Electric motorcycles will help drive growth in the global motorcycle market which is expected to reach 132 million bikes a year by 2018.
Online market research company ReportsnReports.com says global motorcycle demand will rise 6% a year over the next four years and be worth $US120 billion in 2018.
The 500-odd-page report says affordability, electric motorcycles, government support and economic growth in emerging markets will drive bike sales.
It says rising wages in industrialising countries will make bikes more affordable, especially in emerging economies such as Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.
It also says governments will spur growth by promoting bikes, especially electric bikes, for their low pollution, traffic and parking benefits.
The report predicts a “sharp” rise in sales of electric motorcycles and bicycles outside of China which is currently leading in this sector.
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While North America and Western Europe represented only 3% of the global motorcycle market in 2013, they accounted for 16% in value because of the popularity of medium and heavy motorcycles and other higher priced models.
Western Europe and North America are projected to register rapid growth through 2018, as sales of electric models increase sharply and demand for internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles rebounds from the large declines posted in recent years.
Since 2008, demand for electric bikes has climbed at double-digit annual rates in many industrialised countries, particularly Germany and the Netherlands. This trend is expected to continue with the likes of brands such as Bultaco and Harley-Davidson planning to produce electric models.
The only impediment to growth will be slowing growth in China, the world’s leading market for motorcycles and the growth of light vehicles in China and other industrialising countries.
It says the Asia/Pacific region, which includes Australia, will be the largest motorcycle market.
Australia is expected to record low levels of growth when the 2014 report is released in the second week of January.
At the third quarter, growth was just 0.8%, with ATVs leading on 4.4%, followed by road bikes with 3%. The market is being held back by a 3.5% drop in off-road bikes and -19.1% in scooters.
The electric motorcycle market in Australia is limited by choice with only Zero and now Brammo available.
In Asia, motorcycles are viewed as a convenient alternative to poor public transportation and are widely used for business activities.
“As living standards in the area continue to improve, an increasing number of households will be able to afford motorcycles,” the report says.
“Among the nations recording the fastest growth will be Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Burma, Malaysia, and Thailand.”