Forget Euro4 regulations; the Euro5 regs that are coming will mean the end of several long-running Japanese flagship models, says the Nikkei Asian Review.
We’ve already reported the decline of 650 cc thumpers, due to emissions regs. Harley-Davidson has moved to giving many of its models liquid-cooled engines. Then, at last fall’s EICMA show, we saw manufacturers scrambling to update machines, bringing them up to Euro4 standards.
But now, the Nikkei Asian Review says a few flagship models are due for the chopping block – mostly machines that have been in the lineup for a long time. For instance, the Kawasaki W800 (currently available in Euro markets, not sold in Canada since it was a W650). While the parallel twin fits into the current trend towards retro bikes, and is a piece of Kawasaki’s history (with roots going all the way back to 1965’s W1), heritage doesn’t trump emissions regulations. Supposedly, it’s on the way out.
The report also lists a few Yamaha machines about to be canceled, including the V-Max – a staple of Yamaha’s lineup since the 1980s. Supposedly, V-Max production will end this summer, along with the XJR1300 naked bike (also a long-running model in Europe).
Finally, the article also claims Honda is working on an electric motorcycle, to debut in 2018. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard these hints, and if it’s true, this could be the biggest game-changer of all.
The article doesn’t cite any sources for the information, so it’s possible this is all just hearsay. But even so, we’ve heard this gossip about impending cancellations a couple times now, so either there’s a big game of Telephone going on, or it’s factual.
Or, maybe there’s a third option. Maybe we’ll see the models end up like Japan’s current run of big-bore thumpers, built only for a limited number of countries, hanging around in showrooms for the faithful buyers until they’re no longer legally able to be sold, extracting every possible profit from development costs from decades ago.