European motorcycle sales on the rise

Motorcycle registrations rose 7.2 per cent in the first half of 2018, but collapsing moped sales drag the overall two-wheeler market into a decline

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MOTORCYCLE SALES rose by 7.2% in Europe during the first half of 2018, with 564,851 registrations compared to 526,889 in the same period of 2017.

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But smaller mopeds continue to lose their popularity, declining by a massive 32.1% from 179,262 in the first half of 2017 to just 121,746 so far this year. That means the overall market for two-wheelers has slipped by 2.8%, from 706,151 in Jan-June 2017 to 689,597 during the first six months of 2018.

In the motorcycle market, Italy is the biggest player (up 4.4% to 130,540 in the first six months of 2018). It’s followed by France (98,660 – up 7.8%), Germany (97,620 – up 10.5%) and Spain (72,900, up 8.2%). The UK is fourth with 55,350 registrations at the halfway point in the year, a rise of 3.4%.

However, the good news on the motorcycle front is offset by awful moped sales. The once-huge market for sub-50cc bikes is disappearing, with a huge number of buyers believed to be opting for electrically-assisted bicycles – needing no registration, a licence or insurance – instead. 

Perhaps reflecting the shift from mopeds to electrically-assisted bicycles, there’s also been substantial growth in the market for electric bikes. Overall, it’s up 49%, with 21,100 registrations in the first half of the year. Of those, most (14,150) are in the moped class, while 5370 are motorcycles and 1580 are electric quadricycles.

Antonio Perlot, Secretary General of the European motorcycle industry association ACEM, said: “Our latest registration figures for the EU show, once again, the importance of two- and three-wheeled vehicles as a solution to the mobility needs of people, particularly in large urban areas that suffer from congestion problems.

“The latest increase in sales, particularly in the motorcycle segment, is a very positive development. Newer and more environmentally friendly vehicles are being added to the European vehicle fleet, which according to our estimations is now close to 36 million units.

“At the same time, the motorcycle industry continues working intensively on the development of new vehicles that will comply with the upcoming Euro 5 environmental standard, currently being discussed by the EU institutions.”