March motorbike registrations show beginning of COVID-19 impact on market
13,075 new motorcycles were registered in March, down from 16,682 in March 2019. In the year-to-date, the market has shrunk by -12.2 per cent, from 10,449 in 2019 to 10,753 in 2020 so far. “Motorcycle registrations for the plate-change month of March were -21.6 per cent in decline against the previous March of 2019,” said Stephen Latham, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA) which represents motorcycle retailers across the UK.
Falls in registrations were seen in almost every engine band, with the sharpest coming from over 1000cc bikes at -26.4 per cent. Only the 0-50cc band saw a small rise, from 579 in March 2019 to 584 in March 2020.
Similarly, in terms of style, the majority saw steep falls. Touring bikes saw a big drop of -38.8 per cent in comparison to March 2019, with adventure sport and customs also falling similarly by -29.9 per cent and -25.9 per cent respectively. Scooters and mopeds saw a shallower drop, including mopeds that aren’t scooters having an increase from 115 to 143 in March 2020 – this could be as a consequence of their necessity for commuting.
The Honda PCX 125 was one again the most registered model with 317 units, followed by two BMW models – the BMW R 1250 GS with 272, and the BMW S 1000 RR in third with 206 sales. Honda also maintained its lead as the biggest selling brand with 2,180 units registered, followed by BMW with 1,435, and Yamaha in third with 1,355.
Latham continued: “In comparison to the car market, the motorbike registrations have been modest in their decline, but it is still a worrying sign that COVID-19 is having a deep impact on the market.
“We may see the April figures show the true nature of the impact of lockdown on dealerships, as many of these March numbers may have been ordered prior to the plate-change.
“Although the current situation is worrying for many of our members, and we are unsure of how it will continue to pan out, we can confidently say we will endeavour to provide as much support as possible to assist in these unprecedented times.”