NMDA expects ‘challenging’ year for bike sales

The National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA) which represents motorcycle retailers across the UK, is expecting 2018 to be a challenging year for the motorcycle industry. The association has carried out extensive economic research in order to estimate the size of the foreseeable market for this year, taking into account the strong global economy which has a predicted growth of 3.9 per cent in 2018, and the sterling which is back to its pre-Brexit strength of $1.40.

In 2017, despite uncertainty over Brexit, the UK economy grew a modest 1.8 per cent, however demand for motorcycles continued their downward trend with the year-end registrations down -18 per cent, (23,177 fewer bikes) on the previous year. In total, 105,467 bikes were sold in the year.

One of the main factors for this was the final quarter of 2016 pre-registrations of Euro 3 light weight bikes by the December 31 deadline, which were the sold throughout the year, hence reducing the demand for new registrations.  It was estimated that around 12,250 power2wheelers were forced registrations, predominantly 125cc machines. Most of these machines have now found new owners and should not affect consumer demand for new bikes this year.

Looking closely at all these figures, the NMDA estimates that bike sales should increase modestly by 3.27 per cent with 108,924 registrations, closely resembling the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) prediction of 108,450 registrations. Glasses Guide has predicted a market of 110,000 – 115,000 registrations.

Upper Estimate 2017 2018 Difference
0-50cc 7,871 6,783 -1,088
51-125cc 31,633 33,778 2,145
126-650cc 17,714 19,245 1,531
651-1000cc 26,888 26,913 25
Over 1000cc 21,361 22,205 844
Total registrations 105,467 108,924 3,457

However, the NMDA is concerned that this challenging prediction could be undermined by issues such as the current surge of scooter related crime in London, the increase in insurance premiums in metropolitan areas for young people, and negative speculation over the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

Therefore, taking into account all of the above scenarios potentially affecting sales, a lower estimate has also been analysed – producing a very similar market to 2017.

Lower Estimate 2017 2018 Difference
0-50cc 7,871 6,244 -1,627
51-125cc 31,633 31,781 148
126-650cc 17,714 18,729 1,015
651-1000cc 26,888 26,452 -436
Over 1000cc 21,361 21,968 607
Total registrations 105,467 105,175 -292

The NMDA has estimated an increase in sales in all sectors, with the exception of the 0-50cc machines. This is due to the fact that this sector has been steadily declining for some time now and in December 2017 there were between 700 – 800 motorcycles pre-registered to elevate the 50cc Euro transition.

Whilst 2018 is set to be a challenging year for motorcycle dealers, the NMDA is optimistic that some of the traditional and leisure riders will return to the showrooms to purchase the latest bikes for the new season and in return stabilise the bike market.

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