Market for new models
The GFC continues to affect the motorbike industry, writes Craig Duff
ALACK of new product as a result of the global financial crisis continues to hurt the major bike makers and has left the industry 8.9 per cent down on 2009 sales.
More than 105,000 bikes were still sold in Australia last year but that’s a marked contrast to the improvement in car sales over the same period.
The 2010 bike sales figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries shows only those companies that launched new product— headed by BMW Motorrad — defied the decline.
The German bike-maker’s new S1000 RR sportsbike went into 297 garages last year.
That’s about half the annual sales of the class-leading Honda CBR1000 RR, but is still an amazing result for a premium-priced model that didn’t launch until late February.
2Wheels editor Jeremy Bowdler says the issue with the industry is that new production was commissioned, designed and developed before the GFC, meaning the Japanese have few new models ready to come online.
‘‘The Euros (manufacturers), who have invested mightily in brand loyalty and recognition and prestige, will continue to do relatively well. Companies who have based their financial planning on volume and discounts will not fare so well. It’s going to be a tough year. Now, if the cost of fuel rose by about 10c a litre, then . . .’’
Suzuki Australia motorcycling general manager Perry Morison is upbeat about this year as the GSX-R600 and 750 models hit the showrooms.
‘‘The sales decline is more a reflection of the ongoing overall impact of the GFC. However, the slowing of new model development is one contributing factor,’’ he notes.
‘‘We expect the market will gradually strengthen throughout 2011, and our sales will be boosted by the allnew GSX-R600, GSX-R750 and GSR750 street bike models.’’
Chinese makers also made gains but they are building on small volumes, with many of the newcomers yet to sell 1000 bikes for the year. They did, however, help keep the scooter market relatively buoyant with the sector, slipping only 0.6 per cent to 10,433 sales — roughly 10 per cent of the bike market.
FCAI chairman Andrew McKeller issued a cautionary advisory over some of the newcomers, noting: ‘‘Buyers need to be mindful they are getting effective value for money; stick with brands that have a proven commitment to service and quality.’’
Honda led the sales race with 23,083 units, more than 2500 clear of Yamaha. Suzuki is third on 14,749 sales from Kawasaki on 9442 and Harley Davidson’s 6073 units. The next issue of 2Wheels is on sale on February 23, with a full preview of that weekend’s World Superbike Championship round at the Phillip Island circuit.
Strong result: BMW’s S1000 RR found 297 owners last year.