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glass's guide predicts 2019 will be 'challenging'

Glass’s Guide notes that 2018 was “another tough year” for the motorcycle industry, with a number of factors hitting the market, and 2019 looks set to be “another challenging year”.

Adding new insight into sales performance, plus analysis and predictions, leisure vehicles editor Paul McDonald writes:

Motorcycle registrations in December were 18% down compared with 2017, according to data from the MCIA. The full year total of 105,169 showed negliable growth of 0.5%.

In view of 2017 finishing 18% behind 2016, 2018 was clearly another tough year for the industry. There are a number of factors adversely effecting the market including the current Westminster wranglings with Brussels hampering consumer confidence, rising prices and increasingly expensive insurance premiums.

Dealer feedback on December’s sales performance was mixed. Despite registrations being behind 2017, there were reports of improved sales rates, with some experiencing a better start to January. However, most dealers agree that 2019 is likely to be a tough year resulting is a similar registration total to 2018.

2018 market highlights 

  • Six out of nine categories recorded growth
  • Two growth categories contain strong selling models including:
    • Kawasaki Z900RS
    • Honda PCX125
  • Mopeds recorded the largest decline

December Highlights

  • Scooters enjoyed another healthy upturn
  • Following significant decline in November, Adventure sports grew modestly in December
    • The impact of year end pre-registrations for both Scooters and Adventure Sports cannot be ruled out
    • after a period of growth, Nakeds recorded a significant decline

?    Mopeds suffered significant decline in December


Hot in December

  • Honda PCX125 continues to lead
  • Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin remains buoyant
  • BMW R1200 GS Adventure still a popular choice
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX a great seller for many
  • Yamaha NMAX 125 is in strong demand

What can the industry expect moving forward?

2019 is certainly going to be another challenging year for the industry, with economic uncertainty continuing as the planned Brexit date fast approaches. Much depends on the outcome of Brexit, and as the year progresses the economic climate could start to settle. Despite the industry’s challenges, a range of exciting new models will arrive in the spring, so there is plenty to look forward to during the next few months. With the UK enjoying a great summer last year, this could also encourage newcomers to the industry. With the upcoming Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show hosted at Excel from the 15th to 17th February, this will no doubt help boost interest further.

Used Market

Feedback from recent dealer visits suggests demand for used motorcycles in December was broadly in line with last year. Consumer confidence remains low, unsurprising in view of the political landscape. Although this is likely to have less of an impact on the used market than new, it would be naïve not to expect it to have any effect during the next few months.

Broad ranges of machines continue their popularity. The adventure market remains buoyant, so do two to three year old Japanese bikes. Lower value machines are in strong demand, perhaps highlighting narrower spending budgets. Demand for late machines continues to suffer, resulting from the increased popularity of PCP deals making new purchases a more attractive option

What was hot in December?

  • Yamaha MT range performed especially well.
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX attracted strong demand
  • Triumph Bonneville and Street Twins are a popular choice 

In terms of stock availability, the majority of dealers suggest that it was broadly in line with last year. However, some dealers continue to report difficulty in sourcing quality machines in the market whilst a small number of respondents have noticed increased enquiries from European traders at the end of last year. This is similar to what occurred during the last recession.

Paul McDonald, Leisure Vehicles Editor


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