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UPTICK FOR REGISTRATIONS

After three months of remorseless double-digit percentage decline, MCIA statistics covering August surprised with a very mild dose of registrations positivity. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

The traditionally weak monthly total was just 2.7% up to 8841 — an additional 234 machines. Within that, motorcycles added a mere 0.3% to 5821. Scooters rose by 7.6% to 2350 and mopeds put on 7.8% at 597. Trikes grew by 10.6% to 73.

As for capacity classes, up-to-125cc mobility and fleet delivery products improved by 2.9% to 4766. The 126-650cc sector, spanning high-end mobility and smaller enthusiast/leisure machinery, was best performer, 11.7% up at 1586 bikes plated. But large and more profitable 651cc-plus motorcycles suffered, 2.6% down to 2489.

Versus August last year, winners and losers among leading brands were more mixed than usual, as available inventory probably helped some but suckered others. At the sharp end, Honda registered 8% fewer machines. Samples of its top-selling PCX125 scooter accounted for 30.3% of the overall tally. Yamaha fared far worse, 18.6% down, and bragging only of 651-1000cc engine band supremacy thanks to a modest headcount of 62 MT-07 ABS machines.

BMW Motorrad did very well, surging by 24.9%. The brand’s premium-priced R1250GS Adventure — a cash cow if ever there was one — was responsible for a fifth of all BMW registrations during the month, besides winning highest registered style category and over-1000cc engine band accolades. Sworn enemy Triumph, on the other hand, fell by 12%, as its dealers awaited imminent secret-squirrel new model releases. Chinese budget mobility provider Lexmoto also slipped slightly by 2.4%.

A trio of manufacturers with smiles on their faces then followed. KTM climbed by 13.2%. But it was closely pursued on volume and beaten on growth by Royal Enfield, which stacked on 20.9%. Highest-registered respectively in the custom and modern classic categories, Meteor and Classic 350 models took a 53.2% share of Royal Enfield’s market presence.

Trailing a long way behind on numbers, Piaggio nevertheless enjoyed a 22.5% boost. However, it was only one solitary steed ahead of the formerly Italian but now Chinese MotoGB-distributed Benelli brand making a rare chart visit. Ignominiously rounding out the top-ten listings, Kawasaki plunged by 29.9%. The inventory cupboard must be pretty bare in Bourne End.

Although the cost-of-living crisis driven by crazy energy prices has to be putting increased pressure on demand, inadequate supply was still the primary restraint in August. Dealers deserved applause for moving whatever stock they could get through showrooms and into the hands of customers.

But over the eight months of 2022 to date, registrations growth has now deteriorated to 5.9% — 83,821 new bikes on the road. Whether the trade will be sufficiently equipped to meet orders in September’s crucial new-plate bonanza, and whether demand will actually hold up at the present level, are moot points. Don’t hold your breath.    

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