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Limited production begins in Japan

March 25, 2011
Filed under Features

Two weeks after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, some of the Big Four’s factories have reopened with limited production.

Some of Yamaha Motor Corp.’s factories have begun producing partially assembled units again. As of Thursday, the Iwata factories that assemble motorcycle engines and finished products, the PWC engine-building factory in Kuramatsu and the ATV factory were all assembling partially complete units from stocked parts. Three factories that manufacture motorcycle parts were completing limited production for overseas parts, and the Fukuroi factory that packages overseas motorcycle parts was operating. Generators were undergoing limited production, and limited golf car production will run Monday through Wednesday. As of Tuesday, production will be suspended again at the Iwata factories and on ATV and PWC engine production. Generator production will continue through Thursday, and a decision is pending for April 1 and beyond.

Suzuki Motor Corp. reopened its Takatsuka plant, which assembles and machines motorcycle engines, Thursday for limited production after the Toyokawa motorcycle assembly plant opened earlier this week. Both are using stock components to complete bikes that are on the assembly line

Honda expects to reopen its motorcycle plant in Kumamoto, Japan, on Monday, though operations will not return to total normalcy as some Tier 1 and 2 suppliers were affected by the disaster, Bill Savino, American Honda’s motorcycle press manager, told Powersports Business. As of Wednesday, American Honda employees had donated $30,000, which Honda will match dollar for dollar. For dealers, suppliers, customers and the public, the company has set up a donation website at http://american.redcross.org/hondaacura-emp. All proceeds from both drives will be channeled through the American Red Cross.

Kawasaki has not released any updated information about its operations.

Other organizations in the industry are donating to recovery efforts. The Harley-Davidson Foundation has donated $250,000 to the American Red Cross, and the company’s Japan subsidiary has established a relief fund and has sent food, water and other necessities where needed. Harley also has posted to link to the Red Cross’s website on its sites.

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) boards are collectively donating $10,000 to the 2011 Japan Relief Fund. All three organizations are also encouraging their members to contribute by visiting their websites. Click on the “2011 Japan Relief Fund” tab, and you’ll be sent to the donation page on the Japan America Society of Southern California’s site.

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