Industry

UK motorcycle sales thrive in September off ‘69’ plate shift, BMW soar

UK motorcycle sales bounce back in September with the shift to "69" plates as BMW leaps up the sales charts from seventh to second biggest UK manufacturer

Motorcycle sales in the United Kingdom showed solid signs of recovery in the traditional as figures rebounded from a lacklustre August to post a comfortable year-on-year increase in September.

September – together with March – are traditionally seen as the most positive periods for new motorcycle sales as buyers hold off until the change in plate nomenclature, with the month heralding new ‘69’ registrations. 

As such, 12,978 motorcycles found homes over the course of September, a vast increase on the 6,924 that were sold in August as dealers ran out their stocks. 

While the month-on-month gains aren’t so much of a surprise given the value buyers receive by waiting until new plates to come into circulation, the more telling year-on-year figures also show positive results with a 3.9% uplift on the same period in 2018.

As such, after a strong start to the year followed by a summer period of decline month-on-month, UK motorcycle sales to date in 2019 have moved further into the ‘green’ with 89,283 machines being sold, a 2.3% gain on the 2018 with three months of the year remaining.

Despite this, the UK still trails wider European trends, with other key markets, such Spain and France on course for double digit growth in 2019. Sales on the mainland have been spurred on by the greater interest EV machines, in particular scooters which are more widely used on the continent.

The best-selling motorcycles in the UK for September 2019

In terms of categories, Supersport – which will only see the effect the new Yamaha R1 has had on the class from October in what has been a quiet year for launches - suffered a large drop of 12.8% year-on-year, while there was also a small decline in the naked category, though it is still largest overall by accounting 4,242 September models sold.

More niche classes – such as Custom and Trail/Enduro – enjoyed big increases, though it is the 8.2% increase in the Adventure Sport class that enjoyed the biggest overall effect.

Month-on-month, all major manufacturers posted sizeable gains with Honda continuing to lead the way with 2,601 motorcycles – including scooters – leaving the showrooms, a 52.1% rise.

Most interestingly, BMW soared up the order from August’s seventh biggest brand to second, with sales rising from 302 to 1490. That placed the German firm ahead of Yamaha and Triumph on the order, with Kawasaki rounding out the top five. 

Suzuki also had a strong month, moving from ninth to seventh behind Lexmoto, while KTM – while selling more bikes – dropped from fifth to eighth. Harley-Davidson and Royal Enfield completed the top ten. 

The best-selling motorcycle for the month was, as ever, the Honda PCX 125 scooter with 340 sold, though if you add the sales of the BMW R1250 GS Adventure, BMW R 1250 RS and BMW R 1250 RT – which top the Adventure, Sport/Tour and Touring categories respectively – they account for 515 sales. 




CATEGORYHIGHEST SELLING UK MOTORCYCLESept 2019
SCOOTER (MOPED)Lexmoto ECHO 50103
OTHER (MOPED)Lexmoto HUNTER 50 TD 50 Q58
SCOOTERHonda PCX 125340
ADVENTURE SPORTBMW R 1250 GS ADVENTURE299
CUSTOMHonda CMX 500 REBEL79
NAKEDHonda CB 125 F271
SPORT/TOURBMW R 1250 RS112
SUPERSPORTKawasaki Ninja 12598
TOURINGBMW R 1250 RT104
TRAIL/ENDUROHonda CRF 250 LA77


MAJOR BRANDSSept 2019
Honda2,601
BMW1,490
Yamaha1,347
Triumph961
Kawasaki889
Lexmoto779
Suzuki712
KTM639
Harley-Davidson491
Royal Enfield352

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