Japan 2024. Motorcycle Market Declining After Five Months (-8.2%)

Harley-Davidson X350
Harley-Davidson X350

Japanese Motorcycle Market was moderately positive last year. But the first five months of 2024 shows a downwards trend of -8.2% year-over-year, with the only exception being the electric mopeds (electric L1) category with a +80%.

Japan’s Motorcycle Market Trend and Perspectives

Today, the use of motorcycles and scooters in Japan is limited to a small portion of the population, as alternative commuting devices are preferred. In the first half of 2024, the Japanese motorcycle market has experienced significant shifts.

Despite a general global increase in motorcycle sales, and after last year’s nearly flat performance, Japan’s market faced challenges with a -9.1% decline in sales year-over-year in the first quarter. That improved slightly to a -8.2% drop by mid-year, corresponding to 156,000 units sold in the first half of 2024.

Some variability is observed within classes. In defiance of the overall negative trend, the electric L1 category saw an 80% year-over-year increase. However, the electric L3 class decreased by 28.8%. Motorcycles sales gained 1.8% year-over-year, whereas scooter sales declined by 13.9%, confirming the first quarter trends (+1.0% and -14.2%, respectively).

Looking at top manufacturer’s performance year to date, all show a decline, with Honda at -8.5%, Suzuki at -12.4% and Yamaha taking the biggest hit with a -18.1%.

However, immediately behind them, Kawasaki gained an impressive 31.0%, and Harley-Davidson rebounded from last year’s slight negative bump and is now up 4.6%. Other notable figures are Triumph, up 10.7% year-over-year, and KTM, boasting a +23.1%.

Kawasaki Ninja 400 MY 2023
Kawasaki Ninja 400 MY 2023
The Kawasaki Meguro K3 motorycle viewed from upside.
Kawasaki Meguro K3

Japan’s Motorcycle Market Overview

Japan’s motorcycle market ranks among the top 20 globally. As of 2023, there were approximately 10.31 million motorcycles in use, down from 11.82 million in 2013. The market primarily consists of smaller engine motorcycles, especially those under 50 cc.

Dominated by leading domestic brands such as Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki, Honda notably excels in production and sales volume. Regardless of the overall market decline, Japan remains a crucial global player, contributing significantly to technological advancements and maintaining high production standards.