Metropolis Motorcycles, a flagship multi-franchise London dealership, is to close its doors tonight, according to multiple unconfirmed reports.
The closure, and claims that sales were down 60% because of the scooter crime epidemic in the capital, could not be confirmed because director Ian Waldock was not returning calls. It is therefore not clear whether the dealership is moving premises, from the railway arches on the Albert Embankment, or closing its doors for good.
The Metropolis website describes the business as an “independent, privately owned and ideally located central London dealerships which caters for everyone from the first-time scooter buyer to those of you who have been living and breathing bikes for years”.
Its 10,000sq.ft showroom houses individual areas for a claimed 11 leading brands on the market, including Honda, Ducati Kawasaki, Yamaha, Triumph, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki.
As BDN reported in June of this year, Metropolis closed its Barnet branch on 28 April. A statement at the time said: “It is with sadness that due to disappointing trading and rising costs in an increasingly competitive market, we have had to close the Barnet Branch of Metropolis Motorcycles Ltd. The Vauxhall branch remains open.”
That left the Vauxhall site, located beneath railway arches, as the company’s sole dealership and, at 10,000sq.ft, is one of the biggest single-site operations in the country.
Another factor may be rising costs. Network Rail recently raised rents for its railway arches portfolio, then sold it off. The new owners are reported to be seeking further rent rises.
Our June story about Metropolis reported that sales were “going OK” at the beginning of May. “The bike theft problem in London has been having a bit of an impact on the industry as a whole,” a spokesman said, “and the bad weather in April slowed things down but it’s picking up quite nicely now.”
The motorcycle dealership at Barnet opened in 1987 and sold Hondas for 25 years. Latterly it stocked Ducati.