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REGISTRATIONS RACE AHEAD IN AUGUST

August is traditionally a quieter period for the trade, with registrations about a third lower than in July owing to the holiday season’s climax and September’s imminent new-plate boost. Despite extraordinary circumstances, there has been no exception to this rule in 2020. However, strong market recovery was unabated. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

According to latest MCIA data, total numbers rose by 31.2% to 9087. Motorcycles were 28.3% up to 6252, scooters stacked on 43.9% at 2102, mopeds added 22.9% to 654 and trikes improved by 38.6% to 79.

Star turn is, of course, rampant success for the industry’s self-isolating budget commuter marketing strategy, of which BDN was an early advocate way back in March. As we had anticipated, the 51-125cc sector is now comfortably ahead of last year’s game — having risen by 4.2% over the eight months of 2020 to date with a chart-topping 43.9% gain during August. Its share of overall YTD registrations is now running at 35.9%.

Lexmoto’s LXR125SY has been duking it out versus the Honda CB125F for winning motorcycle accolade in that class. Honda’s PCX125 is dominating the scooter category, which has also climbed on a year-to-date basis by an almost equally impressive 3.2% and was an identical 43.9% higher as 51-125cc stuff in the most recent month.

Mopeds have taken advantage of the ride-to-work proposition too, now only 1.3% in arrears YTD. And although it’s unclear how the MCIA arrives at different figures for the 0-50cc sector, the latter is actually positive by 4.6%. In both, Lexmoto products are perennial leaders.

However, larger-capacity machines are doing less well. The 126-650cc band put on a useful 22.2% in August but was still 17.2% behind the YTD break-even curve. Royal Enfield’s bargain-priced 650 Interceptor retained its sector leadership status for another month and is evidently holding the gong for sub-1000cc YTD motorcycling champion.

Dunce’s hat belonged to 651-1000cc kit, posting the lowest monthly increase of 15.2% and the furthest adrift YTD, 23.3% down. Over-1000cc machines did better, putting on 27.8% in August but nevertheless languishing 21.6% down across the eight months.

Performance by major individual manufacturers during August varied, as inventory shortages began to chime in for some. Front-ranking Honda posted 17.8% growth, followed by runner-up Yamaha on 22% and Lexmoto with 22.9%. Off the podium, Kawasaki in fourth spot enjoyed its more muscular 50.9% rise. KTM completed the famous five thanks to a 26.4% improvement.

Sixth-placed BMW Mottorrad delivered an impressive 52.9% increase, to sneer at rival Triumph’s meagre 2.1% lift in seventh. For the latter, stock famine issues were allegedly to the fore. Suzuki came next in line with full bragging rights, due to a 71.7% upwards lunge (albeit from a very low base in the same month last year). However, reliable informants suggest it won’t have many boxes left to meet plaintive dealer orders going forward into September and beyond. Piaggio resurfaced to make a guest appearance in ninth from an even lower base last August. Harley-Davidson on the bottom rung suffered the ignominy of a 0.7% decline.

At the moment, we have a tale of two YTD markets. Those ride-to-work Coronavirus dodgers up to 125cc have improved by 4.3% to 28,716, while 126cc-plus tackle is 20.8% down on 38,647. Taken together, YTD registrations stand at 67,363, a 11.7% decrease.

Hopefully as usual, September will gift a decent peak-season swansong to close the gap further. What happens after that, when the government’s job retention scheme ends and an unemployment surge savages consumer confidence, is anybody’s guess.    

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