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Yamaha says to cut motorcycle output this year

TOKYO (Reuters) - Yamaha Motor Co said on Thursday it plans to cut motorcycle output in Japan by 24 percent this year to a level one newspaper reported would be a 40-year low, as demand drops and inventories build.

Faced with mounting inventories due to weak sales amid the global recession, the company plans to produce slightly more than 260,000 units in Japan this year, Yamaha spokeswoman Satoko Ogawa said, confirming an earlier report in the Nikkei business daily.

The company also plans to reduce output of motorcycles and other products by 30 percent in the Americas and 20 percent in Europe, while it plans to maintain production levels in Asia where demand for smaller motorcycles remains relatively solid, she said.

Yamaha has already decided to shut its main assembly plant in Shizuoka Prefecture and the parts plants that feed it for 10 days in February and March to reduce output by 13,000 motorcycles, and it plans to negotiate with labour unions for more work stoppages in the April-June quarter.

Yamaha expects to tumble into an operating loss of 30 billion yen ($308 million) in 2009, against a profit of 48.4 billion yen last year, as demand for products such as large motorcycles and marine vehicles drops.

Group sales are forecast to fall 22 percent to 1.25 trillion yen.