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08/10/2019

September’s traditional new-plate surge usually provides a satisfactorily bankable swansong for dealers as the season ends. But given current weak consumer sentiment, a slump could have been on the cards. Mercifully, that didn’t happen, reports Roger Willis.

According to MCIA data, total registrations remained positive by 3.9% on 12,978 units. Motorcycles added 3.4% to 9806, scooters were 3.5% up to 2323 and mopeds rose by 7.4% to 766. Oh yes, let’s not forget trikes boasting tremendous 48.2% growth to a monumental tally of, er, 83.

Best news was to be found in the healthy 126-650cc middleweight sector, with a sharp 23.6% improvement reinforcing its YTD 14.2% rise. And I’m sure we’ve all grown accustomed to Royal Enfield’s 650 Interceptor twin usurping the opposition, as best-seller in that engine band month after month. No wonder dealers are said to be queuing to apply for the franchise.

Indicators were worse elsewhere. The entry-level and budget commuter 51-125cc band shrank by 3.1% and over-650cc machines taken together were only a mere 0.7% higher. Within that, 651-1000cc stuff lost 11.8%. Honda’s CRF1000 Africa Twin, which is soon to be replaced by a bigger-inch version pushing it into the next engine band, ruled that particular roost. Conversely, over-1000cc products stacked on 18.5%. BMW Motorrad took a lot of credit for such an advance, as three of its models — the R1250GS Adventure, R1250RS and R1250RT — topped their respective style categories. The combined tally of this fat-tagged trio reached 515, accounting for almost a fifth of the capacity slot.

No surprise, then, to see BMW brusquely elbowing Yamaha aside from its habitual runner-up spot in the top-10 brand chart, thanks to a stupendous 24.3% increase. The latter, relegated to third and suffering from a crucial Ténéré stock famine, plunged by 18.7%. Honda clung to leadership by a considerable margin but was also a loser, 1% down. Triumph claimed fourth spot with a narrow 1.7% rise, while Kawasaki rounded out the top five far more emphatically, stacking on 15.8%.

Lexmoto was undoubted star of the show once again, flaunting a muscular 33.8% upwards lunge in sixth. It’s a fair guesstimate that China’s finest thereby seized second place in monthly up-to-125cc stakes, too, behind Honda. Ongoing Suzuki woes were tempered, in seventh, by a relatively tame 7.8% decline. And although KTM slipped to eighth from fifth in August, the Austrian marque nevertheless improved by 21.3%. Harley-Davidson in nine enjoyed a 20% resurgence. Royal Enfield grabbed the final chart position, worthy numbers suggesting sales progress beyond aforementioned 650 twin variants.

For the nine months of 2019 to date, overall registrations were just 2.3% up to 89,283. Motorcycles added a mere 1% to 67,938. Scooters rose by 3.9% to 15,968 and mopeds put on 15.6% to 4784.