TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese motorcycle giant Yamaha will join the four-wheel market by launching small cars in Europe as early as 2019 to meet rising demand for energy-efficient vehicles, a company official said Friday.
The firm has been mulling manufacturing four-wheel vehicles for years, exhibiting a prototype 1,000 cc engine car and an electric-car battery at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.
Yamaha is planning to build car plants in Europe to sell them in the region before 2020, the company spokesman said, without elaborating.
“As small cars are already prevalent in Europe, our first car launch will be (there),” he said.
“But we are also studying opportunities in emerging countries” as well, he added.
His comments were in response to an interview with company chief Hiroyuki Yanagi that appeared in the leading Nikkei business daily, in which he said Yamaha will supply its own engines for the new European market cars, while outsourcing some other parts production.
While it is best known for its motorcycles, Yamaha has worked with Toyota on car engine development since the mid-sixties, supplying more than three million engines to the world’s biggest automaker over that period.