News 12 Jan 2009

General: Motorcycle sales soar to record levels

Motorcycle sales set a new record in 2008 as more turn to two-wheel transport.

Assorted press releases:

Motorcycle sales set a new record in 2008 with increasing numbers of Australians turning to two-wheeled transport

Official figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 134,112 motorcycles, scooters and all-terrain vehicles were sold last year — an increase of 3.2 per cent (4,146 units) over the previous record set in 2007.

“This is an outstanding result and the highest sales figure on record,” FCAI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.

“Sales of motorcycles remained strong throughout 2008 despite the challenges and uncertainty caused by the global financial crisis,” he said.

“While the economic fundamentals will remain challenging in 2009 there are many good reasons why people will continue to turn to motorcycles and scooters for their transport requirements,” Mr McKellar said.

Road bikes were the key driver of growth in the marketplace during 2008 with 49,347 sales – an 8.5 per cent increase over the previous year.

“The increasing array of motorcycles on the market means that there are models on offer to suit the varying tastes and needs of riders, whether it is for daily commuting or recreation,” Mr McKellar said.

Scooters remained extremely popular, with 15,364 units sold during 2008 – a 7.6 per cent increase compared to 2007.

“Many people, particularly those who live and work in busy cities, are being drawn to scooters in record numbers because of their obvious convenience and practicality,” Mr McKellar said.

Sales of ATVs increased by 1.2 per cent during the year to 19,990 units, while sales of off-road motorcycles fell two per cent to 49,411 units.

Honda maintained its market leadership in 2008 with 32,651 sales, followed by Yamaha with 28,004 and Suzuki with 18,314 sales.

Cruisers retained leadership of the road-bike sub-segments with 13,156 sales ahead of 250cc (11,053 sales) and super sports (8,630).

The off-road market was very competitive in 2008. Moto Cross was the most popular segment (14,410 sales), ahead of Mini bikes (14,129) and Enduro (14,124).

The agricultural segment had the biggest involvement in ATV sales, accounting for 73 per cent of the ATV market (14,587 sales).

The following items are from Australian distributors:

Honda Holds Top Position in Strong Motorcycle Market

Whilst many international companies are glad to see the back of 2008 after a less than ideal global economic performance, Honda Australia is reporting good news in regard to the company’s year end motorcycle and scooter sales results.

The manufacturer celebrates their 10th consecutive year in the top spot for the industry which grew by 3.2% overall, despite the doom and gloom of most retail results in Australia last calendar year.

The country’s biggest seller for the year, bar the Honda CT110 used by Australia Post, was also a Honda – the humble CRF50 – which along with its bigger brothers, the CRF70 and CRF100 were the mini bike of choice for many new young riders.

The manufacturer’s premier competition motocross bikes, the CRF450R and CRF250R, also experienced strong growth with many dirt bike riders opting for the reliability of a Honda 4-stroke powered machine.

Additional hot sellers included the Honda CB400, a popular model within the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) segment and the top seller in its class. The CBR125 also performed well with many commuters looking for an economical way to get around town on smaller capacity machines.

Honda’s General Manager, Motorcycles, Tony Hinton, said “We are very pleased to have finished in the number one position again, particularly considering the tough market conditions.”

“The results give a strong message that the motorcycle and scooter industry, particularly the road segment of the market, is somewhat immune to the negative forces that are taking place within the automotive industry as a whole.”

“The trend for people to opt for more economical and convenient modes of transport is not slowing down, and although we saw the price of petrol fall in the last quarter, customers are still realising that it is more sensible to rely on a motorcycle or scooter to keep costs down, rather than the unpredictable cost of fuel.”

“Honda has some exciting new models coming in this year as well that will really help to serve this burgeoning part of the market including the LAMS approved VT400 and the SH300i scooter.”

“With more motorcyclists on the road, the need for safety is even greater,” he added. “Honda will remain involved with safety and training through our HART centres in Victoria, New South Wales and now Brisbane.”

“We are also introducing new models in ‘09 fitted with ABS including the CBR1000RR, and will be rolling out a Safety Advisor program whereby new riders can obtain vital information and advice from their local Dealer.

Kawasaki Enjoys 14.2% Increase in Sales Growth In 2008

Kawasaki National Sales & Marketing Manager, Robert Walker comments on Kawasaki’s outstanding results in the recently released 2008 FCAI report.

“Kawasaki is extremely pleased with the latest FCAI report, indicating the brand’s 14.2% increase in sales growth, (the highest of any Japanese manufacturer) compared to the overall national growth of 3.2%,” Walker said.

“Kawasaki attributes the successful result to the brand’s reputation in the marketplace for delivering extremely high quality products built to outperform the competition. The public’s positive acceptance of new models contributed to Kawasaki’s success. These models included the 1400GTR sports tourer, versatile KLR650 and learner legal Ninja 250R. The appointment of new high quality Kawasaki dealers, supplementing our existing hard working dealer network was also a contributing factor.

“Kawasaki has hit the ground running for 2009 with the release of such models as the All new fuel injected KX450F, multiple 250cc shootout winning KX250F, very competitively priced KLX250S, and the All new and more powerful Ninja ZX-6R, Kawasaki is in good stead to enjoy a healthy first quarter in 2009. With the forthcoming release of the Ninja 650R and all-new Vulcan 1700 Cruiser range, Kawasaki is confident of carrying its status as the highest improving Japanese manufacturer into 2010.”

Suzuki Celebrates Another Record Year

Suzuki Motorcycles has continued its impressive growth in Australia, recording its highest-ever sales figures for a calendar year in 2008.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) data reports an increase of 6.1% in sales of Suzuki motorcycles in 2008 over 2007 figures, almost double the local industry’s growth rate of 3.2%.

The final sales figure of 18,314 units sold is a new record for Suzuki, in a record year for the local industry.

“At Suzuki, we are thrilled with our sales results in 2008,” Perry Morison, General Manager, Motorcycles, Suzuki Australia said. “Another record year is a testament to our comprehensive product line-up, which is backed by competitive pricing, ongoing promotional activity, our strong dealer network and racing success.

“The record number of motorcycles sold in Australia in 2008 is a great indication of the strength of the local industry, which is well-equipped to continue to serve the motorcycling community.

“The current global economic climate and Australian dollar will continue to place pressure on pricing, but Suzuki is focused on continuing to offer great value to our customers.”

Road bikes were the driving force behind Suzuki’s successful 2008, as the manufacturer continues to kick goals with its core focus, its big street bike range.

Overall, road bike sales rose by over 10%, with Suzuki models now occupying the top four places in the sports touring category.

Suzuki bucked the trend of decreasing off-road motorcycle sales, recording growth of 1.8% in a championship-winning year.

Well above the industry average of 1.2%, sales of Suzuki’s ATV range increased by an impressive 7%.

After a record-breaking 2008, Suzuki is excited about the upcoming year, which will see a range of new models arrive in Australia, headlined by the all-new GSX-R1000 and Gladius SFV650.

Triumph Australia Pleased With Its Sales Results For 2008

While at a first glance, a +4.1% increase may not look too startling, when it is taken into comparison with some of the other major importers, it was a great result, with many importers being well into the negative.

Triumphs marketing manager Mal Jarrett commented that, “The Sprint & Tiger both made it into the top 10 in their particular segments, and it was particularly pleasing to see no less than four of our models making it into the top 10 ‘Naked’ segment — the Street Triple at #2, the T100 Bonneville at #4, the Bonneville standard at #5 and the Speed Triple at #8.”

It appears that during these tough economic times customers are turning to a brand that can be trusted not only for being a reliable mount, but a brand that will retain its re-sale value and be around for many years to come.

Happy Times at Hyosung

Korean motorcycle brand Hyosung continued to provide Australian riders with great value quality motorcycles and registered 5.1% growth in 2008 over 2007. Hyosung continues to hold their number 7 position in the Road bike segment only surpassed by the big 4 Japanese brands, Harley-Davidson and Triumph.

Hyosung’s speciality is in the entry level of the market with a range of 250cc road bikes plus 650cc models all of which can be purchased compliant with the LAMs (Learner Approved Motorcycle scheme) now law in all states except WA and QLD.

A bonus with Hyosung’s LAMs approved models is that their power output can be uncapped once the owner has completed their probationary period and they are permitted to ride a full power motorcycle. It’s like getting two motorcycles for the price of one.

“Our owners are pretty straight forward when they tell us why they chose Hyosung. They look great, they’re well priced and you get a lot for your money”, said Hyosung Australia Brand Manager Simon Gloyne.

“We have a very positive outlook for the year ahead also. During the recession that we had to have, motorcycle growth was kick-started and we enjoyed growth into the next two decades. New licence bookings haven’t waned and this is a good indication that people still need to get around, but they want to find a cheaper way to do it. The enjoyment of riding a motorcycle is a bonus.”