Honda doing well in Asia


It’s the sub-200cc machines sold in developing countries that are Honda’s meat and potatoes.

Motorcycle sales numbers in developed countries continue to decline, but does that even matter to the major manufacturer?


Consider the 2010 sales numbers Honda just released. Sales for North America, Japan, and Europe are on a downward trend; as an example, Honda sold over 210,000 motorcycles in North America in 2009, and only 192,000 motorcycles in 2010. By comparison, consider that Honda sold 633,000 bikes in North America in 2005. That, folks, is a drop in sales.

With numbers like that, you’d think Honda would be concerned, but that’s just not the case. While North Americans may be staying out of dealerships, Asians are buying motorcycles as fast as they can.

In fact, despite the industry’s decline in the West, Honda still set records in global production and global sales in 2010, as sales to Asia and Oceania rose to well over 14 million, up from 2009’s sales of 11,702,000. Big Red did see a minor one per cent drop in sales in China, but also made an 18 per cent gain in sales in South America. Overall, Honda’s overseas sales rose to 17,921,000 in 2010, up from 14,657,000 in 2009.


  1. To compare Asians buying motorcycles to Canadians or North Americans for that matter is quite silly in my opinion. It just doesn’t compare in anything except the 2 wheel rule. It’s not in the same league, not even close. the fact that Honda does well in Asia, means nothing to Honda Canada or US.

  2. last summer i bought a yamaha xt 250. what i really wanted was 399 cc air cooled two valve head with tappets for easy of maintains and just under 400 cc for cheap insurance and hopefully it would be 300lb or less and a kick start for backup. sorry not in canada, but why not here? i am sure i don,t know.

  3. Smitty, I think the breakdown is closer to 20/80 commuter/recreational in North America and 80/20 in Europe – probably 90/10 in Asia (but changing fast). If Asians had the disposible income and infrasturcture that we in NA do, then they would all be in cars too. They ride scooters out of necessity. When (and not if) gas hits $3 litre and parking gets more expensive, more people will be riding scooters and motorcycles in Canada. A real incentive would be to allow scooter parking on sidewalks as they do in Toronto.

    By the way, a 200 cc scooter would be perfect for the majority of urban commuting with short streaches on highways – the traffic is only moving at walking speed anyway! 🙂

  4. Some small displacement bikes like CBR125R, CRF230L are already here (not to mention BWs 125, Vino 125, Quannon 150, Venox 250, Konker SM200), and some more are coming this year (CBR250R, TU250X, Sachs Madass 125). The problem is the $2000 bike in Asia costs in Canada at least $3499 + PDI + tax (if not 7-8K like WR250X or TE 250). At those prices are they going to sell enough to make profit in the long run? How many (except the Ninja 250 and the 2011 models of course) did we saw on the streets, yet?

  5. The Bike in the pic is the venerable Honda Titan 150 … we have a handfull of these in our fleet at our local Gearing Up Motorcycle Training Program … several years ago Transport Canada allowed the Canada Safety Council to import them from Brazil with the stipulation that they never see road-use and upon retirement they be destroyed. Too bad … the Titan is very comfortable and easy to Ride and would make an ideal commuter Bike.

  6. Lets keep these sales numbers in perspective. All those other countries use bikes for their major form of transportation, while 99% of NA owners use them for recreation.

    I’d like to see the asian numbers broken down to recreation/non-recreation.

  7. I think they might sell in urban areas, but most of Canada, and North America for that matter, is pretty spread out. A 200cc scooter isn’t going to be a good choice for commuting 50-60kms per day down the hiway. It would be nice to have more choices in the 400-750cc size ranges, but they seem to cater to the bigger is better…you can’t blame them for catering to the same clients that had GM, Ford and Chrysler (not that Nissan & Toyota didn’t join in) building the big SUV’s that plug the streets…the hard part about getting people to see the light, is that a big bike still does as good on fuel as a Honda Civic…so that will be a hard sell, since they are toys here and not primary transport…guys will always seek out the biggest, fastest, or flashiest bike that they can afford…that keeping up with the Jones’s thing…

    I think the market for a 200cc scoot, is the same market at the Hybrid and Electric cars…not that big in the scheme of things…


  8. My wife and I spent Christmas in Vietnam. In Hanoi and Saigon the streets are FULL of small bikes. A guide said there are 30 million people and about 9 million motorbikes, and growing. The most expensive ones are right around $2000.00. They are mostly larger wheeled step thru types. Not many chinese ones, mostly Honda and Yamaha.
    I also wondered why they don’t bring that type here. 200cc large wheel step thru might sell.

  9. So explain to me again why Honda (and the other Japanese makers) are so slow to acknowledge that there might be a market in North America for these ‘meat and potatoes’ machines ???

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