• Nna/kyodo

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Honda Motor Co. has surpassed 5 million units in cumulative motorcycle production in Malaysia in its 60th year of business there, and aims to further boost sales by promoting environmentally friendly models.

Boon Siew Honda, a joint venture between Honda and local conglomerate Oriental Holdings, has set a new target of 6 million units by 2023, the Japanese company said at a ceremony last week in Batu Kawan in the northwestern state of Penang.

The world’s largest motorcycle maker began Malaysian sales in 1957 in Penang and production in 1969 through local business partner Loh Boon Siew.

The joint venture was formed to integrate sales and production, with Honda holding a 51 percent stake and Oriental owning the rest.

A new factory was built in 2013 in Batu Kawan, with a state-of-the-art production process, at a cost of 200 million ringgit ($49 million).

In line with Malaysia’s drive to become a regional hub for producing energy-efficient vehicles by 2020, Boon Siew Honda in 2016 became the first motorcycle maker in the country to obtain the relevant certification for one of its models. Five models have since been certified as energy-efficient motorcycles.

Nobuhide Nagata, managing director of the joint venture, said the company aims to boost the ratio of low-fuel models meeting government standards to 81 percent of its total motorcycle output by 2020, up from the current 75 percent.

Yonhenri Mohd Rasyid, a 52-year-old taxi driver, said Honda motorcycles are “durable” and “reasonable” in price. Yonhenri is a third-generation Honda user, with his grandfather having often taken him on rides on a Boon Siew Honda bike in his childhood.

His grandfather bought him a Honda motorcycle when he was 17 years old, Yonhenri said. “After 35 years, the bike is still in good shape.”

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