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Metric bike exports continue rise in April

Exports from half of Japan’s Big Four increased in April 2012, with Honda seeing an increase of 38 percent and Yamaha doubling compared to 2011, despite drops in exports from Suzuki and Kawasaki. The largest segment, bikes over 250cc, jumped 28.2 percent or 6,800 units in April compared to 2011, according to JAMA data released Thursday.

Exports to Europe and the U.S. were both up over 2011 as well, with the EU importing 27.2 percent more in April 2012 and the U.S. importing 31.3 percent more.

The 126-250cc bike segment was the only part of the export market to drop in April, down 2,000 units or 40.6 percent for the month compared to 2011. All other segments saw a significant increase in exports compared to 2011.

This was the sixth straight month of increased exports for the Japanese OEMs.

While exports were up, production for bikes over 50cc were down slightly, about 6.7 percent, in April compared to last year. Production of 51-250cc bikes were up, but production of 250cc and greater motorcycles dropped 4,100 units, down 14.5 percent compared to 2011.

Improved production in 50cc bikes managed to grow production 1.2 percent across all classes, making it the fifth straight month of production increases for the Big Four.

Similar to exports, lower production for Suzuki and Kawasaki dragged down increased production for Honda and Yamaha. Honda increased 1.7 percent to almost 15,000 units and Yamaha jumped 36.9 percent to 13,600 units, but Suzuki and Kawasaki were down double digits, 19 and 14.6 percent respectively.

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