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Steady as she goes for UK bike market

Motor Cycle Industry Association exit data for the full 12 months of 2012 has confirmed that powered two-wheeler market volume is stagnant. But at least it’s not shrinking anymore.

Registrations for the year amounted to 93,667 units, just 0.2 per cent (representing a marginal 182 units) down on the 2011 total. However changing model mix indicates another significant reduction in overall market value as the 51-125cc band grew by 8.5 per cent to 35,494 units at the expense of retreat in every other capacity slot. These smaller, budget-priced machines now constitute almost 40 per cent of the entire market.

Clear winner at the headline numbers game was Honda, up by 12.1 per cent to 16,394 units, to lead the UK market with a 17.5 per cent share. Yamaha was runner-up, down by 3.3 per cent to 10,764 units. Triumph took bottom step on the podium, losing 4.5 per cent at 7492 units – although it once again dominated the lucrative over-500cc bracket.

BMW Motorrad came fourth, dropping by 4.4 per cent to 5554 units. Piaggio completed the top five, adding 0.5 per cent to 5315 units. However, if you add in the other Piaggio Group brands (Aprilia, Derbi, Gilera and Moto Guzzi), resulting in a total of 7828 units, that company could claim to knock Triumph off third spot.

Rounding out the top ten, Kawasaki was sixth, down 7.6 per cent on 4723 units. Suzuki was seventh, with a marked 17 per cent decline to just 4366 units. The Chinese brand Lexmoto raised its head in eighth, stacking on almost 60 per cent with 3606 units. Harley-Davidson managed ninth, dropping by 13.9 per cent to 3219 units. And finally tenth place was snatched by KTM, thanks to a 27 per cent surge at 3070 units. Given this Austrian concern leads the unregistered off-road motorcycle market by a massive amount, it actually did somewhat better than that.

Beyond that are some honourable mentions. Peugeot boasted an 11.1 per cent improvement to 2458 units. Despite a 16.7 per cent drop, Taiwanese brand SYM still achieved 2197 units. And another Chinese interloper, Direct Bikes, was up by 2.2 per cent to 2082 units.

A clearer picture of who is benefiting the most from 51-125cc growth can be deduced by glancing through the plethora of further brands from China. The sum of that lot definitely suggests the commuter world is turning Chinese at an increasingly rapid rate.

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