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08/11/2019

Given a chaotic will-we-won’t-we false Brexit climax in October, culminating with PM Boris Johnson’s failure to die in a ditch as promised, it’s amazing that monthly bike registrations weren’t worse than the minor fall revealed by MCIA statistics. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Overall numbers were 1.8% down to 7126. Motorcycles took the brunt, declining by 6.2% to 4790. Scooters were 3.1% up to 1691. Mopeds added 23.6% at 581 and trikes rose by 56.1% to 64.

As we have now entered the final-quarter twilight zone, varying quantities weren’t hugely significant. Most pain for dealers was felt in the 651-1000cc engine band, which fell sharply by 22.9%, representing 366 fewer machines. This slot was also the weakest on a YTD basis, having dropped by 7.1%. Over-1000cc products sank by 2.2% — a shortfall of only 25 bikes — and has lost a thin 0.7% YTD. In both cases, availability could have been an issue, on the back of minimised showroom inventory responding to current uncertainties and flagging consumer confidence.

At least Yamaha benefited from some succour, its late-to-market Ténéré 700 topping both the 651-1000cc band and taking Adventure Sport style laurels. However, value of that latter achievement was undermined by a 21.1% slump for the category.

Smaller bikes stayed modestly positive. The 126-650cc range put on 4.7% and 51-125cc stuff managed a 1.3% rise. Respectively, those gains equated to just 65 and 34 additional registrations. Hardly a bonanza.

Top-ten major brand listings were inevitably all over the place, considering our approaching winter of discontent. There were five winners. Holding the Chinese banner high, Lexmoto boasted impressive 47.8% monthly growth and seized third step on the podium — also taking pole position on the Supersport style category grid, for what that’s worth. Triumph had slid to sixth but added 8%. Harley-Davidson in seventh spot did much better, stacking on 25.9%. Piaggio resurfaced in ninth, after several months relegated to the off-chart wilderness, with an 11.8% increase. And Royal Enfield underlined its emergence as a serious contender in tenth place.

In stark contrast to the brand’s recent advances, KTM in fourth led the losers, plunging by 26.1%. And Honda topped the chart as usual but plated 21.2% fewer bikes. BMW slumped by 19.4% and dropped to fifth position, from its moment of glory in second during September. Yamaha recovered runner-up status, although it was 7.2% in arrears. Finally, Kawasaki lost 4%, down in eighth place.

For the 10 months of 2019 to date, registrations were 2% higher at 96,409. Motorcycles remained shiny side up by a marginal 0.5% on 72,728. Scooters have improved by 3.9% to 17,659. Mopeds rose by 16.4% to 5365. Trikes added 15.9% at 657.