Honda ready to sue over fake Chinese motorcycles

Kyodo

An Indonesian venture of Honda Motor Co. has sent warning letters to local importers selling Honda motorcycles allegedly copied in China and may file a lawsuit soon, company officials said Wednesday.

A customer peruses fake Honda motorcycles at a showroom in Jakarta.

“Unless the situation ameliorates in a couple of months, we will file a civil lawsuit,” Yuji Takahashi, president of Astra Honda Motor Co., said.

Although not sold under the Honda name, the machines are the copies of Honda’s 100cc Supra and Impresser models, carrying brand names such as Peking and Hokkaido, Takahashi said.

Motorcycles copied from Japanese models are about 30 percent cheaper than the originals, which cost about 10 million rupiah ($1,100), he said.

“Although damage caused to us by the Chinese makers is not absolutely countable, the share of copies reached as high as 25 percent of total market in 2000,” Takahashi said, adding that Honda can no longer tolerate counterfeiting as “the price of fame.”

About 30 importers, mostly owned by Chinese Indonesians, are dealing in counterfeit motorcycles, according to the Astra Honda officials.

The Indonesian auto venture recently sent warning letters asking them to stop importing the bikes, but the importers denied any responsibility, they said.

“We welcome fair competition. After China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, we hope this will terminate,” Takahashi said.

Yamaha Motor Co. said last week it will sue three Chinese firms for damages over copies of its motorcycles that have allegedly been illegally made and sold in China under Yamaha brand names.

Yamaha officials said copies of its 125cc and 50cc Future motorcycles have been on sale in China since November.

They said there have been copies of Yamaha motorcycles in China before, but this is the first time the vehicles have actually carried the Yamaha brand name.