Motorcycle Market Update Dec 18

Paul McDonald

20 Dec 2018, Editorial

Lacklustre registration results mix with used stability in November

According to the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), November registrations declined 2.2% for two wheelers. Perhaps unsurprising in view of the current political landscape. However, the year to date position at the end of November stands 1.6% ahead of last year. Feedback from dealer visits and subscribers participating in the Glass’s quarterly survey indicated demand was behind the same period last year.


  • Three out of nine categories recorded growth
  • Two of the categories were volume sellers (scooters and nakeds)
  • These categories contain strong selling models including
    • Honda PCX125 scooter
    • Kawasaki Z900RS retro naked
    • Following Adventure Sports growth in October this category recorded significant decline of 19.3%


Winter has arrived, and this year’s season closes with many dealers looking forward to the new 2019 season. Motorcycle Live 2018 gave some pointers on how the new season may unfold. Staged at the NEC in Birmingham, the UK motorcycle industry show ran between the 17th and 25th November.  The final attendance was 103,702 motorcycling fans over 9 days.

There was a great turnout of exhibitors with impressive stands contributing towards a buzzing atmosphere. With plenty for visitors to do including indoor shows and all the exciting new machines to view complemented by equally impressive accessory stands.

Speaking to manufacturers, most held the view that 2018 was a tough year for the industry, a result of economic factors affecting consumer confidence and encouraging cautious spending. There was mixed feedback regarding yearly sales, few reported growth however most suggested target achievement.

With the likely continuation of a volatile political landscape into next year, manufacturers are understandably cautious. However, there is some optimism for 2019 with strong range line-ups and healthy levels of interest in the new models at the show.

Hot in November

  • Kawasaki Z1000SX continues to be a strong seller
  • Honda PXC125 continues to be buoyant
  • BMW R1200 GS Adventure
  • Yamaha MT range remains a popular choice
  • Suzuki GSX-S125 continues to sell well

What can the industry expect moving forward?

With one month of 2018 remaining and year to date registrations 1.6% ahead of 2017, the current view remains that a modest growth versus 2017 is likely. Year-end typically sees an increase in pre-registrations as manufacturers and dealers prepare for the new season, however lower sales during Q4 could trigger increases in pre-registrations, although these are not likely to be on the same level as at the end of 2016.

Looking ahead to 2019, current opinion suggests a similar story to 2018. The main reason; ongoing economic uncertainty. However, there is a chance that consumer confidence could improve later in the year, depending on the outcome of Brexit. Despite these issues, there is plenty to look forward to, with launches of some very exciting machines including the new Suzuki Katana.

2019 Suzuki Katana


Used Market

The majority of feedback from dealer visits and subscribers participating in Glass’s latest quarterly survey suggests demand is broadly in line with last year. Within the responses, dealers advised that demand was strongest for lower value machines, especially those over 5 years of age. This is a product of the current heavy discounts available on new models, making new models a more attractive alternative to younger used stock.

What was hot in November?

  • Adventure market success continues
  • Strong performance from naked machines
  • Triumph Street Triple and Tiger 800 selling well
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX remains popular
  • Smaller capacity machines remain sought after across all categories

In terms of stock availability, most dealers hold the view that it is broadly the same as last year. There are signs that depleted stock levels are recovering in some areas, the result of increasing amounts of machines returning to the market at the end of PCP contracts.

Finally, all at Glass’s would like to wish you Season’s Greetings and we hope that you have a prosperous new year!

About the author

Paul McDonald

Paul McDonaldLeisure Editor

Paul has worked for Glass's since 2001 in various customer and vehicle valuation orientated roles, before becoming Leisure Editor just over a year ago. In his current role, he's responsible for keeping up to date with conditions and trends in the Motorcycle and Touring Caravan markets so we can provide accurate and reliable values to our subscribers. This means he's out and about a lot visiting dealers, manufacturers and auctions as well as analysing observation data.