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MAY REGISTRATIONS COUNT THE COST

The darling buds of May failed to blossom for UK new motorcycle registrations, as a burgeoning cost-of-living crisis sapped consumer confidence in discretionary purchases. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Now the distorting effect of Covid lockdowns in Q1 last year no longer hangs over MCIA data, a valid month-on-month comparison saw headline numbers fall by 11% to 11,930. Within that, motorcycles were 12.1% down to 8517. Scooters lost 7.5% at 2720. Mopeds dropped by 10.3% to 602. And, for what it’s worth, trikes were 7.1% in arrears on 91.

Up-to-125cc mobility and fleet delivery sector offerings retreated by 12.2% to 5015 machines. Token stars of that particular show were Lexmoto’s Echo 50 and the Yamaha NMax 125, both scooters at economical price points. Some 395 samples of the latter topped both the scooter and 125cc engine band charts. 

A 126-650cc middleweight mélange of mobility and compact enthusiast products narrowly managed to stay shiny side up by 0.7% at 2391. Single-cylinder 350cc Royal Enfield Meteor and Classic models took sector honours, their combined total of 280 machines also accounting for an 11.7% engine-band market share.

More profitable over-650cc motorcycles were a less edifying prospect, falling by 14.9% to 4524. The 651-1000cc sector was 11.5% down to 2465, headed up by Suzuki’s modestly-priced new GSX-S1000T on a 6% market share. Over-1000cc bikes fell further, by 18.6% to 2059. BMW Motorrad’s top-spec and premium-priced R1250GS Adventure occupied its familiar leadership role. But a tally of only 136 — a 6.6% sector share — highlighted that spread between upmarket brands was thin.

Underlining consumer reluctance to splash out as money gets too tight to mention, the MCIA’s top-ten major brands list was peppered with minus signs, including all three podium sitters. In order of volumetric merit, Honda, Yamaha and Triumph suffered respective 12.9%, 12.2% and 10.5% declines against May last year. BMW in fourth spot plunged by a painful 32.5%.

In stark contrast, budget-conscious brands cashed in. Royal Enfield took fifth place, leaping by 46.6% and only 99 units behind BMW. Lexmoto in sixth, with even cheaper wares, added 38%.

Kawasaki in seventh and KTM in eight respectively incurred 29.6% and 15.2% losses. Tail-ender Ducati was 11.3% down. Suzuki, an absentee from the equivalent chart in May 2021, had resurfaced in ninth thanks to the aforementioned GSX-S1000T — which represented 42% of its entire monthly registrations this time around.

Overall year-to-date numbers, which had been 48.6% up at the end of Q1 and 32.4% higher by April, were still comfortably positive in May. But having now risen by just 19% to 51,440 over five months, a sense of heading in the wrong direction has to be acknowledged. Supply-chain issues affecting available inventory haven’t noticeably worsened and don’t really stand as an excuse.

For the record, YTD motorcycles grew by 18.5% to 36,224, scooters added 20% to 11,839 and mopeds increased by 24% to 3017. Trikes dropped by 6.3% to 360.  

See the full stats here

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