After a growing, albeit modestly improving market it was disappointing to see a registrations decline of 2% this October, writes Stephen Latham, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association.
This year-to-date market is still showing modest improvement over last year of 1.7% in the first 10 months of 2018. In numbers terms this means 94,523 motorcycles have gone on the road compared with 92,912 units last year.
The moped market (sub 50cc) has been in decline for some time and in October was down 27.2% and down 21.9% year to date.
The biggest decline in this power sector is with scooters, and this could result from the perceived threat from violence and crime communicated by the media, but this has not reflected on larger powered scooters. They saw growth of 7.2% in the month and are up 4.5% year to date.
It does seem that this epidemic of mindless crime is reducing since the police were given new powers to pursue and capture these culprits irrespective of whether they were wearing helmets or not.
In the sector model types, “naked bikes” have done well over the past few years and in volume terms this is now the biggest single sector, recording 10.9% growth in October and running at 10.2% growth for the year, making it the largest single style of machine purchased, equating to 33.8% of all motorcycles sold so far in 2018.
Popularity of engine size has moved down this year with the biggest growth coming from the 126cc – 650cc power range. This is a clear indication that younger and new entrants are buying machines following the change in licensing regulations introduced a few years ago.
As we all know, 125cc machines still dominate the market, representing nearly one-third of all PTWs sold, and the best seller throughout this year has been the Honda PCX 125, closely followed by the Yamaha NMAX 125.
While there are not huge margins to be earned from sales of these machines, it’s important to remember they generally represent new customers joining the biking community and are probably our future buyer/riders for bigger powered machines that make our retail bike-shops profitable.