Pumps pressure fuels bike sales
Commuters are taking to two wheels in a big way, writes CRAIG DUFF
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.