Overall registration figures of motorcycle, mopeds and scooters were up eight percent for the year to date in March 2006. Year to date statistics for motorcycle registrations saw a notable increase of nine percent, scooters increased by five percent and mopeds remained stable.
- March 05-06: 13%
- Year to date: 9%
- March 05-06: 10%
- Year to date: 9%
- March 05-06: -1%
- Year to date: 0%
The three sectors that have seen the most growth year to date are Custom (33%), Naked (20%) and Trail/ Enduro ( 15%) and interestingly these are sectors where there has been notable China-brand penetration. Nearly half of Scooters ( 125cc and under),Trail/ Enduro and custom bikes registered are Chinese brands.
UK imports of motorcycles from China have increased dramatically in recent years and China claims to produce 50% of the world supply of motorcycles. UK market penetration by these brands has increased significantly over the last five years and now account for 12% overall, mostly in mopeds and motorcycles under 125cc where they account for 25% of the road bike market.
Chinese brand machine distribution in the UK appears to employ direct marketing and e-trading techniques more than the established brands and does not have the same reliance on dealer showroom networks compared to established brands. This may provide at least partial explanation to comment from trade sources that UK registration figures do not reflect trends seen in the showrooms, especially for smaller capacity machines.
The used-bike market is another growth area of sales. In 2003, there was a noteworthy 14.9% increase in the number of used bikes sold. Since then, growth has slipped, but second-hand sales are still increasing year on year.
Trade sources also report that a number of manufacturers were running special offers in March, including finance deals, free servicing and offers on merchandise including helmets, all which will have contributed to this months notable growth.
Craig Carey-Clinch, MCI's Director of Public Affairs said, "The number of motorcycles sold since 2004 has remained relatively stable and the used market is buoyant. The number of unregistered competition machines and the recent growth in MUPPs suggest there is still a strong interest in motorcycling in all its forms.
"There are hundreds of manufacturers in China producing a vast array of bikes and scooters, which means they may not often appear in the top five sellers, but this is changing and in March 2006 Chinese brands appeared in the top five Custom and Trail/Enduro bikes.
"Clearly, people have aspirations to own motorcycles and scooters and British based companies can now capitalise on this demand, that has been partly stimulated by cheaper Chinese models."