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Motorcycle sales have bottomed out – the industry looks ahead to a better 2014

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The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) is optimistic about motorcycle sales during 2014, after surveying its members, following Motorcycle Live.

Interest at Motorcycle Live, the Association’s flagship show, is traditionally a barometer which predicts sales for the coming year. Intention to buy a bike seems to be high, with Kawasaki’s exit poll showing this could be as many as nearly 50% of those visiting the show.

Figures released today, show that new registrations for December 2013 were 11.3% up on the same time for 2012. This follows increases for September 8% and October 6.7%, compared to the same time the previous year.

CEO of the MCI, Steve Kenward, explained that any upturn in the motorcycle market is a good indication that economic recovery is sustained.

“The motorcycle market in the UK has taken longer to pick up than the car market. The majority of our sales are to leisure customers, and so upgrading the bike regularly became a casualty of reduced disposable income. That seems to be changing from what our members are reporting with regard to intention to buy in 2014.

“Though the UK motorcycle market has fared better than mainland Europe, it’s been a tough few years, and those areas where there has been growth tended to be from new customers looking for more economical ways to commute."

General Manager of Kawasaki, Howard Dale explained: “This is our one chance per year to meet the maximum number of current, past and future customers. Just about every Kawasaki Motors UK head office staff member worked at the show during its 9 day run, and they were all unanimous in reporting that the reception to the stand, new machines, Kawasaki riders and attractions was overwhelming. New models were a particular draw.

“Perhaps the most encouraging and exciting thing to come out of the show for us was that an independent exit poll we commissioned to gain opinion on those leaving the Kawasaki stand told us that almost half of our visitors are ready to buy during the forthcoming 2014 sales season”.

Head of Honda Motorcycles UK, Nick Campolucci is optimistic for 2014 and beyond: “In a market which at present remains flat, Honda (UK) is seeing signs of improvement on the previous year. We are 3.9% up on sales volume (2013 vs. 2012) and 1% up on market share (up from 17.5% to 18.5% across all sectors, 2013 vs. 2012). These are of course positive figures and we are optimistic that there will be further improvements going forward, with the introduction of several new 2014 models in the coming months and modest growth in the total market in the coming years.

Yamaha’s General Manager for Sales and Marketing, Adam Kelley says they too felt interest at the show suggested confidence in the UK market for 2014 is well founded, “There was a real buzz both on our stand and at the show in general. The market is changing and we were particularly pleased by the interest level in many of our new models as well as the existing line-up both from existing and non Yamaha customers. It has left us with a more positive feeling about sales in 2014”.

Harley Davidson’s UK manager David Hackshall is looking forward to a particularly good year: “We had an amazing response at Motorcycle Live with our best ever level of customer enquiries driven through the Harley-Davidson stand team. This gives us a very positive outlook for the coming year.”

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