What’s to blame for bike sales slow­down?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment - Gareth Ash­man, 01733-468118

Sales of new mo­tor­cy­cles have stalled for the first time in a cou­ple of years.

While we’re not talk­ing big num­bers – there were 301 fewer mo­tor­cy­cles sold in July 2016, com­pared to the same month in 2015, and over­all sales for the year so far are still a healthy 5.8 per cent up, it will set a few alarm bells ring­ing as mar­ket ex­perts scrab­ble around for a rea­son and a way of stop­ping a blip be­com­ing a trend.

Even the Mo­tor­cy­cle In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (the body made up of all the ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers) have down­graded their es­ti­mate of new bikes sales for the year... a bit.

The hard­est hit cat­e­gories are mopeds and ma­chines over 1000cc. The de­cline of the moped mar­ket is noth­ing new, but a slow-down of big bike sales sug­gests that cost could be an is­sue. With Brexit caus­ing some un­cer­tainty gen­er­ally – we’ve seen the hous­ing mar­ket stut­ter since the ref­er­en­dum – it could just be that con­sumer con­fi­dence is wa­ver­ing while peo­ple wait to see how the econ­omy re­acts in the medium term. Which is a lit­tle ironic as many mo­tor­cy­cle in­dus­try in­sid­ers are pre­dict­ing a rise in bike prices as man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­tect them­selves against the weak pound. So if you’re plan­ning to buy a new bike, now may not be a bad time. There will also be some red­hot deals over the next few months as man­u­fac­tur­ers and deal­ers try to clear the decks for a swathe of 2017 mod­els that will hit the head­lines when the first Euo­pean show opens its doors at the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber. The mar­ket has ben­e­fit­ted re­cently from some very strong mod­els and ag­gres­sive pric­ing – the CB500 and MT-09 range, for ex­am­ple. And the emer­gence of PCP in mo­tor­cy­cling has also helped boost new bike sales. Bike com­pa­nies know how value sen­si­tive the mar­ket is right now and will un­doubt­edly do ev­ery­thing to keep their prices com­pet­i­tive. There is also a raft of ex­cit­ing new bikes wait­ing in the wings, ac­cord­ing to MCN sources, so there is still a lot of pos­i­tiv­ity in the mar­ket and ev­ery chance sales will bounce back in the near fu­ture.

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