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DEAD-END STREET FOR REGISTRATIONS?

With the false promise of August’s briefly positive blip behind us, the traditional new-plate registrations surge in September proved to be a predictable disappointment. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Motorcycles fell by 11% to 8561 units. Scooters were 3% down at 2775. Mopeds slid by 15.6% to 702 and trikes suffered a 10% loss on 99. An overall 9.6% retreat added up to 12,137 bikes registered during the month.

Every capacity class displayed negative facets. The up-to-125cc entry-level, mobility and fleet delivery sector shrank by 11% to 5205. Middleweight 126-650cc products were 7.1% lower at 2192. The 651cc-plus range, upon which core mainstream dealer profitability relies, was 9.2% in arrears, accounting for 4740 machines. Within that, premium over-1000cc steeds were 16.4% down to 2076.

While Honda managed to maintain hegemony, its monthly registrations slumped by 26.8% — 698 fewer bikes — equating to more than half of September’s total 1288-unit market decline. And some 537 samples of the budget-priced and therefore profit-lite PCX125 scooter represented 28.2% of all the machines plated by Honda dealerships.

Runner-up BMW Motorrad’s network did much better, especially because the company operates on much higher price points. Bragging rights came from the loss of just half a dozen bikes, 0.5% down. However, headcount of its Adventure and Touring style-sector cash cows did deteriorate. September registrations for the R1250GS Adventure and R1250RT respectively sank by 9.8% and 11%. To be honest, though, stock unavailability could have been an issue.

Yamaha bounced back, rising by 4.9% from a particularly weak position 12 months ago. Triumph went the other way, losing 6%. Royal Enfield rounded out the top five with yet another stellar value-for-money performance, 49.9% up. Its Meteor 350 model took both highest-registered Custom style category and 126-650cc engine band accolades. And the Interceptor 650 was top of the Modern Classic pile (as well as a close second in the 126-650cc league).

A serried quartet of gloomsters followed. Chinese flag-carrier Lexmoto plunged by 33.4%. KTM fell by 12.8%. Suzuki, despite its GSXS1000T bargain heading up the Road Sport style category, dropped by 20.3%. And, still stymied by a bare inventory cupboard, Kawasaki was on the back foot to the tune of 29.3%. Last but not least, Piaggio flaunted a 7.3% gain.

Year-to-date bike registrations growth has now shrivelled to a mere 3.7%, on a tally of 95,958 at Q3’s conclusion. So, against the background of an energy crisis, inflation running rampant to make the cost of living into a nightmare, mortgage rates now going berserk thanks to the Downing Street’s ineptitude and Vladimir Putin threatening to nuke the lot of us, the chance of anything remotely resembling recovery in Q4 is less than zero.

That trusty old wheeze of preregistering showroom dust-gatherers to guarantee year-end dealer bonuses is even off the statistics-massaging agenda. Unsold inventory is a fading dream of the past.

Full registrations figures for September

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