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10/01/2019

After all those over-egged sighs of relief from industry spokespeople, given that annual numbers were mercifully static rather than negative, MCIA registrations data for December was tragically short on Christmas cheer. BDN Xmas elf Roger Willis reports.

Total registrations for the month plummeted by 17.9% to 5142 units, the lowest December tally since 2014. Collapsing consumer confidence, also afflicting seasonal high-street footfall, was easily attributable to uncertainties from the worsening Brexit débacle.

Across the L3 vehicle sector, as we should now describe it, motorcycles suffered a 9.4% decline to 3643. But scooters magically rose by 20.8% to 1093, on the back of a thinly-disguised preregistrations surge. Conversely, L1 vehicles (formerly known as mopeds) fell through the floor — 70.9% down to 378 — owing to their own big preregistrations hike a year earlier, induced by Euro 4 imposition. L5 vehicles (trikes) dived by 33.3% to 28.

Strongest capacity class was the 51-125cc slot, 14.1% up against a background of such meagre overall quantities. 651-1000cc kit was also positive but its 8.7% increase equated to just 84 extra bikes. The previously healthy 126-650cc range plunged by 24.8% and over-1000cc tackle lost 14.4%.

Naked was the only motorcycle style category which struggled into four figures, although it dropped sharply by 30.6%. Highest-registered motorcycle across all these categories was the BMW R1200GS Adventure, accounting for one-fifth of the brand’s entire monthly output — an obsolete model in the process of distressed clearance from showrooms to make way for its R1250GS-based successor.

As perennial top-10 brand leader, Honda was nevertheless 20.8% in arrears. Runner-up Yamaha put on 12.4%. BMW’s discount frenzy grabbed third spot, delivering a whimsical 35.9% rise. KTM in fourth place tumbled by 60.1%, after registering an unfeasibly vast number of bikes in December last year. Kawasaki completed the famous five with a potentially realistic 8.6% gain.

Further down the running order, negativity and honesty were more evident. Triumph sank by 11% in sixth and Lexmoto was 17.5% lower in seventh. Ducati, taking eighth, retreated by a modest 3.8% and Suzuki clung to ninth with a 24.2% fall. Harley-Davidson closed this pantomime in tenth. But no year-on-year comparison was possible because America’s finest had been shoved out of the December 2017 rankings by mass preregistration of Peugeot’s legacy Euro 3 moped stock.