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MARCH REGISTRATIONS ATTRITION

As anticipated, the worsening Covid-19 crisis and associated progressive lockdown on dealer networks hammered registrations in March. But the impact was ameliorated to a considerable extent by early deliveries of pre-ordered machines wearing the new plate. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

MCIA data for the month showed a 21.6% reduction to total of 13,075 units. Motorcycles were 23.6% down to 10,436. Scooters fell by 14.2% to 2048. Mopeds were 8.1% lower at 497 and trikes slid by 2.1% to 94.

Every style category and meaningful capacity class retreated. Among the latter, over-1000cc bikes took the hardest hit, diving by 26.4% to 3234. The 126-650cc range was 25.3% down to 2813 and 51-125cc stuff dropped by 23.5% to 2920. The 651-1000cc slot did best, if that’s the right word in these circumstances, losing “only” 14.6% to 3524.

The pain for individual brands, compared with their performance in March last year, was unevenly spread. As usual, Honda headed the top-ten chart. However, it also took the most severe punishment, with numbers plummeting by 34.4%. BMW Motorrad as runner-up may well have scooped the Touring, Supersport and Adventure style categories. But in the latter, its best-selling R1250GS gained the accolade with just 272 units — 53.3% fewer than it shifted to claim the same gong 12 months earlier. And the brand’s overall tally was 34.1% down. 

Yamaha in third place fell by 19.4%. Kawasaki and Triumph, respectively completing the top five, were in arrears by 11.4% and 9.5% — granting Britain’s flag-carrier the dubious accolade of least-afflicted chart participant. 

KTM in sixth also got off relatively well, losing 11.3%. Suzuki, on the other hand, plunged by 32.8% in seventh. Lexmoto followed, breaking its recent string of chart gains with a 15.8% retreat. Harley-Davidson in ninth was another major loser, on a 30% decline. Tail-ender Ducati copped a 22% loss.

For the year to date, registrations are now 12.2% down on 23,828. The real agony will start to feature in April’s statistics, given that every dealership in the UK is supposed to have bolted its showroom doors. That monthly bottom line could be close to zero. 

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