Honda sales show why Europe doesn't matter any more

And neither does America or Japan...

A PICTURE says a thousand words. Or, in this case, a graph does. Honda's just released its 2010 worldwide sales figure and if you're living in any of the so-called 'advanced' nations they make pretty grim reading.

While Honda's bare figures don't seem to mean very much on their own, we've put the latest ones into a graph, along with the firm's sales figures for the previous four years, to show just what's going on.

Overall, the Big H's sales are up, but across all the traditionally wealthy countries, where living standards are high, they're still on a distinct downward path. But what's really amazing is the enormous, and fast-growing, gulf between bike sales in Europe, America and Japan when compared to Asia. OK, so Asia might account for 60 percent of the world's population, but bike sales have nearly doubled in over the last five years and now Honda alone is flogging more than 14 million bikes per year over there. Compare that to Europe, where the firm sold just 258,000 bikes in 2010, and you can see why, to Honda, a new 150cc single might be seen as rather more important than working on the next-generation Fireblade.

Meanwhile, the figures for North America show just how bad the bike market there is. In 2005, it dwarfed the European or Japanese markets, with sales of 633,000 Honda bikes, but last year it became the smallest of all with only 192,000 new Hondas making their way out of showrooms