Honda Releases Production, Sales Forecast

Honda forecasts the production of 354,000 motorcycle and ATVs in Japan for the year ending Dec. 31, down 26.5 percent from 482,000 units produced in 2007. However, production at the OEM’s overseas facilities is expected to reach 15.04 million units, up from 13.17 million units in 2007.

The decline in production in Japan relates to decreased sales of large displacement machines in mature markets such as the United States and Europe, while production growth at the company’s overseas facilities stems from increased sales of smaller displacement machines in burgeoning countries in Asia and South America.

Honda forecasts worldwide sales of 15.12 million motorcycles and ATVs for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, up 12 percent from sales in 2007. For North America, the company forecasts sales of 402,000 units, a 14.5 percent decline from 470,000 units in 2007.

Honda announced earlier this year that it plans to discontinue production of motorcycles in North America in spring 2009. The OEM says all motorcycle production from the Marysville motorcycle plant and the Hamamatsu factory in Japan will be consolidated at a newly constructed motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, Japan.

The move is yet another step in a strategy that has been unfolding since 1998, when the company announced its "2010 Vision" — a three-part business plan to serve as a framework for shaping the OEM's global operations by 2010.

— Submitted by Guido Ebert