By 2010, China and India will produce a combined total of 36 million motorcycles per year. Let me repeat that, … 36 MILLION motorcycles PER YEAR!
That number was buried in a news item this morning about a new microcontroller chip for motorcycle engine management systems. These chips precisely control the fuel/air mixture, ignition and who knows what else to keep the engine running at its most efficient while creating the least pollution. The chips are needed, the article stated, because of the growing number of motorcycles being produced and purchased in China and India. It went on:
China and India, the world’s largest motorcycle markets, are also developing tougher emission control standards for vehicles in the upcoming years, driving the need for cost-effective electronic engine management systems. Indian companies expect to manufacture 15 million two wheelers a year by 2010, up from 6.7 million in 2005, while China expects to make 21 million two wheelers a year in 2010, up from about 17 million in 2005.
Does anyone else find that statistic mind boggling? Those kinds of numbers mean the motorcycles will be a cheap throwaway, used by one person and not worth repairing when they break. If they were to last longer, the market, no matter how large you think it might be, would soon be flooded and the companies producing these little machines would have to find something else to do. If they were expensive, they would not be able to find enough buyers. And, too, this does not include Japanese, Italian, German or U.S. motorcycles.
The overwhelming majority of motorcycles in China and India are the very small displacement variety. If you’re unclear as to why many manufacturers concentrate on larger bikes, re-read that first sentence.