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nmda analyses 2017 registration data

The National Motorcycle Dealers Association says dealers have been shocked by the scale of the 18% decline in registrations during 2017 but says analysis shows it could have been worse.

After studying the figures, NMDA chief Stephen Latham said: “We all expected a decline after the mad last-quarter registrations in 2016 of run-out Euro 3 bikes by the 1 January deadline. It’s just the scale of the decline that surprised many dealers selling low-powered machines.

“So many dealers and manufactures pre-registered bikes that their sale during 2017 distorted the real level of demand in this up-to-125cc market for the year.

“Before we write-off 2017 as a disaster, however, we need to dig deeper to see the underlying traits and how it could affect this year’s sales. Total motorcycle registrations for past years have been as follows;

  • 2017; 105,467
  • 2016; 128,644
  • 2015; 115,121
  • 2014; 101,277

“So, we need to estimate what last year’s true market would have been without the Euro 3 run-out. If we assume it would have been stable and stayed at the previous year’s registration in 2015, of 115,121, that would have meant 13,523 additional machines would have been pre-registered. All these additional licensed motorcycles will have been dumped on the 2017 market, thus supressing demand for new product.

“Then if we estimate the true demand for motorcycle in 2017, again taking the stable market from 2015 of 115,121 registrations and reduce it by the oversupply of pre-registered Euro 3 machines, estimated at 13,523 units, then the projected results for the total 2017 sales could have been worse at just 101,598 new registrations.

“Another way to analyse the true market demand is to remove all registrations up to 125cc for the both years, these being most common pre-registered Euro 3 machines.

This then shows the following result of new motorcycle registrations over 125cc;

  • 2016;              68,977
  • 2017;              65.963
  • Shortfall         3014 (-4.37%)

“I think you will agree with me that a loss in true demand of 4.4% seemed typical of other similar markets, with car registrations showing a decline of 5.7% and van registrations up to 3.5t showing a similar market decline of 3.6% for 2017.

“The reality is that if you force a market by a huge amount in one year you will get an equivalent decline in the following year while the units wash through an oversupplied market.

“Looking to the future, demand should be more regularised and the only fear is uncertainty in the economy over Brexit and further reduction of sterling’s value that could push up retail prices still further.”

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