Yamaha’s ambitious across-the-range insurance scheme exclusively revealed in last week’s MCN has left the other big motorcycle manufacturers scratching their heads and wondering how to combat such a tempting offer to riders. And now the bike market is facing a potential barrage of deals as manufacturers attempt to claim back market stake from Yamaha.
Since the scheme was piloted in March on the 2001 R1 Yamaha has sold 571 of that bike alone. And now the subsidised insurance has been extended to include any bike, new or second-hand, it seems inevitable that others such as Honda and Suzuki, whose Fireblade and GSX-R1000 are loosing sales because riders can’t afford high insurance premiums, will have to unveil other offers to tempt riders towards their bikes.
MCN contacted each of the major manufacturers to get their responses to Yamaha’s scheme. Here is what they had to say:
" We are currently using our 0 per cent finance to attract customers. We are aware what our competitors are doing but don’t have any plans to introduce any insurance schemes, although that’s not to say we won’t in the future. "
" Subsidised insurance is very, very expensive. We do it on some smaller scooters but have at this stage have no plans or need to extend it any further. "
HONDA – comment to follow
" Suzuki pioneered free insurance on scooters in 1996 and continues to offer very competitive rates at the 50cc & 125cc entry level. Our current scheme offers premiums from £59 for up to four named riders on 15 machines, including brand new models such as the UH125 Burgman. "
" In addition, Suzuki has just launched a major new promotion with customers able to take advantage of a saving of up to £700 when buying a new 2002 model GSX-R. This is a concrete scheme and is happening now. We regard it as offering sports riders a more flexible means of saving money and, when the free AA roadside assistance and 24-months unlimited mileage warranty is taken into consideration, we believe that there has never been a better time to buy a Suzuki. "
" Anything that expands the motorcycle market, or that allows new people to enter the market or allow to remain bike owners can only be a good thing so we congratulate Yamaha on their insurance initiative.
We are confident that our associated insurance company insure.co.uk offers one of the most competitive packages on the market, and our team at Harley-Davidson Financial Services is constantly looking to provide the best deal on insurance for our products. "
"We already have a scheme whereby any new BMW buyer can get cover through Devitts. It's not subsidised but they do offer a better deal than if you approached them independently. Insurance is not such a big deal for most our owners anyway. Because of the bikes we sell and the type of riders we attract, we don't have the same issues as Yamaha may have with the R1."
" We already have a good scheme with an national average fully comprehensive cover of under £400 and incentives to reduce this even further. Because most of our riders are older insurance isn’t such an issue so we put help in other areas such as finance. "