Why Yamaha's good news is bad news for you

Published: 04 November 2011

Yamaha has released its latest set of financial figures amid fanfare, proclaiming it has 'secured profitability in all business segments'. That's about as close to a whoop as Japanese businesses get. But it's ominous news for European Yamaha fans – the firm's impressive motorcycle performance (just a 0.4% decline year-on-year) has been driven entirely by 'large increases in unit sales in Vietnam, India and Brazil' while 'Indonesia and Thailand also increased unit sales year-on-year'.

European sales, the spur to development of models you're actually interested in, continued to fall. Compounded by the exchange rate (113 yen to the Euro), which reduces the amount Yamaha earns from Japanese manufactured bikes sold in the Europe, the proportion of Yamaha's motorcycle income provided by European riders has fallen below 10% for the first time. (US readers wondering where all their special editions went should reflect they now contribute just 4.2% of Yamaha's earnings from bikes).

With 82% of the firm's motorcycling income (and growing) expected to come from Asia and the BRIC countries when 2011's final figures are in, would it be it any wonder if Yamaha's attention wanders?