Sluggish motorcycle sales and the strong yen are expected to push Japan's Yamaha Motor Co. into loss for the first time in 26 years in 2009, the company warned Thursday.
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.
Net profit fell 97.4 percent in 2008 to 1.85 billion yen (20.5 million dollars), the company said.
After hitting a record high in 2007, revenue dropped 8.7 percent to 1.60 trillion yen in the 12 months through December.
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 for 2009. Revenue is expected to decline 22.1 percent to 1.25 trillion yen.
"Sales have been rapidly worsening since November due to the sudden drop in demand and the higher yen," the group said.
Yamaha said it would reduce output at all its plants, take steps to cut costs and shrink investment in a bid to stem the losses.