Japanese bike production, exports tumble in November

Exports from Japan's big four motorcycle manufacturers dropped in November following several months of decreased production, according to the latest report from the Japanese automotive group.

The latest report from JAMA showed production year-over-year since April for bikes over 250cc dropping each month and down 22 percent in November specifically. Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda were all down 25 percent or more during the month, with Suzuki posting the sole gain, up 35 percent over the previous year. The smaller classes were all affected as well, with under 50cc production dropping 15 percent, 51-125cc down 54 percent and 126-250cc production down 37 percent in November year-over-year.

Exports, which were down across the board in October, continued to lose in November. About 5,100 fewer units more than 250cc were shipped in November, a decline of 14.3 percent compared to the same period in 2011. 50cc and under exports were down 25.7 percent, 51-125cc exports were down 23.8 percent and the 126-250cc class was down by 44.5 percent year-over-year. Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda all posted losses similarly to production, while Suzuki was up 32.3 percent year-over-year.

Exports to North America followed suit and were down, slipping by 6.2 percent across the continent and 6.8 percent in the U.S.

JAMA Production - November 2012

Falling indicators

Monthly indicators have been falling around the U.S. over concerns about tax hikes and spending cuts that could go into effect Jan. 1, otherwise known as the "fiscal cliff," including consumer confidence and consumer sentiment.

Consumer confidence fell 6 points today, dropping to a four month low, according to The Conference Board. However, Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators, said that while consumers are worried in the near-term, they are more positive about the labor market and business conditions.

"The sudden turnaround in expectations was most likely caused by uncertainty surrounding the oncoming fiscal cliff," Franco said in a release. "A similar decline in expectations was experienced in August of 2011 during the debt ceiling discussions."

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index also dropped in December, plunging 9 points to 72.9, slightly above the numbers reported in June 2012.

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