TOKYO, May 17 (Kyodo) — Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it has relocated production of the Super Cub 50 scooter fitted with a 50-cc engine to China and will release the new Chinese-made Super Cub model for the Japanese market on May 25.

Honda has been marketing since 1958 the Super Cub, which its legendary corporate founder Soichiro Honda developed on the premise that soba delivery boys would be able to operate the scooter using one hand while carrying a soba container with the other hand.

The Cub series of scooters became a driving force behind Honda's rapid emergence in the global auto market and the company has relied on overseas production to supply the scooters to the home market.

Honda said it has decided to slash the suggested retail price for the new Super Cub 50 model by 48,300 yen from the current model to 187,950 yen, as production in China and the sharing of components among its scooter and motorcycle models has enabled it to cut production costs.

Although Super Cub 50 scooters have so far been manufactured at a Honda factory in Otsu, Kumamoto Prefecture, Honda has moved production to a plant in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, where another Honda scooter, the Super Cub 110, has been manufactured.

The Tianjin plant will produce 15,000 Super Cub 50 scooters annually for shipment to Japan. The Kumamoto factory will still be utilized to make a limited number of Super Cub 50 scooters for use by Japan Post Group companies.

Super Cub scooters have remained a perennial hit with 4 million units marketed worldwide each year. Apart from the Tianjin factory, Honda is manufacturing them at its plants in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.