Forecast for Vehicle Demand in Japan in Calendar Year 2006

posted Oct 17, 2010, 5:43 AM by Loose Tube   [ updated Jul 26, 2011, 11:35 PM ]

JAMA - December 15, 2005


1. Total Demand for Motorcycles

Japan’s motorcycle market has experienced conspicuous structural changes in recent years, including declines in both the number of younger purchasers and the number of new motorcycle driver’s licenses issued. On a more positive note, a new driver’s license category has been established for automatic-transmission motorcycles, the ban on tandem riding on highways has been lifted, and other improvements in the market environment have been implemented. Against this backdrop, JAMA sees current and projected demand as follows:

  1. Total domestic sales of motorcycles in calendar 2005 are estimated at 741,000 units, up 1.0% from the previous year. Although demand for Class-1 motor-driven cycles (50cc & under) will decline from the 2004 level, sales of Class-2 motor-driven cycles (51cc-125cc), mini-sized motorcycles (126cc-250cc) and small-sized motorcycles (over 250cc) are expected to exceed the levels reached in 2004. 

  2. In 2006 the forecast is for increased demand for small-sized models compared to 2005, with sales of Class-1 motor-driven cycles and mini-sized motorcycles on a par with 2005 levels and a decline in sales in the Class-2 category. Total demand is projected at 730,000 units, down 1.5% from 2005.

2. Class-1 Motor-Driven Cycles (50cc & under)

  1. Total sales of Class-1 motor-driven cycles in 2005 should reach 472,000 units, down 5.7% from 2004. This reflects waning demand for low-priced models, resulting in flat sales of products not new to the market and, consequently, lower overall sales in this category. 

  2. In 2006 demand in this category is forecast at 471,000 units, a 0.2% decline from 2005, although there should be positive demand for these motorcycles for commercial use.

3. Class-2 Motor-Driven Cycles (51cc-125cc)

  1. Sales of Class-2 motor-driven cycles in 2005 should finish at 88,000 units, a robust gain of 40.2% from the previous year, boosted by the introduction of new models in this category. 

  2. In 2006 the impact of new models experienced in this category in 2005 is expected to decline, dragging down demand which is forecast at 71,000 units, a significant 19.3% drop from the previous year.

4. Mini-Sized Motorcycles (126cc-250cc)

  1. Mini-sized motorcycle sales in 2005 are estimated at 104,000 units, up 6.7% from 2004. Factors behind this growth are the positive impact of the new automatic-transmission motorcycle driver’s license category and greater demand for large scooters as a result of expanded model lineups. 

  2. In 2006 the rise in demand for large scooters is expected to taper off, with overall sales in this category projected to finish on a par with the 2005 level (104,000 units).

5. Small-Sized Motorcycles (over 250cc)

  1. Sales of small-sized motorcycles in 2005 should total 77,000 units, up 5.7% from 2004. This gain is the result of various factors including more widespread awareness concerning the lifting of the ban on highway tandem riding, the introduction of the new AT license category, and new model launches. 

  2. In 2006 demand in this category is forecast at 84,000 units, up 9.1% from the 2005 level, owing to the same factors behind the surge seen in the previous year.


Class 1 Motor Driven Cycles Forecast 471,000 ; actual 478,196 101.5%
Class 2 Motor Driven Cycles Forecast 71,000 ; actual 82,211 115.8% 
Mini-sized motorcycles Forecast 104,000 ; actual 95,266 91.6%
Small-sized motorcycles Forecast 84,000 ; N/A

This information was released just 6 months before the dramatic clampdown on urban parking. The impact was not foreseen, which implies limited lobbying being performed.