Motorcycle sales: 10 month slide

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Motorcycle sales continue to fall in 2017, with October’s figures showing a decrease compared to the same month last year.

With motorcycles, tricycles, scooters and mopeds combined, registrations were down 13.8% last month, and down 15.5% for the year to date.

Sportsbikes appear to be those hardest hit, with just 527 registered last month, compared to 656 the previous year. a decrease of 19.7%. Sportsbikes are down 25.8% overall this year to date.


In fact, the only motorcycle category not in decline is, suprise, surprise, the adventure class. Registrations of adventure bikes saw a rise of 14.7% in October, and are up 1.4% overall this year.

Head of the Motorcycle Division at Close Brothers Motor Finance, Neil Richardson commented: “It’s been a tricky year for the motorcycle sector, with today’s registration figures falling again. And in fact these figures might look better than they actually are, as the MCIA figures are often skewed by pre-registration stock, when bikes are pre-bought to hit targets. Our dealers have noted consumer concern around Brexit and the threat of potential recession, as well as stagnant wage growth and growing inflation.”

Last June we had a look at what Brexit could possibly mean for the future of the motorcycle industry in the UK. It could potentially make Triumphs more expensive abroad, and bikes from outside the UK may be subjected to similar import duties.

Brexit has ad a direct impact with the number of bikes sold – along with Teresa May’s decision to hold a snap election.

Stephen Latham, Head of Motorcycle Division at the National Motorcycle Dealers Association told MCN in June: “Our launch into Brexit, which was confirmed with Article 10, has hit the currency really hard causing motorbikes at the cheaper end to go up in price disproportionately. Chinese bikes have gone up by £300-400 and It wasn’t necessarily Euro4 that did this, really it was a currency exchange issue and that has also suppressed the pricing of the bigger traditional brands, who have had to put their prices up which has in turn also slowed the market place.”

The best selling motorcycle in October was the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, with 121 registrations in October. But those figures pale in comparison to the biggest selling powered two wheeler, the Honda PCX125, which clocked up 244 registrations last month.

Earlier this year, CEO of the MCIA, Steve Kenward said: “We are still witnessing the transition between Euro 3 and Euro 4 stock.  You can see this when you break the figures down. Smaller capacity machines, particularly 125cc bikes are down because it is likely dealers are still selling the large amount of Euro 3 stock which was registered at the end of 2016.

“In contrast, larger machines, which have been making the transition to Euro 4 over a longer period, are now showing a growth compared to the same time last year.  From a rider’s perspective that means there have been some good bargains available and government licensing tables show that January, February and March of this year saw the largest number of mopeds and motorcycles licensed on the road since 2010, when compared to the same time of year.”

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Liam Marsden

By Liam Marsden

Former MCN Web Producer