Yamaha Motor Co. has started commercial production of motorcycles designed for young people in Vietnam through a joint venture with the Vietnamese government, the company announced Thursday.

Yamaha Motor Vietnam Co. is a joint venture between Yamaha Motor, Vietnam Forest Corp. (VINAFOR), which has links with the Vietnamese government, the affiliated Co Do Mechanical Factory and Hong Leong Industries Berhad, Yamaha’s subsidiary based in Kuala Lumpur.

The firm has started producing Sirius motorcycles, powered by a four-stroke engine with 102cc displacement, at a 10-hectare factory in Hanoi. The plant has about 200 employees.

The firm plans to produce 3,000 units of the Sirius by the end of this year and increase production to 20,000 units in 2000. Yamaha also plans to manufacture other types of motorcycle at the factory and aims to raise annual production to 250,000 units in 2010.

About 300,000 new motorcycles were sold in Vietnam last year and sales are continuing to rise, reflecting the country’s comparatively strong economy, according to Yamaha. Rivals Honda Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. already manufacture motorcycles in Vietnam.

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