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EURO 3 CHAOS DISTORTS NOVEMBER REGISTRATIONS

On the face of it, latest MCIA data reporting a 12.1% overall PTW registrations surge to 7644 units in November was excellent news. Motorcycles were 16.6% up to 5009 units. Scooters added 16.1% to 2029 units. Only mopeds blotted their copybook as usual, falling by 23.3% to just 545 units. In reality, urgent disposal of legacy Euro 3 stock made these figures deeply unconvincing, writes financial editor Roger Willis.

Large numbers were likely to have been bulk preregistrations outside of manufacturer derogation limits. Others were probably associated distress discounting. Widespread anecdotal evidence from dealers backed up such assertions. Wildly divergent registration performances from individual brands in top-ten rankings against November last year gave the game away too.

Yamaha was almost dead flat, posting a tiny 0.1% improvement. Kawasaki managed a modest 3.5% rise. BMW lost 4.7%, despite achieving leadership of both Adventure Sport and Touring style categories. And front-running Chinese marque Lexmoto was 18% down, a second big consecutive monthly fall suggesting it had already destocked Euro 3 left-overs through orderly inventory management.

Elsewhere, competitors were apparently partying as if there was no tomorrow. Triumph and Piaggio respectively stacked on 27.7% and 25.7%. Harley-Davidson was an amazing 48% up. Suzuki sharply reversed recent misfortunes with 13.9% growth.

And KTM was utterly spectacular. Its monthly registrations suddenly climbed by 162%, elevating Austria’s finest to brief stardom as third-largest brand in the UK behind Honda and Yamaha. It more than doubled market share to 9.7%. The KTM 690 Enduro R was also hailed as top bike in the 651-1000cc engine band, usurping Yamaha’s best-selling MT-07 from status it had held last month and as far back as November 2015. Unbelievable!

Further amusing autumnal abberations could be discovered in various slots. The Turismo Leggera 200 from Scomadi, a virtually invisible niche retro scooter brand, headed up the 126-650cc engine band for the second month in a row. Keeway’s Superlight performed a similar feat in the Custom style category.

For the 11 months of 2016 to date, motorcycles are 7% up to 83,981 units. Scooters have risen by 14.5% to 24,890 units. Mopeds are 9.5% down to 7898 units. Total registrations are ahead by 7.1% at 117,654 units. To what extent ongoing bargain-basement behaviour inspired by Euro 3 exit tactics will destabilise the market going forward into 2017 has to be a matter for considerable conjecture.  

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