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Yamaha Vietnam motorcycle plant to raise capacity

Yamaha announced plans in late July to build a second motorcycle plant in Vietnam that will increase its manufacturing capacity by fifty percent, to about 700,000 115- and 135-cc bikes a year.


The company said it will spend about $44 million to put up a modern, 61,966 m2 plant on a 161,874 m2 site just north of Hanoi¡¯s Noi Bai airport. The location is about 10 miles south of Yamaha¡¯s existing plant in an industrial park at Soc Son.


The new plant will take on a workforce of 700 when it goes into operation in October 2008, Yamaha said. It will be heavily automated.


The company has already broken ground, and says the new structure should be completed by next spring. It is in a rush because it expects sales this year to gain 24 percent and reach 435,000 units, pushing very close to the 470,000-a-year limit of its existing capacity.


Yamaha, which first moved into Vietnam in 1998, has seen sales soar in a geometric curve the last five years, from 23,000 in 2001, to 350,000 last year. It expects the growth to continue at that pace or even increase.


The overall market is expected to climb 400,000 to 2.7 million units this year, making it the world¡¯s fourth largest, after China, India and Indonesia.


The company holds 46 percent of a joint venture with state-owned Vinafor and Hong Leong, a Malaysian banking, realty and commodities conglomerate.


Yamaha said the existing plant, which employs a large workforce, will gradually transfer production of finished bikes to the new unit, and become mainly a maker of castings and machined parts for the new plant at Noi Bai. The company said it has an existing workforce in Vietnam of 2,878, but didn¡¯t indicate how many of them are on the Soc Son production line.

It said it plans to expand its dealer roster from the current 300 to a 350-400, but did not indicate over what period.


Honda president Takeo Fukui announced plans last month to invest $65 million, for a second, 500,000 units-a-year motorbike plant at Vinh Phuc, also in the Hanoi area, raising its capacity to 1.5 million a year by 2010.


Source: Japan Automotive Digest

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