The motorcycle industry has seen both ups and downs outside the United States as evidence by recent reports from trade groups.
These groups indicate registration decreases in parts of Europe, including Italy and the United Kingdom, while sales have increased in Australia and Canada.
Here is a closer look at those areas:
Figures from the Motor Cycle Industry Association show a decline of motorcycle registrations in 2008. The country was 4,866 registrations below the previous year.
A total of 139,715 motorcycles, mopeds and scooters were registered in 2008, a 3.4 percent decrease compared to 2007. The figures for December alone showed about a 19 percent decline with 6,706 registrations.
Mopeds ended the year 1.5 percent up, suggesting increasing utility use by commuters and those with relatively short journeys. Scooter registrations also rose about 1 percent, and the adventure sport and touring categories increased by 5.7 percent and 8.6 percent.
The year’s top selling model was the Honda CBR 1000RR, but five of the best-selling models of the year were small-capacity motorcycles, mopeds and scooters with engines of less than 125cc. The biggest-selling manufacturer in 2008 was Honda with 20,107 registrations, followed by Yamaha, 17,031 and Suzuki 16,132.
The nation’s scooter and motorcycle registrations declined about 6 percent in 2008 compared to the prior year, according to the Italian association ANCMA. Total registrations reached 408,249, down from 435,959 in 2007.
Scooters decreased about 4 percent and motorcycles declined 10.43 percent. The 501-600cc segment had the biggest decline, which was about 34 percent. The segment that had the largest rise in registrations was the 125cc and under segment with a 6.21 percent increase.
The top selling unit in 2008 was Honda Italia SH 150, which had 18,356 registrations. Following the Honda was the Yamaha TMAX 500 with 16,963 registrations.
Year-end data was not yet available but an official from the country’s Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council said December sales were 8 percent over last year’s level.
Canadian retail sales will probably finish up for 2008 as the council earlier reported that year-to-date through October showed an 8 percent increase.
Like the United States, the country saw a surge of retail scooter sales. Through June, Canada was up 22 percent over the prior year.
Unlike many other parts of the world, Australia is not only seeing increases in motorcycle sales, but record numbers.
There were 134,112 motorcycles, scooters and ATVs sold last year, which was an increase of 3.2 percent. There were 4,146 more units sold than the previous record set in 2007.
Road bikes were the key driver of growth in the market place during 2008 with an 8.5 percent increase over the previous year. Scooters remained popular with 15,364 units sold during 2008, a 7.6 percent increase compared to 2007.
Honda maintained its market leadership in 2008 with 32,651 units sold, followed by Yamaha with 28,004 and Suzuki with 18,314 vehicles.
The off-road market was competitive in 2008 with Moto Cross as the most popular segment with 14,410 units sold. Mini bikes followed with 14,129 units and Enduro was closely behind with 14,124 vehicles.