Yamaha Honda collaboration
Shinji Aoyama, Operating Officer and Director, Honda Motor Co. Ltd.(left) with Katsuaki Watanabe, Managing Executive Officer and Director, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.Yamaha Global

The saying "In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies," seems to be pretty spot-on for the news from Japan. Japanese motorcycle makers Honda and Yamaha, both known for rivalry in the MotoGP race apart from the two-wheeler making have surprisingly joined hands together. The joint press statement says two companies have begun discussions toward a possible business alliance in the Japanese market in the Class-1 category which include scooters with a 50cc engine or electric motor.

Changing market conditions seems to have forced long time rivals Honda and Yamaha to consider partnering on shared scooter development. Class-1 category vehicles in Japan have been shrinking in recent years. Motorcycle manufacturers are facing challenges such as compliance with safety standards and emissions regulations that will become more stringent in the coming years. A joint development will ease the pressure in the product development for Class-1 category for both the bike manufacturers.

A key plan under the radar in the joint venture is supplying 50cc scooter models as an OEM. With an estimated timeframe before the 2018-end, Honda would begin supplying 50cc scooter models to Yamaha that are developed based on the Honda TACT and Giorno scooters currently sold in Japan. Yamaha will sell these models as corresponding models of the Yamaha JOG and Vino.

The two companies will also look into the feasibility of the joint development and OEM supply from Honda to Yamaha for next-generation version of new small capacity scooter models. In addition, the collaboration will also look into address various issues relevant to electric motorcycles such as range, charging time, performance and cost. Initially, the two companies will work jointly for Japanese motorcycle market only.