Motorcycle sales are down 2.5% so far this year! But the good news for Aussie riders is that the motorcycle companies have declared a price discount war with earlier-than-usual end-of-financial-year sales.
While motorcycle sales figures are down in the first quarter of the year, road bikes sales are up 3.3% to 11,151, representing 44% of the total 25,383 bikes, scooters, ATVs and off-roaders sold in the first three months. The most dramatic drops were in off-road bikes (-9.4%) and scooters (16.3%).
Motorcycle companies such as Suzuki, Honda, Victory and BMW have been quick to react to the figures with cash-back offers, discounts and free on-road costs.
There are mixed fortunes across the companies with most Japanese taking a sizeable hit except for Yamaha, buoyed by the new MT range. One of the biggest winners has been BMW, up 42.9% to 700 and leapfrogging two places to eighth, just 5 bikes behind Triumph. Marketing manager Miles Davis credits new product for the sales boon, with even more new models arriving this month. They would have done better, except for their 23.3% drop in scooter sales.
There is good news for the whole industry with the learner craze continuing from last year when all states finally accepted the Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) which opens up a wide variety of bikes to new riders. On the strength of the new Honda 500cc LAMS bikes, the company marginally jumped ahead of Harley-Davidson to top the road bike segment with 2097, up 12.3%.
Even though Harley sales were only up 1.1% to 2069, they had massive success with the beautiful FXSB Softail Breakout which was the sixth-best-selling bike in the market, mixing it among the LAMS and off-road bikes that usually make up the top 10. It also eclipsed the Yamaha XVS650 which was down 12.4% to 227.
The road bike sector was also aided by the introduction of Indian which sold 107 bikes and could have sold many more except for supply problems which have now been rectified. It is another success in the cruiser segment which continues to perform well. Other strong performing segments are adventure bikes and naked bikes, particularly with the introduction of Yamaha’s MT-09 and the KTM 390 Duke LAMS bike which was the seventh-best-selling road bike.
Meanwhile the sports bike segment is down, particularly the LAMS Kawasaki Ninja 300, down 31.7% to 791, but still the biggest seller on the showroom floor. Ducati slipped out of the top 10 road bikes, despite increasing sales 18.6% to 466, mainly due to the 899 Panigale sports bike.
So where does this leave us for the rest of the year? Expect more sales as we approach the end of the financial year, but also expect more product as manufacturers realise new product inspires new buyers. Tired models and brands are starting to dwindle as new models take some of their shine away.
While it might be a tough year ahead for manufacturers, it’s all good news for riders.