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Challenging years for 2017 bike market

NMDA 12/01/2018

“Demand for motorcycles in 2017 continued their downward trend with the year-end registrations down -18%, (23,177 less bikes) on the previous year”, said Stephen Latham, Head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA) which represents motorcycle retailers across the UK.

We expected a decline in the market in 2017 following the final quarter of 2016 registrations of Euro 3 bikes by the December 31 deadline. However the scale of the decline surprised many of those selling low powered machines, as to just how many dealers and manufactures pre-registered these bikes.

  • 2014 - 101,277 sales 
  • 2015 - 115,121 sales
  • 2016 – 128,644 sales
  • 2017 – 105,467 sales 

Latham continued, “Without the Euro 3 run out in 2016, it is possible that sales would have remained stable and in line with the previous years. For example, if the market had stayed in line with 2015’s registrations of 115,121 units, which would have indicated that 13,523 additional machines would have been pre-registered. All these additional licenced motorcycles will have supressed demand in the 2017 for new product.

“If we estimate the true demand for motorcycle sales in 2017, taking into account the stable market from 2015 and reduce it by the oversupply of pre-registered Euro3 machines estimated at 13,523 units, then the projected results for the total 2017 sales would have been worse at just 101,598 new registrations - not so far off the actual total of 105,467 machines registered in the year.

“We could analyse the true market demand by removing all registrations up to 125cc for both 2016 and 2017 - these being the most common pre-registered Euro 3 machines. This would then show the following result of new motorcycle registrations above 125cc;

  • 2016 - 68,977 sales
  • 2016 - 68,977 sales
  • 2017 – 65,963 sales
  • Shortfall - 3,014 sales (-4.37%)

“A loss of -4.37% is a truer reflection of the market and similar to car registrations which showed a decline of -5.7% , and van registrations up to 3.5t showing a similar market decline of -3.6% for 2017.

 “The reality is if you force a market by a huge amount in one year you will get an equivalent decline in the following year while the units wash through an oversupplied market. Looking ahead into 2018, we expect that demand should become more stable, however there is still an underlying uncertainty in the economy over Brexit and further reduction of sterling’s value that could push up retail prices still further.”

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Notes to Editors: 

Results taken from the Motor Cycle Industry Association Press Statistics December – New Motorcycle registrations

About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.