March registrations growth
Registration data released by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) show 15,118 registrations in March this year, 4.9% ahead of March 2017. This compares favourably to the figures for February 2018 when total registrations were only 1.2% ahead of 2017.
The changeable UK weather has seen February’s ‘beast from the east’ compounded by March’s ‘mini beast from the east’, producing snow days and rainfall. Riding conditions in Q1 have been poor. It is therefore impressive that March registrations experienced growth over 2017. Despite growth, dealers report suppressed demand during March due to the weather. Encouraged by the April sunshine, dealers are hopeful April will continue positively.
March 2018 vs 2017 summary
- Custom sector strongest growth in March at 22.3% vs 2017
- Scooters increase of 14.2% vs 2017
- Naked bikes experienced an upturn of 8% vs 2017
- Mopeds continue to decline in March 36.4% down vs 2017
Mixed Market Feedback
Despite positive registrations in March, we have mixed feedback from subscriber visits and respondents to our online survey. Although 28% of dealers held the view that demand had increased, 72% said demand was either about the same or weaker in March 2018. A number of dealers blamed the downturn on the weather, while others blame the longer-term issue of economic uncertainty. However, it is not all bad news with some dealers describing Q1 2018 sales as impressive and ahead of the same period last year.
Some dealers report increased discounts in an attempt to generate more demand. Mixed feedback on customer finance penetration, but it appears to be in line with last year. Meanwhile, reported stock levels are healthier than last year.
What was hot in March?
- Signs the Triumph Bobber Black will follow the footsteps of the Bobber
- Impressive sales of the new Harley Davidson Sport Glide
- The Triumph Tiger 800 and 1200 continue to generate high levels of interest consistent with the adventure market’s performance
- The Yamaha MT continue their success
- 125cc scooters sold well in line with the sector’s recent signs of recovery
Challenges continue with mixed trade feedback
Despite the late spring, registration growth continued in March. However, with mixed trade feedback it will be interesting to see how April’s registrations total. Overall, the signs are positive but the industry must remain proactive to deliver a strong 2018.