Tokyo: Japan’s Yamaha Motor Co. said Thursday it expects its first loss in 26 years in 2009 because of sluggish motorcycle sales and the strong yen.
The company said it would cut hundreds more jobs to cope with the economic downturn.
Yamaha said fewer people were expected to buy motorcycles this year, even in once resilient markets in Asia and Latin America. At the same time the yen’s strength is eating into overseas earnings.
The group forecast a net loss of 42 billion yen ($467 million) for 2009. Revenue is expected to decline 22.1% to 1.25 trillion yen.
The firm said it would reduce output at all its plants, take steps to cut costs and shrink investment in a bid to stem the losses.
It plans to reduce the number of temporary workers in Japan to zero by mid-2009, from 1,400 in spring 2008.
Yamaha had been enjoying record high sales until the economic crisis began curbing demand for its products, which also include boat engines and all-terrain vehicles.
In the calendar year 2008, net profit fell 97.4% to 1.85 billion yen. Revenue dropped 8.7% to 1.60 trillion yen. “2008 began with surges in oil and raw material prices,” said Yamaha Motor president Takashi Kajikawa.
“In the second half of the year, the financial crisis quickly spread around the world due to the US subprime loan problem, seriously pressuring the real economy,” he said.
“Demand in Europe as well as North and South America shrank rapidly, particularly from November, leading to a sharp fall in sales.”
All Japanese automakers have seen a drastic turnaround in their fortunes in recent months as recessions in major markets batter demand.