THE UK market for motorcycles fell 3.2 per cent in November, in a year where growth has been more or less level.
With total year-to-date (Jan-Nov) sales of 89,968 units, the market grew just 0.1 per cent over the same period last year. But November 2012 sales amounted to 5,092 units, compared to 5,262 in November 2011.
The poor performance was driven by a surprising fall at the lower end of the market, in the sub-50cc and 51-125cc segments (-7.2 and -6.8 per cent, respectively). The 651-1000cc segment fared even worse, with a -7.3 per cent drop.
On the plus side, the 126-650cc and over-1000cc sectors experienced encouraging growth, with sales of 637 and 705 units respectively, or 8.1 and 9.8 per cent higher than November 2011's figures. Top sellers in these two segments were Honda's CRF250L (52 units) and Triumph's Tiger Explorer 1200 (46 units).
Honda led the overall monthly sales chart, with 890 scooters and motorcycles sold in November 2012, followed by Yamaha and Piaggio some way behind, with 539 and 362 sales respectively. The best-selling model across all categories in November was Honda's Vision 110 scooter, with 133 units sold.
Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA)/Motorcycle Retailers Association (MRA), said: "The 51-125cc commuter bike market has performed throughout the year with an increase in the year to date of 9.3 per cent. However, in November the 51-125cc market experienced a fall of 6.8 per cent. This is a strong indication that economic pressures are affecting basic purchases of lower priced motorcycles that many consumers consider an essential form of commuter transport."
Barring a surprise surge, chances are slim that December's figures will be enough to make 2012 a year of overall positive growth for motorcycle sales.