By: Anonymous: Leather jacket ()  Friday, 31 August 2007 @ 11:39 AM ICT (Read 3956 times)  

The negative sales figures are the first since 1997. Yamaha itself saw its sales drop 16 per cent to 220,000 units, while total sales of all players reached 960,000 units. The total market for motorcycles this year is targeted at 1.6 million units.

"What is important to note is now the cake has become smaller, and manufacturers are fighting for a bigger slice," said chief operating officer Praphan Phornthanavarsit. "Yamaha's market share has remained at 23 per cent, which shows we're still very competitive. The motorcycle market is a very clear indication of the amount of money people have and shows the true situation of the economy."

Yamaha expects total sales of 400,000 units this year, down from 465,000 last year.

More than 70 per cent of Yamaha customers buy motorcycles on credit, which makes finance companies' decisions very important to motorcycle manufacturers. Praphan said it was a relief that interest rates have not gone up yet.

Other Asean markets have reported steady growth. Vietnam has shown 25-per-cent growth in the motorcycle market and Indonesia 30 per cent. Although Thailand's growth would not have been as high as its neighbors, it also would not have seen a 16-per-cent drop were it not for the political situation.

"The stronger baht has also affected us, because about 30 per cent of our production in Thailand is exported. We deal in US dollars, and so the amount of Baht we receive has decreased, but that can be offset somewhat by the increased growth in foreign markets," Praphan said.

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