an interesting link on how the Tragic events in Japan will effect the bike trade


It’s surprising that the Japanese manufacturers haven’t switched assembly of their major motorcycle lines to other parts of the world where labour is cheaper than their home country.

Granted Honda build models like CG125s and CBF 125s in Brazil and India, but a Fireblade is still assembled in Japan.

I wonder if this disaster will change things as I guess opening assembly up to global locations also spreads risk.

Even ultra patriotic Harley Davidson builds bikes outside the U.S now.

Japan has the higest use of robots in manufacturing in the world and also as you are aware very high standards of manufacture. Cheap labour loses on both counts

600 Hornets are made in Italy and have been for nearly 10 years.
Harleys made outside of the US? Only in kit form in India and for the small Indian large capacity market due to restrictive import tariffs. I do not think any Americans who buy into the Harley patriotic BS would buy an Indian Harley. Though they are quite happy to buy Royal Enfields.
HD clearly state they are not going to make bikes for the US market abroad.
Not that anyone is buying them these days.

That’s true about the robot use, but robotic plants can still be built overseas and have (the still required) human personnel employed.

Look at Japanese car factories building plants in other parts of the world like Toyota.

From :

Japanese firms do 30% of their manufacturing overseas—twice as much as in the early 1990s. Toshiba’s foreign-made share has grown from 52% to 56% in the past year alone. Fuji Xerox and Yamaha Motor boast levels of 80% and 94% respectively . As the yen hits 15-year highs on a nominal basis, there is more pressure to ship operations abroad. “We want to keep domestic production,” sighed Satoshi Ozawa, Toyota’s chief financial officer, this month. “But we are quickly losing competitiveness.” The carmaker already produces 58% of its vehicles abroad.

unlike Briatain which shipped this off about 20 years ago