Honda bullish on motorbike market
AP Honda Co, the Thailand distributor of Honda motorbikes, celebrated its 26th consecutive year as the market leader in the country after releasing its sales figures for 2014.
These figures showed sales totaling 1.36 million units, and although this represented a drop of nine percent from 2013, AP Honda Co’s market share actually jumped to 79 percent from 74 percent, thereby cementing its place as the market leader.
In 2014, motorbike sales in Thailand dropped by 15 percent to 1.7 million units, marking a second successive year of decline in numbers. Motorbike sales peaked at 2.13 million in 2012, with sales surpassing the two million mark for the first time the previous year when they reached 2.01 million. In 2013, sales declined to slightly over two million units.
Although the numbers have declined, they are considered to be on a par with levels in developed nations such as Taiwan and Japan, for example. A return to selling two million or more units annually is not expected since the room for market growth is becoming limited.
In Taiwan, one in every 2.1 people has a motorbike, whereas as of 2013 Thailand’s rate equated to one motorbike for every 2.6 persons, compared to one in three the previous year. While the ratio may come close to reaching a similarity with Taiwan, the reality is that many consumers are also looking to move into the motor car market, upgrading from two to four wheels, and this has a minimal but nonetheless definite impact on motorbike sales levels.
The management of AP Honda Co have noted the bounce in consumer confidence in Thailand in the general economy, suggesting an overall recovery and certainly December 2014 saw that confidence reach an 18-month high. A rise in consumer confidence obviously augurs well for motorbike and general vehicle sales as part of an overall resurging economic position.
One of the main gains for AP Honda Co sales, and indeed sales across the entire motorbike market, is in the bigger bikes, models with engines above 400cc. This segment of the market has witnessed substantial growth in recent times with 15,960 big bikes being sold in Thailand in 2014. That represented a 22 percent increase over the year before.
AP Honda Co believes the big bike market will grow a further 20 percent this year and reach around 19,000 units. In 2014, AP Honda Co’s share of big bike sales was 5,498 units, which equates to 34 percent of market share. AP Honda hopes to grow that number to 6,600 big bikes this year and thereby maintain that one-third of market share.