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Bumper year, now keep plates spinning to retain profit

A bumper 2014 for the motorcycle industry has been eclipsed this year in terms of the sheer number and diversity of new bike launches, says Rob Hobson, My Car Check’s motorcycle specialist.

Hobson has used his year-end report to look both backwards and forwards.

“Yamaha is looking to take the MT strategy further with the stunning R1-based MT10, while the XSR700 attempts to open up new sales avenues. To prove that sports bikes aren’t dead, Suzuki has unveiled the hotly anticipated new GSXR1000. Ducati has benefited from a fantastic response to the Scrambler models last year, and others such as BMW are jumping on that bandwagon with the likes of the R NineT Scrambler. Interestingly, because demand is still to be proved, there are more bikes arriving which fall into the middleweight sector – the BMW G310R, Yamaha MT03 and even Ducati with the smaller-capacity Scrambler Sixty2. 

“All of this adds up to an exciting 2016 and we can only see a continued level of growth in terms of new bike registrations. These will, of course, be fuelled by ongoing PCP promotions and it remains to be seen whether this will be good for the industry over the longer term.

“In the used market, the story is quite straightforward – if you can source clean, average mileage, decent-condition stock, with proper history behind it, it will be good news. The retail level has naturally slowed of late and the period immediately before Christmas is traditionally mixed. There appears to be a fair amount of used stock available, but traders admit that the job is by no means easy.

“One of the bigger issues ahead surrounds that old problem of cash flow and, perhaps more pertinently, retained profit. Where this is of particular concern is for the fully committed franchised dealer who is unable to keep all the proverbial plates spinning. New bike sales may be on the increase but sufficient profit needs to be retained to maintain the showroom in the manner expected by the manufacturers, while workshops, parts departments and accessories all need to bring in their piece of the cake. This is no mean feat when you consider the pressures being placed upon the likes of BMW and Honda franchisees. That set of special tools for the latest new model has to be paid for and that cost has to be generated from somewhere.

“As this is the last bike editorial of the year, we would like to wish everyone an enjoyable time over the festive period and look forward to an exciting New Year.”

My Car Check Trade provides motorcycle buyers and sellers with price data.

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