Piaggio’s purchase of Aprilia could make the Italian manufacturer famed for its Vespa brand the fourth largest powersports manufacturer in the world behind Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. A part of Piaggio President Roberto Colaninno's plan for company expansion involves building business in Asia.
However, while Colaninno says expansion of production and sales in Asia could give his firm a leg up in the global market, the Japanese also have found the fruits of low-cost foreign ventures. Most notably, by expanding exports from their production bases in China as part of a common strategy to take advantage of the low manufacturing costs there and compete directly with their Chinese counterparts, who are aggressively selling low-priced bikes in Asia as well as Central and South America.
Honda Motor Co. already exports roughly 170,000 motorcycles each year from China, including those shipped to Japan, Turkey and Central and South America. According to a recent report by news service Asia Pulse Pte Ltd., Honda plans to nearly double that figure to around 300,000 units a year between now and 2007.
The second largest powersports manufacturer in the world, Yamaha Motor Co. recently began exporting 125cc motorcycles to Turkey from its joint venture in Chongqing, China. In addition to the 10,000 vehicles that it plans to ship annually to Turkey, the firm is considering making a model that meets stricter emission controls and can be exported to European Union nations starting in or after 2005.
Suzuki Motor Corp. has shipped motorcycles from China primarily to such places as Mexico and Brazil. Most recently, the company redesigned a 125cc motorcycle originally intended for the Chinese market and started producing it at a partner plant in Jiangmen, China, for export to Indonesia, according to Asia Pulse.
Copyright 2004 Powersports Business