Sales of new motorcycles in April increased by 7%. Whilst positive news, experts at Glass’s continue to advise caution. Paul McDonald, Glass’s Leisure Vehicles Editor said, “Registration growth for the first quarter of 2019 was no doubt great news for the industry. However, whilst sales grew further in April, it is worth noting that registrations in April 2018 were 13.1% behind those in 2017, which were 16% behind 2016.
The dealer view of April was that demand was stronger than last year. A number of manufacturers are offering low rate finance packages, which has helped boost sales. However, the political backdrop continues to cause concern among some dealers who believe sales are suffering due to reduced consumer confidence.
April 2019 Highlights
● Five out of the nine categories record growth
● Two growth categories feature strong selling models including:
○ BMW R1250 GS Adventure
○ Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
● Mopeds enjoyed the most significant growth
● Adventure market continues to be buoyant
Hot YTD in April
● Honda PCX125 was top of the table
● BMW R1250 GS was runner up
● The re-introduced Royal Enfield Interceptor is a strong seller
● Kawasaki Z1000 SX continues to be an impressive performer
What can the industry expect moving forward?
The season is now well established and despite the political backdrop, it has performed better than 2018. In contrast to last year, the mild and dry late winter and early spring has no doubt helped boost the industry. As new models arrive in dealerships and with summer fast approaching, the hope is that positivity will continue.
Most recent feedback from dealers suggests demand continues to be stronger than last year, with a number of respondents enjoying a buoyant season. However, a few dealers had a quieter April than hoped, possibly due to Easter. Although the political backdrop continues to be a concern for many, generally dealers are experiencing little negativity and believe consumers are not prepared to wait for a delayed Brexit, before they commit to spend.
●Honda VFR800 machines are solid performers
●Yamaha MT ranges are a popular choice
●Kawasaki ZX-10 has been impressive recently
●Quality 125cc machines sell strongly for many
Although a slight majority of dealers held the view that stock availability was broadly in line with last year, a high percentage reported it to be more difficult, potentially hindering sales. As a result, dealers are more proactive, actively searching for stock and not only relying on part exchanges. According to a few respondents, the rise in machines sold to overseas buyers is having a negative impact on availability, too. However, it was not all bad news, particularly for dealers with reliable industry contacts, who have reportedly been able to find quality stock at satisfactory levels.
Opinions on dealers’ own stock levels was that they were broadly in line with last year, so proactivity has helped maintain levels. However, despite the majority of respondents holding the view that their levels were correct for demand, a significant percentage felt they were low.
Late April and early May provided some changeable weather conditions. Despite this, it has been predominantly dry, so riding conditions have remained fine overall. With summer fast approaching and the likelihood of some nice weather, most dealers are hopeful that demand will increase. In June’s edition of Glass’s data, the majority of values have been held, except where trade feedback or evidence from the market place has indicated further adjustment where necessary.