Meanwhile in the Old Country, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM) has released its third-quarter numbers. In Europe, they keep track of the bike population by counting new registrations, and for the first nine months of this year, new motorcycle sales were down 5.1%. If you include mopeds, new registrations are down just 1.6%.

New motorcycle registrations totaled 771,327 units during the first nine months of the year. Italy’s 177,336 units represent a 6.4% uptick for Europe’s largest motorcycle market. France registrations were 132,950 motorcycles, up 2.4%. Sales in Germany tanked: 126,592 motorcycles registered is -11.7% fewer than this time last year. Spain’s 105,184 motorcycles is an 8.5% downturn, and the UK’s 80,222 new motorcycles is a 15.4% decline. Oh dear.

Of those, a total of 3,121 electric motorcycles were registered between January and September 2017 – a 13.4% decline. The largest European markets for electric motorcycles were: France (892, +4%), Spain (808, +51.9%) Germany (405, -32.3%), and Austria (691, -60.5%).

Mixing mopeds in makes the picture less gloomy; their 9.3% increase through Q3 to 280,279 units lets ACEM lead with combined sales of motorcycles and mopeds being down just 1.6%. Later, it divulges the uptick is partially due to the Slovenian government mandating all owners of unregistered mopeds register them.

Mopeds are two-wheelers less than 50cc. Photo by Tod Rafferty

France upholds its most-Green lead, same as with electrics, when it comes to mopeds (73,646 units, +7.2%); Netherlands (58,672 units, +5.9%), Germany (22,742 units, -9.2%), Poland (20,550 units, -4.1%), and Italy (19,823 units, -0.3%).

Motorcyclewise, ACEM didn’t speculate what led to the double-digit downturns, and we have no theories of our own regarding Germany and Spain. Fears of BREXIT in the UK, however, have led to inflation and cautious spending in that country. Maybe it’s affecting all of Europe. Except Italy. Viva Italia!

Still, it’s no time to panic, says Secretary General of ACEM Antonio Perlot:

“Vehicle registrations in Europe have slightly declined during the first 9 months of 2017 in comparison to the same period of 2016. From a longer time horizon, however, the moped and motorcycle fleet – that is the total number of vehicles circulating on the streets – increased from about 30.3 million units (2006) to 35.3 million units (2015).

“The reasons for this steady growth are well known. Motorcycles and mopeds are ideal for commuting, particularly in cities with high road traffic, and are easier to park, which of course saves considerable time to people. Also, they consume less fuel and are more affordable than other means of transport. These intrinsic advantages will still be there several years ahead, and therefore we expect the number of powered-two wheelers in Europe to continue increasing.

“Furthermore, our latest registration figures show an increase in the number of motorcycles used for leisure purposes in several European markets. These vehicles are mainly bought for the pleasure of riding itself, although they also offer a ‘cross over’ function and are also often used for commuting.

 

More here.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Well, damn. If the bike-mad Euros (I guess we have to say ‘And Brits’ now) aren’t buying then things are somewhat grim for sure. Hopefully this is just due to a temporary condition, like Brexit nervousness, or lack of enough compelling new models for 2017.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    I am glad Indian sales are still going up.

    • DickRuble

      just like mopeds.

  • DickRuble

    Mopeds don’t require a license and the small distances, narrow streets of most towns in France make them very convenient modes of transportation. Meanwhile, motorcycle (and automobile) license tests are much more stringent in Europe than in the USA, and registration fees, and cost of operating vehicles are proportional to engine size.

    • wg

      Actually , both in the UK and the Netherlands you require a license for a moped or scooter in the <50 cc 25-45 kph category. I don't know about other countries in the EU, but this could well be EU law.

      • DickRuble

        You’re right, laws have changed in the past 20 years. The law now requires the scooter (anything below 50cc, mas speed less than 70kph, automatic transmission) rider to have a 6D license. Until 20 or so years ago you could ride a scooter up to 125cc with your regular car license. Guess that’s out the window too.

  • NateBike

    This obviously won’t include bikes that are bought and never registered such as race bikes will it?

  • I think these figures loop 125s and scooters in with everything else. Registrations of those spiked considerably last year, with dealers seeking to avoid regulations that hit in 2017, so of course registrations would be down in the months following. That doesn’t necessarily mean that sales are down.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Yes, I was wondering why scooters were not included which are much more popular than motorcycles in the UK and all of Europe. Mopeds must include electric bicycles too which are much cheaper to buy.

      • wg

        Nope, electric bicycles are not included, and neither are scooters/mopeds with a 25 km/h speed limit.

  • spiff

    Mopeds have peddles.

    • wg

      They used to.

      • spiff

        They still do. No peddles? It’s a scooter.

        • Ozzy Mick

          I took the pedals off my ebike in China for better cornering clearance 😀

          • Paragon Lost

            You should have peddled them. Could have earned some extra cash. 😉

    • DickRuble

      No, they don’t have peddles, they never did. They used to have pedals.

      • Paragon Lost

        I once peddled some pedals….

        • spiff

          Don’t encourage Mr. Ruble. He’s a bad apple, and you are the company you keep.

        • spiff

          So I could have peddled some mopeds.

      • spiff

        I could blame spell check, but I did the same thing about 3 posts down.

  • wg

    I reckon there are several reasons why there was a drop in sales.

    First of all we had a rather cold and wet spring, which, speaking to dealers here, made the motorbike season start only very, very slowly, and never caught up.

    Next, overall, there is a decline in ownership of motorized transport, especially in the main cities, which have introduced stricter laws as to which types of vehicles are allowed, inclusive of discrimination by age, and these rules are getting more strict almost by the month.

    Since public transport is quite good in Europe, if you do live in the main cities, with limited parking space, and even having to pay in order to park your vehicle in front of your own door, or not even being able to allowed to do so, it makes more and more sense to become a pedestrian or cyclist/moped user for the short commutes, use public transport for the longer ones, and have anything you can’t handle that way because of size and weight, delivered to your door.

    When it comes to motorbikes, it also is increasingly difficult to find parking space for our mode of transport as well. Either there is no space as it is all taken up by bicycles (specific problem in my country), or you have to share with 4-wheeled transport, for which there isn’t enough parking space to begin with. I don’t mind paying for parking when I am out and about, but you’d have to find space first.

    Anyway, some of my ideas on the decline in (North Western) Europe.

  • Ozzy Mick

    Don’t know anything about Europe, but in Australia, sales are the number of bikes sold, many unregistered that are used offroad on farms, or hitched on the back of a ute or trailer and transported to an offroad track. I think motorbike sales in Oz have increased ever so slightly, like 1%.