PH motorcycle dealerships might experience a supply shortage soon

by Aris Ilagan | Jun 1, 2020
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

The different motorcycle dealerships in the country have resumed operations after the national government placed Metro Manila and other places in the country under general community quarantine.

But under the health protocols laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, these dealerships can only allow 50% of their workforce to gain access to their facilities with the implementation of physical distancing. The same thing applies to motorcycle assembly plants here.

Roughly 80% of the motorcycles sold by the so-called “Big 4” Japanese motorcycle brands in the Philippines are imported from countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and India. The Big 4 are Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki—all members of the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association (MDPPA).

We all know that the meteoric rise of COVID-19 cases on a global scale had prompted almost all nations to implement a lockdown that disrupted the business sector, including the motorcycle industry. In the past two months or so, there was hardly any motorcycle production from assembly plants, which led to a big supply disruption of new two-wheelers in the market.

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As suppliers of new motorcycle models experienced a major slowdown in production, even their local supply was greatly affected. This led brands to weigh their manufacturing priorities—domestic or foreign markets first?

According to industry sources, the motorcycles that you see and you have yet to see in showrooms in the coming days are old stock. Those scheduled to arrive last March 2020 are still coming in only in trickles because of the huge backlog of containers in our country’s port areas, which are operating under limited capacity.

This is the reason why several manufacturers are in limbo in scheduling the public unveiling of their new products, which would likely be done using digital platforms. The arrival of new models as far as August 2020 will be delayed for a few months more, sources added. It will take a little more time before we can go back to the two-million annual sales mark for the motorcycle industry.

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And only until the policy on social distancing is lifted will the supply chain return to normal. On the other hand, the demand for motorbikes will still be strong in the coming months even under the new normal.

It’s a bit frustrating, especially for those who were itching to have their dream bikes since the start of the year. Even more so for those who need a motorcycle right away for lack of transportation options. As with all crises, patience and understanding are key.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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