A news item just crossed our desk about Chinese motorcycle exports. Chinese officials were quoted as saying they intended to rectify the disordered export market resulting in low profits for the Chinese motorcycle companies. You need to remember, and as the news item reminds us, this “disordered” market has been the number one exporter of motorcycles worldwide for five years in a row. They exported 7 million motorcycles last year alone. Since the Chinese consider motorcycles to be one of their important export commodities, think about what extra effort on their part to improve the situation will mean to other motorcycle companies around the globe.
Chinese motorcycles tend to be smaller displacement models found in heavy use in countries throughout Asia, but as we’ve noted before, they’re expanding into larger displacement motorcycles, as well.
There have been complaints about the quality of the Chinese products but at the sometimes unbelievably low prices they are selling at, many will ignore quality and buy one anyway. With high production and export, it is inevitable that quality will improve over time and once established in various markets, the higher quality models will have a base to build upon.
One troublesome issue is the repeated appearance of knock offs, models built to be almost identical to well known and established brands. The lawsuit under way between Yamaha and Yamoto is one example, the continuous stream of Blata pocketbike copies is another. If China plays by the rules and actually designs and builds its own motorcycles, everyone will just have to adjust to the new competition, but if counterfeit copies are what China considers to be legitimate exports, we have another issue entirely and I would hope vigorous customs enforcement would shut down this part of their export trade.