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New year marks slow start for motorcycle market

NMDA 08/02/2017

“Following extremely high numbers of bikes registered in December (10,990) the slowdown seen in January was hugely anticipated. Compared with last year’s strong results, this shows a decline of -15.6% which is, surprisingly, reasonable”, said Stephen Latham, Head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA) which represents motorcycle retailers across the UK.

A total of 4,884 motorcycles were registered in January 2017, 15.6% less than the 5,789 bikes registered in the same period last year. The scooters sector saw the biggest decline in January (-27.7%) with 417 units less than in 2016.  All power/cc sectors were down, with the only exception of the large over 1000cc machines which grew by of 5.3%.

Latham continued, “An oversupply of run-out euro-3 motorcycles saturated the market towards the end of last year and it is now likely to affect the market in the upcoming months. In fact, many dealers and manufacturers seem to have pre-registered these Euro 3 machines due to restrictions on getting them derogated to be sold in the new year.”

In order to understand how many pre-registered euro-3 motorcycles are on the market, we have taken the combined figures for December and January 2016/17 (15,874 units), and the ones for the same two months in 2015/16 (11,013 units).  Then, we added the yearly growth of 11.7% over the period. This showed that the natural market should have equated to 12,301 machines.

Latham concluded, “The difference between the actual figure and our finding shows that there might be approximately 3,573 new pre-registered motorcycles out there looking for new owners. This is likely to hit the small motorcycles market in the next few months.

“A further indication of this activity comes from Lexmoto. The brand was the best seller in December with 1,620 units registered, while it was relegated to position 10 in January with only 131 units sold.  Honda, Yamaha and Triumph were back at their top three positions. Surprisingly, Suzuki did not appear in the top 10 brands meaning that there might be a few pre-registered bargains at your local Suzuki dealer.

“Despite this slowdown, there is still optimism amongst dealers, particularly, from the biggest established brands, as the opportunity to get out there and enjoy the open road beckons.”

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Results taken from the Motor Cycle Industry Association Press Statistics January – 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.