Year-end figures for new motorcycle registrations show sales for 2014 were up 10% compared to 2013, with an increase every single month throughout the year - the highest for five years.
101,277 new motorcycles, scooters and mopeds were registered during 2014, compared to 91,908 the year before. Of this year’s new registrations over 48,000 were smaller commuter-sized machines.
The figures, which are collated by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), show that certain styles were particularly popular. ‘Naked’ bikes* were up 32% on the previous year and ‘touring’ bikes** up 13%. Larger motorcycles sold well too, with an increase of 18% in the sale of models between 651cc and 1000cc.
There is also an upward trend for the number of powered two wheelers (PTWs) being used on the road. Government statistics show the number of PTWs licensed for the road has increased to 1,326,500 – the highest figure registered for 5 years, and nearly double the number on the road in 1994.***
Steve Kenward, MCIA CEO issued the following statement:
“With new registrations up 10% and Motorcycle Live attendance up by the same, we are optimistic we will see similar levels of growth for the next 12 months. Motorcycle Live is regarded within the industry as a barometer for the year ahead, so the increase in visitors and their tremendous response to exciting new models bodes well for sales in 2015.
“This news is interesting to a wider audience too, as it contains two stories; one about a return to consumer confidence and the other regarding congestion.
“Motorcycles which appeal to leisure riders have sold very well, which marks a sustained return of consumer confidence. We began to see the shoots of recovery in bike sales towards the end of 2013, but with 12 months of solid growth, we feel confident enough to say that this indicates people are feeling more comfortable about spending money.
“For leisure riders, a motorcycle is often an additional purchase and so the first casualty of any cuts to a family budget. The rise in new sales puts an end to several years of caution from our core customers, who had been hanging on to their bikes for twice the length of time they do in more prosperous times. Greater confidence seems to have unleashed a pent up demand, aided by good finance deals and some highly desirable new models coming to market.
“With sales of smaller bikes making up nearly half of all new sales and the rise in the total number of PTWs on the road, it is clear that increasing numbers of people are swapping to two wheels as a means of avoiding daily traffic jams. We predict an increasing number of people will switch to PTWs as a means of avoiding the misery of commuting by car and expect this to become a long term trend tracking the projected rise in congestion.”
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*Naked style definition: Machines which are built to a basic specification with no fairing (or only a small handlebar fairing) and an upright riding position. Engines are large to medium and often called retro.
**Touring bikes generally have large engines and are designed for long-distance riding. Typical features include a more comfortable seating position for rider and pillion, luggage carrying capability and weather protection, such as fairings with a fixed or adjustable windscreen.
***Government vehicle licensing statistics come from table VEH0301 – last updated in December 2014 and refer to the Quarter 3 2014.
The MCIA recently launched a joint policy document with the Association of Chief Police Officers advocating a number of measures which will allow those in charge of road safety and planning to make roads safer for vulnerable road users. Read more about this here.
See other developments in the industry, including the promotion of use of motorcycles for fleet here.