Euro sales continue to nosedive

The European bike market is in trouble. Official figures show 2012 was the fifth straight year sales of motorcycles, scooters, tricycles and similar vehicles have declined, and 2013 has got off to an even worse start.

With little over 1.3 million units sold in Europe, Powered Two-Wheeler sales have reached an all time low, says a report by European motorcycle industry body ACEM.

“Far from being over, the economic crisis is wreaking havoc on the motorcycle market,” ACEM says.

“A situation of uncertainty across the EU, linked to declining purchase power, greater unemployment and the absence of measures encouraging growth or consumption has kept buyers away from dealerships over the last year. While European citizens are increasingly making use of Powered Two-Wheelers in order to satisfy their need for mobility, fleet renewal is not meeting the right conditions causing the market to drop another 12.6% in 2012.

“In 2012, 1.341.453 Powered Two Wheelers were sold in the European Union compared to 1.535.780 vehicles sold in 2011, accounting for a 12.6% decline year on year.

“Among the large markets Italy reports the biggest loss with -22%. Spain is also heavily affected by the crisis (-19%) while France manages to keep the losses above the EU average (-10,6%). Germany (-3,4%) and the United Kingdom (-0.1%) suffer minor decreases in sales.

“France is confirmed as first European market with 296.315 sold units, followed by Italy (257.979), Germany (178.087), Spain (115.447) and the UK (93.450). Interestingly, Italy remains at the top of the scooter selling countries with 190.675 vehicles sold (including mopeds), followed by France (173.486), Spain (80.607), The Netherlands (63.146) and Germany (60.103).

“Despite its negative impact on the motorcycle market, the economic crisis is highlighting the benefits of urban oriented Powered Two-Wheelers which represent 59% of overall sales. A split by cylinder capacity shows that 46% of scooters belong to the moped segment (<50cc), 31% are light motorcycles (125cc), while 23% of scooters are PTW over 125cc. Besides mobility factors, access to these vehicles depends on the driving licence type prescribing minimum age and limitations to engine size and power. In many Member States car drivers are allowed to use light motorcycles (125cc) thanks to the equivalence of their driving licence (type B).

“As far as segments are concerned, mopeds dropped by 16,6% while motorcycles sales shrunk by 10,6%.

“2013 has started on a negative note, with January reporting a -18.5% compared to the previous year. An especially harsh winter is the likely cause of such a weak performance. Spring accompanied by an improvement of the weather conditions should encourage potential buyers and push sales towards the black.”

To see the full report including tables, click here.