Last year was a record year for car sales in Australia with sales breaking through the one million mark in December for the first time in history. It was also a record year for motorcycle sales with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) showing that 129,966 motorcycles were sold last year - an increase of 10,760 or 9.0 per cent over the previous all-time record set in 2006.
While car sales in Australia enjoy their ups and downs, motorcycle sales have increased on an annual basis for the last ten years running, in fact sales are now even exceeding the ?bike boom? of the early 1970?s. It's no coincidence that fuel prices have also risen steadily over the same period and in recent years quite sharply.
"Motorcycle sales are being driven by many of the same factors that pushed car sales to record levels last year, including the strength of domestic demand, income growth and improving vehicle affordability. It is likely that motorcycle sales are also being driven up by rising fuel prices, which have prompted a whole new generation of commuters to learn to ride," said FCAI chief executive Andrew McKellar.
Mr McKellar went on to say that there was evidence of this trend in the rapid sales growth of the entry-level Under-250cc motorcycle segment, which has almost doubled in size in two years and experienced growth of 25.8 percent in 2007.
Scooters also maintained their recent resurgence in popularity with their sales levelling out last year to 14,271 (down 1.0 per cent) after tripling in volume over the previous three years. The motorbike category that proved the most popular was the ?Cruisers? segment with 13,196, which represents an increase of 2827 or 27.2 percent over the previous year.
"2007 saw a continuation of the strong trend of recent years, whereby Cruiser motorcycles are being bought as weekend recreational vehicles," said Mr McKellar.
Off-road sales grew by 4.7 per cent to 50,433, driven largely by sales of 4-stroke Motocross bikes (up 1527 or 18.1 per cent) and 4-stroke Enduro bikes (up 1118 or 9.0 per cent) and All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) sales grew to 19,752 - an increase of 9.4 per cent on the 2006 figures.
Overall, Honda managed to maintain its market leadership in 2007 with 32,946 sales, closely followed by Yamaha with 28,998 and Suzuki with 17,255. Honda led the road bike market with 10,014 sales from Harley Davidson with 7134, which relegated Suzuki to third with 7080, while Yamaha led the off-road market with 16,302 sales closely followed by Honda with 15,776 and Suzuki third with 6556 sales.
In the ATV market sector Honda led with 5724 sales from Yamaha on 5570 sales and Suzuki third on 3404.