MOTORCYCLE and scooter sales were up for 2016, according to the Motorcycle Industry Association.
Total registrations for new motorcycles, scooters and mopeds rose by 11.7 per cent last year. A total of 128,644 new machines were registered between January and December, compared with 115,121 for 2015.
It follows news from the SMMT that registrations in the car industry increased by 2.3 per cent over the same period, with 2,692,786 vehicles registered in 2016.
Commuter sized bikes (50–125cc) saw the largest rise, with nearly 40 per cent of all new bikes sold from this category. The most popular style of bike was ‘naked’, with 35,651 new registrations, followed by ‘scooter’ with 27,482 units. These are both styles that are popular with commuters, underlining a trend towards bikes bought for utility and commuter use.
The leisure market also performed well, with the popularity of bikes aimed at adventure and trail riders accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the total new market.
Before December, new registrations had achieved a steady 7-8 per cent increase throughout the year, recovering well after a dip following the Brexit referendum. While December is normally a quiet month for motorcycle sales, in 2016 the month saw an unusually high number of registrations, most likely thanks to dealers, manufacturers and importers managing Euro 3 motorcycles before the end-of-year deadline. The motor industry meanwhile saw a mild contraction year-on-year in December, with a 1.1 per cent drop in new car registrations.
The rise in new registrations is reflected in the used market too, with the number of motorcycles and scooters licensed for the road at its highest for seven years.
Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, said: ‘Once again we have two distinct stories emerging. With rail fare hikes, public transport strikes and increasing congestion on our roads, many people are turning to motorcycles and scooters as a more affordable and efficient form of commuter transport, which is reflected in the type of bikes which are selling well.
‘The leisure market is strong too, with sales of bikes popular for trail and adventure riding also performing particularly well throughout the year.
‘End-of-year registrations for Euro 3 stock mean there will be some good value scooters and motorcycles available in dealerships this month, which will help those wanting to make the switch to a powered two-wheeler.
‘We factored an end-of-year bulge into annual predictions for 2016 but anticipate similar sales for 2017, with between 120,000 and 130,000 new registrations. Like other industries, current predictions will depend on how Brexit affects consumer confidence, but a combination of high public transport costs and stressful driving conditions is likely to induce more people to opt for a powered two-wheeler during the next 12 months.’
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