Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Yamaha to cut motorcycle output

James Toseland of Great Britain and Tech 3 Yamaha in action
Yamaha Motor has forecast a first net loss in 26 years for 2009

Yamaha Motor, one of the world's largest motorcycle makers, will cut production in Japan by up to 24% this year amid falling global demand.

Production may fall to slightly more than 260,000 units in Japan, a spokeswoman said. Analysts said this would represent a 40-year low.

Yamaha Motor may also reduce its motorcycle output by 20% in Europe, the spokeswoman said.

Export-oriented Japanese firms have been hit hard by the downturn.

Official figures showed on Wednesday that Japan's exports plunged 45.7% in January compared with a year ago to hit the lowest figure in 10 years.

The Japanese economy contracted at an annualised rate of 12.7% in the last quarter of 2008, recording its worst performance in almost 35 years, officials said last week.

Net loss

Yamaha Motor had already planned to close some of its plants for 10 days in February and March to reduce output by 13,000 motorcycles.

It also plans to discuss further plant stoppages in the April-to-June period with trade unions.

The company has predicted that 2009 will see its first net loss for 26 years. The loss of 42bn yen ($430m, 303m) would come after a net income of 1.85bn yen last year.

Sales are expected to decline by 22% to 1.25 trillion yen.

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