The motorcycle industry ended 2006 positively, with motorcycle registrations on a par with 2005. Despite initial concerns that the industry would experience a decline, just over 133,000 machines were registered, compared to 132,083 in 2005. This compares favourably to the 3.9% fall in new car registrations during 2006.
December 2006 saw a notable increase compared to the same month in 2005 with an 11% increase in registrations - the biggest gains were in Custom (20.7%) and Sport Tourer (10.7%) sectors. Scooters also benefited from a 4% increase in December.
The market share for Scooter sector is essentially unchanged at 30%, this sector probably held steady due to the growth of far eastern branded models. Sports bikes also remain static at 35%, but this sector could be more resilient as Chinese models do not currently influence registrations. Dual/Sport models are down on 2005, but still up on 2004, suggesting the 'Long Way Round' effect continues to boost this sector. The Custom sector growth benefited established brands, but also reflected the impact of Chinese 125cc models in that style.
Based on figures currently available from DVLA, up to the end of last September, MCI estimates that the number of used bike transactions fell by 2% in 2006 to 462,000 from 472,000 in 2005.However, they are still an important part of the whole industry and the high numbers demonstrate that there is still a strong interest in motorcycling.
This means that in 2006, over 600,000 new and used motorcycles changed hands, indicating that the overall motorcycle market in the UK remains vibrant, as interest in this polluting and congestion busting mode of transport continues to be sustained.
Throughout the year the industry has been involved in some commendable activities promoting motorcycling and safer road use. The launch of the educational product 'Links - Connecting Citizenship and Road User Education' and the ACEM Motorcycling Handbook for Road Planners and Engineers - 'PTW - Safer Road Design in Europe' at Inter-Traffic Conference in Amsterdam got the year rolling.
The MCI also became a signatory of the European Road Safety Charter to demonstrate its commitment and participate in actions that aim to reduce the number of road casualties by working with others.
Finally, prestigious recognition was also bestowed on the MCI at the end of the year with a coveted Prince Michael Road Safety Award.
Craig Carey-Clinch, MCI's Director of Public Affairs said, "The year has been a challenging one for the industry and although the market has reached a stable plateau over the last two years this can be partly attributed to the growth in Far Eastern brands which are swelling the up to 125cc sector.
"Interest in motorcycling remains strong as people turn to two-wheels to avoid dramatic increases in public transport charges and avoid growing congestion, particularly in cities. Given the fall in new car registrations, industry can take heart from the fact that motorcycling as a proportion of the new UK vehicle fleet is growing, albeit slowly. However, the economic climate is delicate and as people have faced rises in taxation, bills, general expenses and interest rises on mortgages people have less disposable income to buy new.
"The challenge in 2007 is to cast the net wider and attract new riders from outside the traditional market base, and promote the benefits of two-wheels to a broader spectrum of people from commuters to CBT holders who haven't taken the plunge for a full licence. The outrageous cost of public transport and ever rising traffic congestion means that motorcycling increasingly stands out as the only viable mode for many kinds of practical journeys and is simply second to none for weekend leisure and long distance touring enjoyment.
"The variety of bikes is so diverse that there is something for everyone and as what passes for a Government transport policy falls further into chaos, now is the time to attract a new generation of riders.
"The industry also warmly welcomes the recognition it has received from the road safety community for its motorcycle safety work, in particular, signatory status to the European Commission Road Safety Charter demonstrates a particular milestone to safer and more sustainable motorcycling. PTW casualties in the UK are falling and this is in part due to commitment from industry in partnership with a range of safety stakeholders, including the Government."