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Commuter Interest Holds as Cold Weather & Utility Bill Cost Increases Dampen February's Motorcycle Market - March 9th 2006

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    Figures released by the Motor Cycle Industry Association today show that 4,814 new motorcycles were registered for the road during February 2006, 6.3% fewer than in February 2005. This brings the year-to-date total for 2006 to 11,380 new bike registrations, 2.4% higher than in 2005. The February car registrations were down 1.4% on January, but 9.75% year to date.

    February saw a decline in almost all sectors of the market, with only the Adventure Sport and Custom styles continuing to grow.

    Honda motorcycles and scooters dominate the 125cc sector with six of the current top-ten models, whilst the top-sellers in the over 1,000cc sector, BMWs R1200GS and Harley-Davidsons FXD Dyna Super-Glide, are also the top-selling Adventure Sport and Custom bikes. The top-selling individual model, Piaggo's Zip 50 moped, demonstrates the enduring popularity of Scooters which accounted for more than 4 out ten new bikes registered in February.

    One of the emerging stories of the last year is the expansion of Chinese-brands into the small bike sector. Chinese brand-names now appear on around a quarter of mopeds and motorcycles under 125cc.

    MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said "The extended cold snap in February was enough to keep many people out of the showrooms. Couple this with news of massive hikes in gas prices and impending inflation-busting council tax bills and the buying public can at best be described as cautious when it comes to deciding when it is best to buy a new bike in 2006. All eyes will now be on March, with spring fast approaching and new models appearing in the showrooms, there are clearly many reasons for visits to dealerships.

    Registration figures indicate traffic congestion has a positive impact on motorcycle sales. With increases of 8% since January in London, 36% in Merseyside and 23% in Greater Manchester, the move towards motorcycling as the modern, cost and time conscious commuter's choice shows no sign of abating."