Worldwide emissions regulations have forced many motorcycle manufacturers to discontinue models in recent years. From Yamaha ditching its YZF-R6 supersport to Harley-Davidson removing its Evo-powered Sportster from the European market, shifting standards continue to shape the market.
The situation is no different in Japan, and impending emissions regulations update threaten to spell the demise of even more motorbike models. Japan will implement more stringent standards in fall 2022, with many of the new laws following in the footsteps of the European Union’s Euro 5 framework.
Japanese media outlet Nikkei reports that Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki will eliminate 10% of the nearly 190 models offered by Japan’s Big Four. Honda alone will close the books on 10 out of its 80 models, including the iconic CB400 Super Four. Big Red is also rumored to have Gold Wing variants and the Benly scooter on the chopping block too.
Honda isn’t the only manufacturer trimming its lineup, though. Yamaha is expected to retire the FJR1300 tourer while Suzuki could potentially discontinue five models including the GSX250R sportbike. Of course, the Japanese firms could offer their non-compliant models in less restrictive markets, but with the industry transitioning to sustainable energy sources, it’s hard to envision the brands committing resources to such efforts over the long haul.
Honda currently aims to electrify its lineup by 2040. Yamaha has similar intentions, with goals of carbon neutrality by 2050. Emissions standards aren’t the only catalyzers, however. The ongoing supply chain slowdowns and resource shortages also push the Big Four to consider more electric motorcycle and scooter production.
Many manufacturers fashion robust catalytic converters to reduce CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, prices for the rare metals used in catalytic converters have spiked recently, making development and production even more challenging.With the Big Four comprising 40 percent of the worldwide motorcycle supply, scrapping 20 models could have a ripple effect on the market while speeding up the transition to electric and alternative fuels.