Motorcycles are very popular in many countries. Some large automakers, including Japanese ones, produce motorbikes along with cars. Toyota also tried to make its contribution to this industry, but this story did not end very well. Why Toyota has stopped producing motorcycles – read below.
Toyo Motors Bikes
Even though there are no Toyota motorcycles in the dealership centers and no spare parts for the retro bikes in the Toyota parts catalog, there is a clear version of why this manufacturer stopped producing its motorbikes. From the late 1940s to 1960, Toyota used to produce motorcycles. The models varied from motored bicycles to large naked models.
Toyo Motors was founded in the city of Kariya in Japan. From his young years, Kazuo Kawamata used to learn internal combustion engines. Once, the future founder of Toyota motorbikes took part in the development of the brand-new front-wheel-drive car in Japan called Roland, in the process of which he met Kiichiro Toyoda – the founder of Toyota.
In 1942, Kawamata was hired by Toyota Motor Research. He applied his knowledge and talent to develop the Bismotor engine for motorbikes. In 1949, he started Toyo Motors, which became a Toyota subsidiary. The company aimed to release the easy-to-use and cheap motorbikes that the post-war world required so much. The moment for this was chosen very well: people started to recover from war, no one really had money, so motorcycles began to be in great demand. By 1952, the volumes grew to about 10,000 motorbikes a year. However, this was the turning point for the company as well.
Key Reasons for Fail
Toyo Motors received numerous complaints about the motorcycles’ quality. Perhaps, this was due to the company’s decision to give almost all of its production for outsourcing. Motorbikes were only assembled from components and parts supplied to the enterprise. This, of course, saved a lot of time and made it possible to master the production of motorcycles as soon as possible, but the manufacturer faced a problem – there were a lot of defects in the supplied parts and assemblies. Motorcycles were constantly breaking down, which caused the disappointment of owners.
Finally, Toyo’s engineers and employees insisted on rethinking the business processes, but Kawamata was not interested. At the same time, they said that the factory’s territory was littered with defective parts and details.
The collapse of the Toyota bikes happened when a more efficient competitor appeared. In 1958, Honda introduced its Super Cub, and people’s patience with Toyo motorcycles ended. With the advent of an inexpensive but reliable alternative, customers simply stopped buying Toyo vehicles. The production was stopped in 1960.
To be fair, Toyo Motors was just one of over 100 Japanese motorcycle manufacturers that came and disappeared. The reasons were both miscalculations in business models and natural catastrophes. For example, in 1959, Typhoon Vera killed more than 5,000 people. More than one and a half million people were left homeless.