Mar­ket for new mod­els

The GFC con­tin­ues to af­fect the mo­tor­bike in­dus­try, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

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.

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