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Japanese E-Bike Production Dropping Rapidly

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TOKYO, Japan (17 February 2000)–After years of strong growth, EPAC production and sales in Japan are declining rapidly. In 1998 Japan’s electric bicycle production dropped 7.6% to 213,156 units and domestic sales were down 5.2%. Things got worse in 1999. During the first 11 months of last year EPAC production dropped 35.9% to 128,414 units. […]

TOKYO, Japan (17 February 2000)–After years of strong growth, EPAC production and sales in Japan are declining rapidly. In 1998 Japan’s electric bicycle production dropped 7.6% to 213,156 units and domestic sales were down 5.2%. Things got worse in 1999. During the first 11 months of last year EPAC production dropped 35.9% to 128,414 units. Sales were only slight better–down 29% to 143,479 units.
Despite these numbers Japan remains the leading market for e-bikes.
Bicycle imports from Taiwan and China have negatively affected the Japanese industry in recent years. Many OEM makers and parts manufacturers have filed bankruptcy or simply went out of business. The same holds true for wholesalers and retailers; the number of Japanese retailers dropped by more than half in five years’ time, now down to 15,000. They face strong and aggressive high-volume retail chains.
As such, last year production was down by some 5.8% to an estimated 5,586,000 in 1999 (5,199,558 in first 11 months), according to statistics published by the Japanese Bicycle Promotion Institute. In contrast, bike sales increased by 10.4% to an estimated 9,095,000 in 1999 (8,402,639 in first 11 months). The increased sales came through imports, which were up a phenomenal 44.2% in 1999–from 2,893,318 in 1998 to an estimated 4,171,000 last year (3,830,897 in first 11 months). (JW)

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