Motorcycle makers to send reps to Vietnam

Three motorcycle makers will dispatch senior officials to Vietnam in an effort to resolve a trade dispute over Vietnam’s curbs on imported motorcycle parts, a company official said Wednesday.

Executives at Honda Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co. are scheduled to meet Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan on Monday, the Yamaha official said.

The executives will ask Vietnam to lift the restrictions and to expand production quotas allocated every year for local plants, the official said.

Vietnam imposed the curbs in September, forcing Honda to cease local production. Yamaha officials said Wednesday their production activity there is expected to grind to a halt on Monday.

Khoan has said the restrictions were imposed due to the soaring numbers of road deaths involving two-wheel vehicles.

Green scooter on sale

Yamaha Motor Co. launched its new Passol electric motor scooter Wednesday, hoping the environmentally friendly product will attract more female consumers and stimulate demand in the sluggish domestic market.

The 50cc scooter features an electric motor and the world’s most advanced lithium-ion battery, which can run 32 km per charge, according to the Shizuoka Prefecture-based company.

The company will initially offer 500 Passol scooters over the Internet for users in the Tokyo area beginning in November, Yamaha officials said. It began accepting advance orders Wednesday.

The product is priced at 200,000 yen, and its battery charger costs 15,000 yen. The scooter’s fuel costs are about half or a third of those of 50cc gasoline-engine motorcycles, according to the company.

The company expects to launch full-fledged sales in Japan next spring and market 6,000 units on an annual basis, a Yamaha official said.