Motorcycle industry grows by 22%

The outlook may not be looking so good when it comes to building cars, but over the past year, motorcycle manufacturing in the Philippines has seen tremendous growth.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has noted that the Philippines is becoming a motorcycle production hub in the region.

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez expressed optimism for the sector at Security Bank’s 2021 Economic Forum, “The Future of the Philippine Manufacturing Industry.”

“Honda will start exporting its motorcycles to New Zealand this quarter,” Lopez announced. He also highlighted Yamaha’s facility expansion in Batangas to produce new models like the Nmax and Aerox in the country, creating 1,000 more jobs in the process.

Let’s not forget the Ayala-led KTM operation, which assembles big bikes (400cc and up) of both KTM and Husqvarna brands for the domestic market, as well as export to China and other ASEAN countries.

To date, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki (all members of the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association), KTM, and Husqvarna assemble motorcycle models in the Philippines. Brands like Bajaj partially assemble their symmetrical three wheelers in the Philippines.

“I think this is really a fast-growing sector for transportation and mobility,” Lopez said.

Based on DTI monitoring, the domestic motorcycle industry grew by 22% as of January 2021 compared to the previous year.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Manila Office Investment and EPA Advisor, Tomohiro Ando, has cited the country’s huge market for motorcycles, amounting to more than 2 million units annually.

“I think in the long term the Philippines has good potential,” he said, as production base for exports to other ASEAN countries. With production volume of more than 1 million annually, Ando said this should motivate investors. He also cited the competitive factor in the country with the improvement in market access because of the regional free trade agreements that the Philippines is a part of.

To capitalize on this interest, the DTI has been courting top brands in the manufacturing sector to consider the Philippines, if not set up a research and development facility like Dyson, a home appliance manufacturer, has done.