MOTORCYCLE SALES in Australia fell by 14 percent for the first half of 2009 compared to the boom sales of the first two quarters of 2008, according to figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
So, while down, these results are not a catastrophe for the two-wheeled and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) market.
In the context of the global downturn and the all-but stalled consumer spending in nearly every other developed economy, down 14 percent against the galloping boom in this market last year is a reasonable result for the sector.
And, like the passenger car and light commercial vehicle market, it is clear that the Federal Government?s 50 percent tax rebate on business purchases has played a role in underpinning sales.
This is evidenced in the sales of ATVs, commonly purchased by the rural sector, which have maintained 2008?s record results, down just a marginal 0.1 percent on last year.
?This (first half-year) result reflects the impact of broader economic conditions.?
?Motorcycle sales are now at the level we would expect them to be and are broadly consistent with the trends in new car sales,? FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.
FCAI results show that 55,500 motorcycles, scooters and ATVs were sold in the six months to the end of June 2009.
Road-bikes dominated the segment with 20,763 sales, a 13.4 percent decrease, the off-road segment followed with 19,423 sales, recording a15.3 percent decrease, while scooters were the big losers with 5,592 sales, a fall of a substantial 29.3 percent against the record 2008 result.
So, marque against marque ? mano a mano ? who won, and who were the losers?
- Honda: 11,837 sales ? down 22.7 percent against 2008 first-half sales
- Yamaha: 11,393 sales - down 16.4 percent
- Suzuki: 8,212 sales ? down just 0.8 percent
- Kawasaki, 5211 sales ? down 4.1 percent
- Harley-Davidson: 3548 sales ? down 11.0 percent
- KTM: 2694 sales ? also down 11.0 percent
- Triumph: 1741 ? running against the trend, up 1.2 percent
- Polaris: 1483 sales - also against the trend, up 10.3 percent
- Hyosung: 1009 sales ? down 17.3 percent
- SYM: 1003 sales ? down 9.5 percent.
Outside the top ten was Ducati with 860 sales. Polaris, in position eight, might surprise some; however the strong performance of the ATV sector (and of its Victory line of cruisers) is responsible for the strong result.
And the top ten selling motorcycles, across each of the segments?
- Kawasaki EX250J: 1141 sales ? up 75.3 percent against 2008 first-half sales
- Honda CT110 (the postie bike): 974 sales ? down 18.3 percent
- Suzuki DR-Z400E: 841 sales ? up 27.8 percent
- Yamaha WR450F: 758 sales ? down 19.5 percent
- Honda CRF250R: 636 sales ? down 26.0 percent
- Honda CRF450R: 632 sales ? down 22.3 percent
- Honda CRF230F: 624 sales ? up 7.8 percent
- Yamaha PW50: 602 sales ? down 11.3 percent
- Yamaha YZ250F: 588 sales ? down 15.8 percent
- Yamaha YZF-R1: 583 sales ? up 44.0 percent
While the performance of Kawasaki?s entry-level mini-Ninja is absolutely dominant, with most of the rest of the top ten filled by ?dirt bikes?, it?s clear that the off-road sector ? though generally down - is important to the sales ledgers of Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki in particular.
And the postie bike in number two? Now there?s a surprise for the little charmer that just keeps on keepin? on.