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U.K. motorcycle sales up double-digits in 2016

The U.K.’s Motorcycle Industry Association reports that motorcycle and scooter sales increased by 11.7 percent during 2016. A total of 128,644 new machines were registered between January and December, compared to 115,121 for 2015.

Meanwhile, as reported by an OEM’s regional sales manager on LinkedIn, U.S. 2016 sales data is in and shows Polaris two-wheel sales (Victory and Indian) up 11.8 percent over 2015. The overall motorcycle market was down 2.1 percent in the U.S.

In the U.K., commuter-sized bikes (50–125cc) saw the largest rise. Nearly 40 percent of all new bikes sold were in this category. The most popular style of bike was “naked,” with 35,651 new registrations, followed by “scooter” with 27,482 units. Both styles are popular with commuters, which underlines the trend for utility/commuter use.

The leisure market also performed well, with the popularity of bikes aimed at adventure and trail riders accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total new market.

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Before December, new registrations had achieved a steady 7-8 percent increase throughout the year, recovering well after a dip following the Brexit referendum. December is normally a quiet month for motorcycle sales, but 2016 saw an unusually high number of registrations, most likely due to dealers, manufacturers and importers managing Euro 3 motorcycles before the 2016 end-of-year deadline.

The rise in new registrations is reflected in the used market too, with the number of motorcycles and scooters licensed for the road at its highest for seven years.

“Once again we have two distinct stories emerging,” said Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association. “With rail fare hikes, public transport strikes and increasing congestion on our roads, many people are turning to motorcycles and scooters as a more affordable and efficient form of commuter transport, which is reflected in the type of bikes which are selling well.”

“The leisure market is strong too, with sales of bikes popular for trail and adventure riding also performing particularly well throughout the year.”

“End-of-year registrations for Euro 3 stock mean there will be some good value scooters and motorcycles available in dealerships this month, which will help those wanting to make the switch to a powered two-wheeler.”

“We factored an end-of-year bulge into annual predictions for 2016 but anticipate similar sales for 2017, with between 120,000–130,00 new registrations. Like other industries, current predictions will depend on how Brexit affects consumer confidence, but a combination of high public transport costs and stressful driving conditions is likely to induce more people to opt for a powered two-wheeler during the next 12 months.”

The increase in 2016 builds on a rise of 12 percent for 2015 and an increase of 10 percent for 2014.

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