March 13, 2006 – Japan’s big four seek to unify standards

The ultimate unification of global vehicle standards will be a key theme in coming years, executives from Japan’s four main motorcycle manufacturers concluded during a recent roundtable discussion focused on the outlook of the market in Japan and globally.
The executives came together by invitation of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). The four attendees were Shinji Terashita, Yamaha Motor Co. director of Motorcycle Operations, Akira Tsugihiro, Suzuki Motor Corp., senior general manager of Motorcycle/Marine & Power Products, Shinichi Morita, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. senior vice president of Consumer Products & Machinery, and Minoru Harada, senior managing director and chief operating officer for motorcycle operations, Honda.
Discussions concerning motorcycling in Japan dealt with the effects of lifting the ban on highway tandem riding, the influence automatic transmissions may have in boosting ridership, and parking issues. Regarding rising challenges for Japan’s manufacturers, attendees believe that because overseas sales now account for a larger portion of vehicle output than domestic sales, product development that targets only the Japanese market will become difficult. Instead, the preferred future approach will be “unified product development” — the development of designs suitable for most markets. The advancement of international activities that seek standard unifications will be a key theme in coming years, they said. psb

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