Are Honda and Yamaha teaming up? Oh no! Pigs must be flying and the underworld must have frozen over because the greatest rivalry in all of motorcycling has ended… Or at least it has in Japan.
Team-Up of the Century: Honda and Yamaha?
Okay, so maybe this team-up isn’t the end of the world, but it is at least a little startling. During the golden age of the motorcycle industry—the 1980s through the 1990s—these two rival companies shared no love for each other. Based on sales, Honda was the number one manufacturer on the market and Yamaha hotly contested that position. The two companies did everything they could to grab market share from the other, and the scooter section of the industry was one of their prized battlefields.
In 1995, these companies sold a whopping 1.2 million motorcycles in Japan, but as time wore on, those sales dropped. Now the number is closer to 373,000 thanks to an aging population and young people who aren’t as eager to own a vehicle as previous generations were. This includes the scooter, which Yamaha has historically produced in Taiwan and then shipped back to Japan. Well, that’s coming to an end.
To save money, Yamaha has worked out a deal with Honda that would see it’s 50cc scooters built in Honda’s south Japan factory. Each company is still going to sell its scooters separately but due to the shrinking market, they are going to work together to streamline costs. So what does this unholy union mean for us here in the states?
It means… not a whole lot. As we said, this is a strategy to save costs and it only applies to scooter models being sold in Japan. However, this alliance has opened up the possibility of collaboration between these two top motorcycle marks. The companies have announced that they will be working together to update their Japanese delivery scooters, and they aren’t ruling out a collaboration on the electric scooter front either. What would happen if they decided to make a full blown motorcycle together?
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