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third consecutive fall masks glimmer of good news

Although there was a seasonal surge driven by the first 2017 plate change, the UK powered two-wheeler market declined again during March for a third month on the trot. Total volume was 12.6% down to 14,531 units. Mopeds and scooters took the hardest hits, respectively falling by 29.3% and 26.9%. Motorcycles lost 8.5%. 

Nevertheless, that reduced tally of 11,780 motorcycles masked some good news. Over-1000cc registrations were 6.9% up, taking a hunky 27.3% overall market share. There were three distinct stars enjoying the limelight — all brands concentrating on large-capacity enthusiast products set to take best advantage of the plate change. BMW led spectacularly, its monthly registrations climbing by 24.5%. BMW models also topped a trio of style categories, plus both 651-1000cc and over-1000cc engine bands. Triumph turned in a splendid performance too, rising by 14.9%, with help from the new Bonneville Bobber taking Custom leadership. Ducati suddenly jumped up on to the MCIA’s top-10 radar as well.

But for every other manufacturer featured in the MCIA chart, prospects were pessimistic to a greater or lesser extent. Honda maintained market leadership but bodycount fell by 3.5%. Yamaha crashed out of second, dropping 15%, and only hung on to third place with just 127 units ahead of Triumph. Kawasaki suffered a minor slide of 0.4% in fifth. Harley-Davidson was a long way behind in sixth, 10.4% down. After a flash of optimism from Ducati’s debut, eighth, ninth and tenth were on the road to ruin. In that running order, Suzuki plunged by 44.3%, KTM by 26.4% and Piaggio by 32.4%.

Noting this latest monthly registrations retreat is the smallest so far in 2017, after 15.6% in January and 21.6% in February, spin doctors will probably try to gloss over the fact that we’re still going backwards in double-digit percentages. If April isn’t significantly better, thanks to a new stock influx and lines drawn under Euro 3 derogation calamities, their excuses will have to stop.

Full stats here



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