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A COMPLEX REGISTRATIONS PICTURE

Doomsters and gloomsters shouldn’t jump to the wrong conclusions about January’s MCIA new registrations data. There were a lot of factors in play. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Overall numbers were 37.6% down to 3834. Motorcycles fell by 44.7% to 2423. Scooters sank by a more reasonable 23.5% to 1015. Mopeds were 11.8% lower at 351. But the 0-50cc power band in which they reside, including equivalent e-bikes, increased by 19.8% to 520. Trikes added 15.4% to 45.

So what are the ameliorating influences? After December’s underogated Euro 4 preregistrations party, there was always going to be a hangover. The sell-through of already-plated machines would inevitably cause a downwards distortion.

In addition, many brands are desperately short of inventory, due to freshly-imposed importation bureaucracy and logistics hurdles post-Brexit. Supply chains will settle down. But it’ll take some time to overcome delays.

And then particularly horrible winter weather throughout much of the UK has coincided with this latest ongoing Covid lockdown. The vast majority of dealerships remained open behind locked showroom doors, selling remotely and completing deals via either click-and-collect round the back at their workshop entrances or with home deliveries. But persistent rain, snow, frost, ice and gale-force winds hardly enhanced motorcycling USPs.

However, demand for self-isolating mobility solutions as a much safer alternative to public mass transport clearly didn’t go away. That aforementioned 0-50cc band bucked January’s shrinkage trend altogether. And it’s interesting to note that 64 samples of Vmoto’s 4kW Super Soco CPx electric scooter achieved highest-registered status in the band.

Total scooters including moped versions were just 22.8% down to 1279. In a broadly similar vein, 51-125cc machines declined by 27.9% to 1481. Honda’s SH125 claimed both scooter and eighth-litre leadership accolades. These figures stand in stark contrast to the entire 126cc-plus market, which halved — plummeting by 49.9% to 1833 machines.

Major brand rankings were fairly opaque. Honda held its usual hegemony but plunged by 57.1%.. Lexmoto was a surprising runner-up, given the large number of bikes it was obliged to preregister in December, 37% in arrears. The Chinese brand’s LXR125SY was also highest-registered (and presumably derogated) supersport product. KTM in third podium position was 35.4% down, and had enough leftover 300EXC TPI enduro ironmongery with appropriate status to dominate the relevant style category.

Yamaha fell to fourth place with a 61.6% loss. Anecdotally, we understand it is particularly challenged by supply-chain problems from Europe. But there was still sufficient made-in-France Ténéré 700 stock around to top the 651-1000cc chart. Whether BMW Motorrad, 41.9% lower in fifth, has sourcing issues is unknown. However, its R1250GS Adventure hung onto supremacy in the eponymous style sector.

Sixth-ranked Triumph sank by 60.8% and Kawasaki was the final comparable brand on a 33.2% reduction in seventh. A mere 17 samples of the Ninja 1000SX earned sport/tour stardom. Below them, completing a ten-strong grid, were respectively Piaggio, SYM and Keeway. They replaced Suzuki, Harley-Davidson and Royal Enfield appearances in the January 2020 rankings — all of whom must therefore have registered fewer than 89 machines each in the first month of this year.

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