Pumps pres­sure fu­els bike sales

Com­muters are tak­ing to two wheels in a big way, writes CRAIG DUFF

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

RECORD fuel prices keep pump­ing up mo­tor­bike sales, with 64,186 bikes and ATVs bought in the first six months of this year. That’s a 6.6 per cent rise on the same time last year and re­flects the grow­ing con­cern at the cost of com­mut­ing, ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries chief ex­ec­u­tive Andrew McKel­lar.

On-road sales rose by 9.1 per cent to 23,994 mo­tor­bikes, FCAI fig­ures show.

Honda still dom­i­nates the on-road seg­ment with more than 21 per cent of sales and has the top two bikes in the CBX110 ‘‘postie’’ bike and the CBR 1000RR su­per­bike.

Har­ley-David­son is sec­ond with 16.2 per cent, just 0.2 per cent ahead of Suzuki, while Kawasaki leapfrogged Yamaha into third place in on-road sales by the same mar­gin, with 11.2 to 11 per cent.

Har­ley’s po­si­tion is phe­nom­e­nal given it plays in es­sen­tially two seg­ment, cruis­ers and tour­ers. There were 6765 cruis­ers sold in the past six months, 2156 of them were Har­leys.

The US brand now of­fers a big­ger range of bet­ter-built bikes and is in­creas­ingly on sub­ur­ban­ites’ shop­ping lists.

At the other end of the mar­ket, scoot­ers re­bounded af­ter a poor first quar­ter to post 7.6 per cent growth for the six months. That put an­other 7613 bikes on the road.

‘‘The re­cent spike in pump prices has no doubt played a part in the turn­around in scooter sales since the March quar­ter,’’ McKel­lar says.

It’s an ob­ser­va­tion backed by Honda Mo­tor­cy­cles gen­eral man­ager Tony Hin­ton.

‘‘Not sur­pris­ingly, the learner and newly li­censed mar­ket con­tin­ues to grow as a re­sult of the cost of fuel and gen­eral liv­ing ex­penses,’’ he says.

It was a good half-year for Honda, which man­aged to claw back some of Yamaha’s of­froad sales. The blue team is still the dom­i­nant dirt bike player with 32.7 per cent of the mar­ket against 29.6 per cent for Honda.

And the WR450 is still the top-sell­ing of­froad ma­chine with 942 sales, but that was down more than 300 on last year.

Honda’s new CR range picked up the slack and that was enough to ex­tend its over­all mar­ket lead with 23.9 per cent, ahead of Yamaha’s 21.2 per cent, Suzuki at 12.9 per cent and Kawasaki with 8.5 per cent.

There were 9732 ATVs sold in the first six months, a rise of 10.3 per cent.

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