Saturday, June 15, 2024


Pretty much as everybody expected after last autumn’s pre-registrations frenzy for underogated Euro 3 stock, January data from the MCIA kicked off 2017 with a substantial decline. Overall numbers were 15.6% down to 4884 units. And to put that in perspective, the total was 3.6% lower than a 5068-unit tally two years ago. writes BDN financial editor Roger Willis.

Motorcycles dropped by 10% to 3348 units. Scooters sank by 27.7% to 1090 units. Mopeds lost 23.6% at 395 units (or possibly 404 units, depending on which page of the statistics release you choose to believe). However, to claim that such a position is “surprisingly reasonable”, as the NMDA already has, and entirely attributable to long thousands of pre-registered machines cluttering up dealer showrooms, is a tad naive.

The vast majority of those bikes are in smaller capacity classes, many of them Chinese. Lexmoto’s plunge from second to tenth in January’s year-on-year brand rankings, with its registrations plummeting by 79%, is an obvious indicator. The 26.2% fall in 51-125cc products and a bigger drop for scooters are also clearly reflections of that reality.

But a 9.4% retreat in the 651-1000cc range, which accounts for only a handful of pre-registrations, cannot get away with the same excuse. Other factors are in play. As we have previously pointed out, Euro 3 legacy distortions in the latter part of last year masked market weakening that was evident through the summer. And current new stock availability is widely limited to derogated Euro 3 stuff anyway, some of it end-of-line models that won’t be replaced by Euro 4 versions and therefore potentially subject to discounting on a good-riddance basis. Note the ascension of Honda’s swansong CBR600RR to best-seller in the 126-650cc bracket.

Clues as to the real state of the market suggest feeble action at best among major brands. Honda was 3.8% down, despite topping five of the MCIA’s style categories. Yamaha was 8.4% in arrears. Kawasaki posted a 6.7% drop. BMW slid by a more severe 17.8%. Harley-Davidson was dead flat. Only Triumph, armed with key bikes that are already Euro 4 compliant, had a decent 10.4% growth result. Its good fortune is set to continue, given competitors face lengthy waits for their own new-season Euro 4 offerings.


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