Motorcycle Market Update

Paul McDonald

19 Oct 2018, Editorial

Registrations record a modest growth in September, used more variable

According to the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), registrations once again recorded growth in September, albeit small at 2.2% compared to the 9.3% uplift in August. The year to date position remains at 2.2% ahead of last year. The market has been rather erratic this year, with some months recording decent growth, whilst others have not been so good. However, latest feedback from dealer visits suggested that demand was broadly in line or stronger than last year, which is good news.

Although autumn has so far produced a degree of typical wet and windy conditions, the overall dry theme from the fantastic summer has continued, providing good riding conditions. This will no doubt help to extend the season, especially if this lasts into November. However, whilst challenges continue to hinder the market, namely the political landscape and high insurance premiums, there are some great manufacturer finance packages available, including low rate subsidised PCP deals making it a good time to purchase new machines.

2017 vs 2018

  • Following the largest growth in August at 28.4%, scooters experienced smaller growth in September at 3.7%
  • Sport/tourers recorded the most growth in September, increasing 34%, these sell in relatively low numbers
  • Naked machines maintain growth with an increase of 19.2% and are now the strongest year to date seller, with an upturn of 10.1%
  • Following a period of decline, supersports recorded an uplift of 9.3%
  • For the third month in a row, adventure sports recorded a downturn, this time by a substantial 15.1%
  • Despite touring machines enjoying growth in August, registrations declined in September. These machines are sensitive to changes due to low volume sales
  • Mopeds once again recorded a downturn and at 19.3%, this was the largest decline of all sectors

What was hot in September?

  • The well received KTM 790 Duke
  • Suzuki GSX-S125 is a strong seller
  • Honda PCX125 continues its success
  • Kawasaki Z1000SX remains a popular machine
  • BMW GS Adventure models are still strong

What can the industry expect moving forward?

In this current Economic climate, it is hard to predict how the new market is likely to fair during the next couple of months. However, taking into account current manufacturer deals, this will certainly help boost late season sales. If November and December’s weather is kind and we avoid too many winter storms, this will bode well for the industry. However, the current view remains that 2018 will likely finish a little ahead of 2017.

Used Market

The used market has generally been buoyant for some time now. However, recent feedback from dealer visits was more negative, with an increased number of respondents holding the view that business was not as good as this time last year. One possible reason could be improved manufacturer offers including low monthly payment PCP deals. This has likely encouraged more customers to look at purchasing new rather than used. The market has by no means been poor however, with a small majority of dealers holding the opinion that the market was broadly in line or even stronger than last year.

Vast ranges of machines continue to be popular, with the adventure market remaining particularly buoyant. Some dealers held the view that Honda Africa Twins are a strong used choice as well as new. Sports machines in the £2-4,000 price bracket are attracting healthy demand, whilst 125cc machines continue to be sought-after.

It was better news regarding stock availability with the majority of respondents holding the view that it had improved recently. A number of dealers have seen an increase in part exchanges, whilst the recent trend of increasing amounts of machines returning to the market at the end of PCP contracts continues. In addition, the quality of the machines is generally of a high standard. However, despite the recent improvements in this area, a number of dealers still report difficulty locating quality stock with low mileage.

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.