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Trend in Motorcycle Sales Looks Set to Change - May 10th 2005

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    Motorcycle statistics suggest an upturn in motorcycle sales is on its way. Overall, the whole market is showing 7% growth for April 05 compared to April 04 and the year-to-date figure is just 2% behind this time last year. Figures show the rate of decline in the moped market has eased with moped scooters down by less than 1% on April 2004. This is welcome news and may be linked to the continued decline in new car sales.

    The strongest performance is coming from Naked, Adventure and Custom machines. All this can be read as continued evidence of a shift in the market toward machines which are characterised by their versatility and long-range or off-the-beaten-track appeal. SportTour bikes and Scooters, which were the first to start to show difficulty back in 1999/ 2000 are now also showing signs of recovery.

    The Trail/Enduro sector appears to be recovering from its recent wobble but recent news of DEFRA attacks on off-road motorcycling may well jeopardise this. The recent announcement that farmers who are using land for motor sport will not be able to claim their Single Payment Scheme (SPS) subsidies means that many off-road events are now under threat and the MCI is concerned that this is turn will have a knock on effect on motorcycle sales. The slowest markets to recover seem to be the 651-1000cc engine band and the SuperSport machines.

    Craig Carey-Clinch MCI's Director of Public Affairs said, "Although there is scope for cautious optimism that we may see a turn around in the market during 2005, champagne corks are hardly about to start popping at dealerships. However, MCI is hopeful that these early indications of a recovery will turn into good news for the trade and industry later in the year.

    Unfortunately, the effect of the SPS administrative ban of many off-road motorsport activities is likely to be felt at dealer level which is why MCI has strongly supported the Land Access and recreational Association (LARA) campaign to get the SPS rules changed -- with 10,000 recently donated to LARA to help fund legal action against DEFRA."