More delays: Honda and Kawasaki join list of manufacturers struggling to deliver new bikes

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A recent apology to customers and dealers from Yamaha Motor Europe’s president Eric de Seynes revealed the depth of problems that bike firms are facing in getting motorcycles and parts to UK customers. Now Honda and Kawasaki have confirmed that they face similar challenges.

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The pandemic is causing many of the problems, but other issues have also come into play. A global shortage of semiconductors stems from a variety of factors including trade tensions between China and the USA, leading to some electronics firms stockpiling Chinese-made chips, and fluctuating demand from tech manufacturers as lockdowns lead to unpredictable sales.

Covid’s impact on trade has also left empty shipping containers stranded in some parts of the world and a shortage of them where they’re needed, pushing up shipping costs and causing delays.

These delays had knock-on consequences, with Yamaha’s factory in France left waiting for components to arrive from Japan. Yamaha also had a number of complete bikes on the Ever Given itself, and the ship is still impounded in Egypt six weeks after it ran aground.

The Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal

Honda UK’s Department Manager of Business Planning & Sales Operations, Andy Mineyko, told MCN: “We have had delays, an example being the PCX125 which experienced a one-two month delay as a result of the challenge around shipping. Our remaining 2021 models are arriving now and will be in dealers shortly with stock of all units continuing to arrive throughout the year.”

Kawasaki have also been hit by delays. MD of Kawasaki Europe, Kenji Nagahara, said: “Like many others we have been affected by the shortage of semi-conductors and the blockage of the Suez Canal.”

He added that a shortage of a resin used in motorcycle manufacturing has hit production schedules, but told MCN: “We promise to do everything in our power to face up to this challenge.”

Yamaha Europe boss reveals supply chain issues caused by Covid and Suez Canal crisis

First published on 12 March, 2021 by Dan Sutherland

Eric de Seynes addresses Yamaha customers

President and CEO of Yamaha Motor Europe Eric de Seynes has revealed issues with production and supply of products caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the Ever Given Suez Canal crisis earlier this year.

Speaking in an unlisted 3:18 YouTube video (below), the Yamaha boss said: “For the last 10 months, the availability of raw materials has become an issue in many areas, such as the semi-conductors required in the manufacturing of our smart keys, ABS braking system and ECUs.

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“Shipping goods overseas was also problematical due to the very high demand for many categories of manufactured products, but these issues have been made bigger right at the start of the season by the unexpected crisis in the Suez Canal, involving the container ship the Ever Given, which was transporting several thousands of Yamaha products and components.”

Yamaha uses the Suez Canal for transporting goods into Europe, and the blockage on March 23 caused by the cargo ship has caused a knock-on impact to customers.

Like many others, over recent months the Japanese firm revealed a number of new models for 2021, with many requiring updates to meet more stringent Euro5 emissions regulations. 

With Yamaha factories situated across the globe in places like France, Japan, Indonesia and more, the scale of the delay on your machine depends entirely on the complexity of its construction and where it is being made.

Popular updated models like the 2021 MT-07 and MT-09 range have now begun to appear in UK dealers, however Yamaha UK have confirmed that the incoming Tracer 9 and Tracer 9GT face a predicted delay of around three-and-a-half weeks – pushing arrivals back to around the third week of May.

Yamaha MT-09SPs have begun arriving in the UK

De Seynes continued: “Everybody here at Yamaha, from procurement to factory, through logistics and sales teams, are working hard to minimise the impact and to ensure that all available products are delivered. At the same time, we are also trying to provide the most accurate information on availability to our dealer network around Europe, in what was and is remaining a very unpredictable situation.

“In the meantime, while everyone here at Yamaha is working hard to resolve all of the problems created by the pandemic, and also to increase rapidly the number of our total deliveries, we understand that the wait for products to be delivered can be frustrating, and for that we are very sorry. Therefore, we sincerely hope you will accept our apology for any delay.” 

Motorbike manufacturers face peculiar new challenges in 2021

First published on 12 March, 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

Manufacturers face new challenges in 2021

We’re used to the cost of bikes being affected by the fancy tech on board and little else but now a combination of increasing raw materials costs, shipping difficulties and problems securing parts could lead to increases as firms battle to meet demand.

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Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 is the root cause that’s creating a butterfly effect of knock-on impacts. Right at the start of the manufacturing process, industries of all types were being hit by rising costs.

Aluminium has ballooned from £1075 a tonne to £1433, iron ore has nearly doubled and rubber prices are up by over 100%. It’s all thanks to high demand for the materials, particularly in China, allied to reductions in supply due to the pandemic.

Siddhartha Lal, MD of Eicher Motors – the parent company of Royal Enfield – warned of price rises in their home market, saying: “We will probably increase prices again in April… raw material costs have gone up faster than our ability to hike prices.”

Motorcycle components in boxes

It’s not just raw materials that are causing concerns; a global shortage of computer chips has driven up prices due to a huge spike in demand. Home users as well as businesses have been buying laptops left and right for home working, while staying at home has given some households more money to spend on new phones, TVs and games consoles.

All these things have conspired to create a shortage of semiconductors that’s impacting every business which uses them.

Yamaha’s annual report for 2020, forecasting the company’s prospects for 2021, says “potential risks include the possibility of soaring transportation costs amid a global shortage of shipping containers and a scenario where a dearth of semiconductors affects procurement of component parts” and there are similar cautions in reports from Honda and Suzuki.

Yamaha’s caution over shipping containers reflects a problem that’s hitting industries all over the globe. An increase in demand for goods – particularly gadgets from China – along with lockdowns leaving empty containers stuck in Europe and America has seen prices soar.

New scooters awaiting delivery

In the last four months, the cost of a 40ft container from Asia to Europe has more than tripled, with reports that a standard 40ft container, priced at around £1400 last year, can now cost £6000 or more. There have even been reports of cartel-like behaviour, with some operators asking in excess of £10,000 per container.

At the moment, the prices announced for new 2021 models haven’t generally reflected a significant increase over their 2020 predecessors, but the longer the problems with transport and supply continue the harder it will be for manufacturers to maintain that stance.