AUTOSHOW-Yamaha morphs from bike to carmaker

TOKYO Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:30am EST

TOKYO Nov 21 (Reuters) - Japan has a new carmaker - although road users will know the name well.

Yamaha Motor Co is looking to sell cars for the first time as it faces shrinking motorcycle sales.

The company unveiled its Motiv concept microcar at the Tokyo Motor Show this week and said it plans to bring the car to the mass-market by 2019.

The car could be powered with an electric motor, a gas-electric hybrid system, or carry an 1,000 cc three cylinder gasoline engine, Yamaha spokeswoman Ayuko Kobayashi..

"Yamaha has been developing motorbikes, three-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles, and this car evolved from our pursuit of making automobiles fun," she said.

Yamaha also makes car engines as well as golf carts.

Some two decades ago, it developed a sports car carrying a Formula one engine, but the car never went on sale as Japanese economic conditions worsened with an asset bubble burst. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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