Japan’s aging population rekindles romance with bicycles. here’s why
Brands like Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki have reported an increase in sales, and experts point to the possibility of long waiting times for cars as the reason for the shift in preference.
Japan has mostly turned its back on two-wheelers and is increasingly opting for compact and micro-mini cars. Sales of scooters and bicycles have been rather sluggish despite some well-known domestic brands finding much favor in overseas markets. But now brands like Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda are seeing increased demand for their two-wheeled options in the domestic market, perhaps bolstered by a number of factors.
According to a report by Bloomberg, sales of two-wheelers in Japan have been on the rise lately and this has been a major boost for brands that had otherwise expected the country’s aging population to continue to shun their scooters. and motorcycles. . In particular, sales of motorcycles above the 251cc segment saw an impressive increase to 51,035 sold in the first six months of this year, according to data released by the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association.
Motorcycle sales reached record highs in Japan in the 1980s, but have since steadily declined as families opted for smaller cars instead. The country’s aging population is also a big factor in choosing cars over bikes. But that is seeing a slight change now, with Honda remaining the No. 1 player among two-wheeler manufacturers, followed by Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. In fact, with the exception of Yamaha, all manufacturers saw sales increase in the first six months of 2022.
It is believed that a number of factors are at play for the revival of the two-wheeler sorts in Japan.
Long waiting times for cars:
Semiconductor shortages have led to production and supply issues for markets around the world, with automakers simply unable to meet demand that has surged since the Covid-19-stricken 2020s and 2021s. Waiting period for the most popular car models in many markets, including Japan, is at least a month or two.
These rather long waiting times would have caused many Japanese to focus on two-wheelers instead. Those with an urgent need to get around have viewed the performance bike as quick yet nimble options for navigating traffic conditions while costing about the same as a mid-range four-wheeler.
Higher disposable income:
Months of travel restrictions have led to a hoard of funds with a majority of Japanese families and studies in the country show many are choosing to use the cash to get home with a new bike. The need to get outside after being cooped up in houses has fueled the desire for scooters and motorcycles, and it’s no longer necessarily defined by the age factor.
Date of first publication: Jul 07, 2022, 09:45 IST