Taiwan Motorcycles Market started the 2019 in slow tone, but then surging demand pushed sales up and the year is running up quite well, taking huge benefit from the fast growth of electric scooter segment, driven by Gogoro success, but also with the launch of several new models from any manufacturer.
Taiwanese economic growth likely slowed slightly in the third quarter, after accelerating sharply in the second quarter. This was suggested by lower consumer confidence compared to Q2, which should have weighed on private consumption. Moreover, a slowdown was likely in part due to the Chinese government’s decision to curb Chinese tourist flows to Taiwan since August. More positively, however, the manufacturing sector posted a PMI of 50.0 in September, marking the first time in one year that activity in the sector did not decrease.
Next year, economic growth is expected to hold more or less stable. On the upside, returning investment from overseas, particularly China, should provide a boost, while low unemployment should support private consumption. However, headwinds from the U.S.-China trade war and a tense relationship with the mainland will weigh on prospects..
2019 Market Trend
Following the negative score reported in the 2018, the domestic Taiwanese two-wheeler market is recovering in the 2019.
According to data released by the Taiwanese Minister of Transportation & Logistic, the market started the year slow, but during the Q2 sales accelerated significantly ending the first half of the 2019 with 535.382 sales, up 30.0% from the correspondent period last year.
During the Q3 sales have been 212.833 (+18.9%) with with Year to Date figures at 748.701(+25.9%) projecting the full year at the second best ever level after the 2017 record.
While traditional combustion engines segment is falling, electric vehicles (100% scooter) supported by a robust government incentive scheme are booming with the local brand, Gogoro, jumped in fourth place with over 50.000 sales (+30%).
The first model fruit of the partnership between Gogoro and Yamaha was recently presented and is the Yamaha EC-5, was available for booking since August 1st, with deliveries in September. The model was developed by Yamaha, with the electric motor by Gogoro and will be produced in the Taiwanese Gogoro plant.
Taiwan is the home-base for well-known global motorcycles companies, like Kymco and Sym and is one of the major motorcycles and scooter producer in the World. However, the domestic market is even one of the Top 10 largest worldwide and the motorcycles are a key device for individual mobility.
The development of the market started already in the ’80 of last century, but the key factor for the industry development was the joining of WTO agreement in the 2002, which pushed the industry to improve standards to match requirements of European and American markets and to allow at the local producer to defend their domestic positions against the arriving importers.
Indeed, an almost favorable legislation has limited the distribution of large size motorcycles and so far the market is dominated by local producers, with Yamaha and Suzuki producing in the country.
Interesting to note as the global leader, Honda, is not producing locally limiting their activity to the distribution of large motorcycles. Indeed, Honda had begun local production of small-sized motorcycles in 1961, mainly 125 cc-class models, in the form of a technology licensing agreement with a local company (under a technical collaboration agreement) and continued until 2003, when has closed operations.
Recent Market Trend
The domestic Taiwanese motorcycles industry is one of the healthiest in the World. The first time the industry hit the half a million units milestone in a calendar year was in the 2014, but keeping to grow the domestic market reached the all time record in the 2017 with sales not far from the 1 million units milestone.
According to data released by the Taiwanese Manufacturers Association, in the 2018 the market pushed the brakes and sales declined at 756.170 units, which is the second highest level ever.
Two Taiwanese brands, Kymco and SYM are among the top global producers of scooter exporting all over and – of course – they play the rule of leaders in the home-base country. However, while SYM is the biggest in terms of export, Kymco is the local leader, with 2018 sales at 302.306 units.
The new brand Gogoro, producing advanced e-scooter, is booming, with a 2018 record of 71.800 sales (+138%).