder for motorbikes in more Asian countries, a Japanese business magazine reported Friday.
Honda Motor will export 100,000 motorbikes manufactured in Vietnam in 2015 as the company is fortifying its presence in Myanmar, Laos and other developing Southeast Asian countries, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
The Tokyo-based automaker is currently the marker leader in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. The company also has plans to boost demand to replace their motorbikes among Vietnamese consumers by introducing higher-end models, Nikkei Asian Review reported.
Honda’s made-in-Vietnam 50cc scooters are being exported to Japan, whereas those with 100cc and larger engines are shipped to Europe and other places. Honda exported some 40,000 bikes from Vietnam in 2014.
In November 2014, Honda Vietnam inaugurated its third motorcycle production plant in the Southeast Asian country in the northern province of Ha Nam, some 40km from Hanoi.
The US$120 million facility has an annual production capacity of 500,000 units, Honda Vietnam said in a press release.
The total production capacity of Honda in Vietnam is 2 million units per year, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
Honda accounts for 70 percent of the total two-wheeler market share in unit sales in Vietnam, making mostly scooters with 50cc to 110cc engines, the Japanese magazine said.
A Honda Vietnam representative told local media in mid-January that Honda Motor was weighing the possibility of relocating part of its motorcycle production in Vietnam back home as Japan’s domestic manufacturing costs have fallen over the weak yen.
Details for the plan, however, could not be disclosed immediately, according to the source.
It was reported earlier this year that the production lines will be transferred back to Japan to meet domestic demand.
Honda’s annual motorbike sales in the Japanese market are around 200,000 units, half of which are those with under 50cc engines.
With production costs in Japan soaring, the company previously had to move part of its production to Vietnam to save costs.
But it is now costlier to import made-in-Vietnam motorbikes than make them domestically, and Honda is thus likely to reverse its decision