According to the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), February registrations were 2.8% ahead of last year. In view of January and February 2019 also recording growth over the previous year, this is good news. However, experts at Glass’s Guide continue to advise caution. Whilst the UK successfully exited the European Union without further delay at the end of January, the Coronavirus has swept across the world, including the UK and this is likely to have ramifications on the Global Economy. Paul McDonald, Glass’s Leisure Vehicles Editor said, “Whilst we have to take positives from the results, the true test will be the analysis of March sales, which will be affected by the Coronavirus and the current uncertainty around how the next few months will pan out”.
The dealer view of February was that demand was in line with last year and some dealers were cautiously optimistic that 2020 would be a stronger year, with tentative signs of improved consumer spending confidence. However, the ever-changing coronavirus landscape will dampen this optimism.
February 2020 Highlights
- Four out of nine categories recorded growth
- Following a period of growth, mopeds suffered a decline in February
- Adventure Sport and Naked markets both gave a strong performance
- Sports Tourers enjoyed the most significant increase, albeit these are sold in few numbers
Hot YTD in February
- Honda PCX 125 retains its lead
- Honda NSC 110 was runner up
- BMW R1250 GS continues its success
- Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin enters the top ten
What can the industry expect moving forward?
In view of the current situation with the Coronavirus, the UK once again faces some very uncertain times. However, considering riding is isolating, this may affect the industry less than other industries. Additionally, with the Government advising the public to avoid social gatherings, this could encourage riders to get out on their bikes as an enjoyable alternative for social distancing. Despite this, renewed uncertainty could undo any newfound confidence with consumer spending, hindering sales over the coming months. At this stage, the Glass’s view remains that the industry should look towards the second half of 2020 for any sustained growth.
Demand for used motorcycles in February was stronger than last year according to recent feedback, with a few dealers reporting a post BREXIT ‘boom’. This is without doubt good news for the industry, although March will likely give a stronger indication to where the market is heading, as consumers look towards purchasing machines for the upcoming season whilst benefitting from the new 2020 plate. However, a lack of young riders entering the market, resulting from complex and costly testing, coupled with high insurance premiums remains a bugbear. As a result, the average age of rider continues to increase and now stands at 56 years.
Several dealers report strong demand across a wide variety of ranges, however, adventure style machines and modern classics in particular are buoyant, with quality 125cc machines also strong.
- Honda Africa Twin
- Triumph Bonneville
- Honda PCX125
- Yamaha MT-125
In view of the average riding age, more consumers are looking for comfort and this is where adventure and naked machines excel, due to their upright riding positions. As a result, supersports are becoming increasingly niche, with some purchased for track use rather than on road.
The majority of dealers reported stock availability to be broadly in line with last year and although finding quality stock remains a challenge for some, new part exchanges generated from March’s plate change will help replenish dealer forecourts and most dealers hold the view their stock levels are where they should be.
Frost and snow was largely absent during February, but with it being the wettest on record, riding conditions were poor. March has started on a slightly drier note but the threat of more rain continues. Dealers are looking forward to spring, with clocks moving forward at the end of March improving riding conditions. The majority view was that sales activity will increase during the next month. However, with the Coronavirus on the increase, this could potentially have ramifications on the market. After careful consideration and market analysis, the majority of Glass’s values have been held for the April data except where trade feedback or evidence from the market place suggests further adjustments where necessary.