Motorcycle sales continue to accelerate
— By, Trevor Hedge
2007 was a record year for the Australian motorcycle marketplace and that incredible growth shows no signs of abating with sales for the first quarter of 2008 up five percent over the same period last year.
Honda dominated the roadbike sales charts with 21 percent of the total market. Harley-Davidson took second with just under 16 percent however their position on the roadbike charts is coming under pressure from Suzuki who grew by a significant 32 percent to stake a 15 percent claim of the overall roadbike market. Underlining the strength of Harley-Davidson sales in the roadbike sector is the fact that if the 668 sales of the CT110, as used by Australia post, were taken away from Honda’s total roadbike sales it would make Harley the number one selling roadbike brand in the land.
Yamaha were fourth in roadbike sales with 12 percent ahead of Kawasaki (10 percent), Triumph (7 percent), Hyosung (5 percent), Ducati (4 percent) and BMW (2.5 percent). Of that roadbike top ten it was Ducati that registered the biggest improvement with a 42 percent increase in sales while at the other end of the scales BMW were down 40 percent and Hyosung registered a 23 percent fall.
In the sportsbike market Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 sales improved by 45 percent to challenge Honda’s Fireblade at the top of the sportsbike charts. Honda’s CBR600RR lost ground but still held down third place on the sportsbike charts from Ducati’s 1098. The Italian thoroughbred amazingly outsold the Yamaha YZF-R1, YZF-R6, Suzuki GSX-R600, GSX-R750, Triumph’s 675 Daytona and Kawasaki’s ZX-10R.
The sports-touring segment was dominated by Suzuki with the Hayabusa topping the charts with 125 sales this quarter, up 76 percent from last year. Suzuki’s GS500F and new GSX650F took second and third place. The GSF1250SA Bandit took sixth ahead of its GSF1250S sibling but if their numbers were to be combined it would place the 1250 Bandit as top dog ahead of the Hayabusa.
Triumph dominated the Nakedbike category with the impressive new Street Triple topping the charts ahead of the Bonneville and T100 models. Suzuki held down fourth and fifth with the GS500F and GSX1400 while Honda’s new CB600F has made a strong start in the sector also. Triumph Speed Triple sales were down nearly 10 percent.
Cruisers continued to be the biggest player in the growth figures and Harley-Davidson sold six of the top ten models in the sector. The biggest selling Japanese cruiser was Honda’s bargain priced VT750C model that held down third overall after experiencing a huge 57 percent growth figure.
On the flipside, scooters continued to lose some of the incredible momentum gained in 2005 and 2006 with scooter sales down by three percent. While most of the big brands went backwards smaller manufacturer Piaggio saw its fortunes increase by a staggering 474 percent and claimed number one and two in the scooter top ten with their Zip and Fly models. Despite those model names, Piaggio is clearly one scooter manufacturer that is not going to drop its trousers any time soon.
For the first time in many years the roadbike market surpassed the off-road market in total sales volume. 11,580 road bikes were sold in the first quarter compared to 10,687 off-road machines.
Yamaha still hold the lion’s share of the off-road market with a 34 percent stake besting Honda’s 27 percent share. Honda do appear to be gaining strength however with off-road sales improving by 10 percent while strikingly Yamaha’s off road sales decreased by 12 percent. KTM strengthened their third spot on the off-road charts and grew by an impressive 25 percent largely thanks to sales of their 450 EXC doubling and a strong debut for their new 530 EXC. Suzuki registered a slight fall in off-road sales while Kawasaki sales dropped by 10 percent. Husqvarna grew by 30 percent to strengthen their seventh place on the dirtbike charts while Husaberg sales dropped by 26 percent.
Honda took three of the top five positions on the off-road sales charts with the CRF250 leading the way from its larger CRF450R sibling. CRF450X sales strengthened by a remarkable 58 percent to move into fifth spot overall and was only 18 units shy of knocking Yamaha’s WR450F out of number one position in the enduro sub-category.
Those tables turned somewhat though on the ATV side of the equation with a changing of the guard at the top of the table. Yamaha took the honour of number one on four wheels with a strong 18 percent growth figure beating Honda out of top spot despite Big Red also registering a good seven percent growth figure.
Suzuki only managed a slender 1.8% increase in ATV sales and is in significant danger of losing their third place on the ATV charts to Polaris. The North American brand registering 20 percent growth and only 27 units shy of surpassing Suzuki’s first quarter total.
Overall, ATV sales grew by 15 percent to outstrip the growth of all other sectors of the market as off-road sales stagnated and scooter sales went backwards. Roadbike sales grew by 10 percent.
Over a longer five year period the overall motorcycle market combining road, off-road, scooter and ATV sales has registered a 70 percent growth figure.
Top Tens by brand – Brands Overall – Roadbike Brands – Off Road Brands – Scooter Brands – ATV Brands
Top Tens by model – Motorcycles – Roadbikes – Off Road Bikes – Scooters
Top Tens by model – Sportsbike – Sports Touring – Touring – Cruisers – Nakeds – Under 250cc
Top Tens by model – Motocross – Enduro – Trail – Fun – Farm – Adventure – Supermotard
ATV – Detailed Study of the ATV Figures on our specialist ATV portal