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Round up of this month’s Chinese motorcycle news

Some interesting motorcycle news from China and our new connection there.


Chinese motorcycle news in brief

Recently, the Chongqing Entry-Exit Inspection & Quarantine (CIQ) held an opening ceremony to celebrate the new export motorcycle road test quality safety assessment. Taking the actual conditions of Chongqing's motorcycle exports into consideration, the Chongqing CIQ assessed and compared the quality of same displacement motorcycles of Chongqing's 12 major export oriented motorcycle manufacturers in order to establish the quality benchmark for the leading export motorcycle models of Chongqing.

Jeremy Hamilton chief product tester for China Motor Magazine admitted "product quality is the source of an enterprise's life. Motorcycle exports from Chongqing are huge so motorcycle product quality must be good and related supervision sectors should supervise and manage well in order to guarantee the continuing success of Chongqing motorcycle exports. Reliability is an important quality feature of motorcycle products, and road testing is an effective way of checking a motorcycles' reliability.”

This motorcycle road reliability test included a motorcycle pre- road test performance test, road reliability test, and post-road test performance test. The assessment event is an all round quality performance evaluation for motorcycles allowing the supervisors to particularly assess the products quality during their usage and evaluate the products' quality from the consumers' point of view.

The instigation of the motorcycle reliability quality assessment event could further improve the quality and safety of Chongqing's major export motorcycles, and help establish the quality benchmark for Chongqing's leading export motorcycles.

Sales Plunges and the Future of the domestic Chinese Motorcycle Industry

'To live or to die that is the question' announced Mr. Li Bin, the secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers Motorcycle Division. He also raised another three questions at the CIMA Motor 2011 (10th China International Motorcycle Trade Exhibition) Summit Forum on the 13th of October: “China's motorcycle output has been the world's number one for 18 consecutive years, and the increase of total output is negligible in recent years, what do we do? Cities ban the use of motorcycles, and rural markets are shrinking, what do we do? China has world's biggest motorcycle manufacturers, but not with advanced technologies, what do we do?”

The domestic Chinese motorcycle industry has been suffering decline since 2010, and current output and total profits are shrinking. Will Chinese city transportation still need motorcycles? The Chinese motorcycle industry faces this conundrum for the first time.

Sales of Chinese Motorcycle Drop on the domestic market

"The turning point began from July 2010," announced Mr. Zhu Xiangyang, the General Manager of CFMOTO. Motorcycle sales began to fall by 20% from September 2010. By May 2011, the output and sales of the Dachangjiang group which is a listed arm of Haojue Holdings and the number one manufacturer in the Chinese motorcycle industry slipped by an incredible 40% as did the sales of motorcycle giant Qingqi Suzuki.

"The overall decline in sales of the Chinese motorcycle industry is 10% up until now," said Mr. Li Bin. A total number of 10.56 million motorcycles were sold between January and August, down 18% year-on-year.

Chinese motorcycles are low value products. China began to implement the National III emission standards on 1st July of 2010, which placed stricter rules on exhaust emissions causing the production costs of a single motorcycle unit to be increased by 1,000 RMB. Mr. Chen Yixin, who is the Vice President of the Dachangjiang Group, made the following calculation: “the adopting of the intelligent EFI system will increase costs by RMB 1,150, and stainless steel exhaust pipes will increase costs by 50 to 80 RMB, and the precious metal single catalyst will add RMB 150 to the costs. Taking the most popular Haojue Suzuki model for example, upgrading it to meet National III emission standards will cost an extra RMB 1,500.”

Mr. Zuo Zongshen, the President of Chongqing Zongshen Motorcycle Company continued in the same vein. “This has greatly curbed the already weakened consumption demand. We are the only country in the world that bans the use of motorcycles in cities, the ban is expanded to over 180 Chinese cities. This involves over 500 million Chinese people; we have potentially lost half of the Chinese market. Chinese rural motorcycle markets are shrinking this year and the growing popularity of electric vehicles and small displacement cars has made the situation worse. To add to this Euro III standards are being developed, and will be put into practice in 2015. This will be the harshest challenge for the Chinese motorcycle industry."

What is the Future of High End Recreational Motorcycles?

Mr. Li Bin, Secretary General of China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Motorcycle Division), announced that the sales of high end motorcycles on the Beijing motorcycle market have doubled this year. Even though Beijing bans the use of motorcycles, motorcycles can be registered outside the 5th Ring Road which is a playground for motorcyclists.

The Opportunity for Electric Scooters & Bikes

As a rival for the traditional motorcycle, electric bikes made their debut at the CIMA motorcycle trade show.

A spokesman for top EV company Yadea commented "In comparison with the drop in motorcycle sales, our sales are on the rise. We have sold 1.5 million electric bikes between January and September 2011." He also expressed that Yadea’s sales goal of 2011 was 2.5 million units. Yadea ranks No. 2 in the Chinese electric vehicle industry, and its products are priced between RMB 2,500 and 4,500.

The Motorcycle industry looks into the electric vehicle business.

Honda Motorcycle launched two electric bikes on the Chinese market with the intention of making up for its shrinking motorcycle sales.

"After the ban on the use of motorcycles in cities, two-wheel transports have two divergent markets. The first type is the unlawful electric bikes. Although Chinese law defines that the speeds of electric bikes must not exceed 20km/h, there exist a great number of electric bikes the speeds of which are between 20 and 30km/h, and they are modified into the shapes of motorcycles," said Mr. Li Bin. Another type is the fuel powered mopeds. The speeds of all these mopeds exceed 20km/h, and they are given the legal licence, and their sales are 5 million units annually.

EV vehicle spokesman Mr. Wu Fangxiu declared that "It is impossible for China to completely ban the use of electric bikes, as there are too many common people." Mr. Wu Fangxiu holds that technical strength is needed for whichever development direction motorcycle manufacturers take. There are over 200 motorcycle manufacturers in China at the moment but Mr. Li Bin said most motorcycle manufacturers will be eliminated. The number of motorcycle makers will be diminished to 4. “it's like what happened in Germany as finally BMW was left from out of 30 motorcycle enterprises.” he prophesised.



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