Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 Comment

2013 – How was it for you?

As the motorcycle industry comes to the end of another testing year, it is worth taking the time to think back over the past twelve months, but to do so in the context of the year(s) to come.

Towards the end of 2012, industry analysts had been predicting that there were early signs showing that the rate of decline in new motorcycle registrations in Europe was, at worst, slowing, and that maybe by the end of 2013 there might be some small pockets of growth in some European markets.

Overall, I don’t think the year has gone as well, in new motorcycle registration terms, as many had hoped, and there has certainly been no perceivable bounce in pre-owned motorcycle demand and prices in the key markets.
However, led by the aftermarket, which has, no doubt, had a slightly better year than had been feared, we do arrive at the end of 2013 with some positive indicators.
As reported in International Dealer News in December, the parts, accessory and apparel industry, if not exactly brimming over with confidence, was a lot more positive about the year ahead at the Milan show in November than had been the case at any time since November 2009 – which was when the full impact of the global economic crisis finally started to affect all businesses in our industry.
In new motorcycle registration terms, most good news (mostly mixed news really), needs to be judged in terms of the awful downward spiral of sales that we started to see in 2009.

To put that in context, while many are pointing to the industry having effectively halved since then, market performance has actually been worse than that – total new PTW registrations in Europe were a shade under three million units a year as recently as 2007/8.
While we await the final statistics for 2013 as a full year, at best we are going to close out 2013 with total PTW registrations in Europe sitting at a tad over 1 million units.
As suggested, it is context and trend that is king at this time, and in the final months of the year we have seen some key markets return to growth, some key markets sustain modest average low single digit growth throughout the year (in motorcycle terms at least) and, France aside, the two other primary Mediterranean markets (Spain and Italy) have either returned to growth (in the case of Spain) or seen the rate of the decline start to somewhat level out (as is the case in Italy).
Other good news this year centred around the outcome (announced in late 2012) of the most recent three-year cycle of concern surrounding EU regulatory impacts. This year has seen the minutia of procedures rumble through their stages, and as we end 2013, it looks like common sense has continued to prevail.
Credit is due to ACEM, the Brussels based industry association, FEMA, the Brussels based riders rights lobby group, and indeed to certain elements within the EU itself for resisting some of the wilder proposals that have been floated. Regulators have successfully combed their obligations to promote safety with realism about what it is that motorcycle consumers actually want to consume, and about what manufacturers can produce at anything less than heart attack pricing.
Within the EU, within the European Parliament specifically, a huge thanks is owed to Dutch MEP Wim van de Kamp, who is the European Parliament’s rapporteur on motorcycle affairs and as such a very big wheel on the internal markets committee (IMCO) that has been in the vanguard of finalising the latest generation of regulations.
Van de Kamp is (fortunately) a rider of many years standing, and as he gleefully described himself at the recent ACEM/EICMA conference in Milan he is one of those “bloody politicians” who not only takes what he is doing with suitable seriousness and a great deal of personal interest, but, sometimes to the chagrin of colleagues, sustains that interest and a monitoring brief long after other politicians have leapt for the next greasy pole or given up and gone to the bar.
While the prognosis for the motorcycle industry maybe one of ‘condition stable but still serious’ rather than ‘critical’ as we go into 2014, in macro-economic terms the early stages of consumer feel-good factor suggesting that the worst is behind us (especially in the Euro currency zone) is now being talked-up; indeed the once widespread agenda-shaping fears about the stormy waters ahead for the single currency project also appear to have abated.
However, very few of Europe’s media (financial or otherwise) and even fewer of Europe’s economic analysts (be they bull or bear) are being completely honest with the public about some of the underlying dangers that still exist.
Europe remains one shock away from a deflation trap, and China continues to hover perilously close to its own banking crisis.
In the United States the Federal Reserve has now announced that it is going to start winding down its programme of monetary stimulus, and while this has not, in the short term, been met by the dramatic drops in stock prices that had seemed likely as recently as October and November, the trend in Producer Price Inflation (PPI) is an indicator that should be getting much wider and more detailed attention and scrutiny than is currently the case.

Excess industrial capacity in China is exporting deflation across the world. Factory gate prices are falling in China, and given the labour force cost increases (among others) in China, there is the making of a massive profits squeeze ahead.
Europe’s slide towards deflation could replicate what happened in Japan at the onset of its “lost decade”.
In parts and accessory terms, 2014 (and beyond) should see continuing modest growth for those who have got the right products, at the right price, in the right place - 'mixed channelling' will continue to evolve as the market's historic distribution patterns and retail habits continue to respond to the same 21st century pressures that is affecting so many markets and industries.

It is tempting to hope that the linkage forged in downturns past between demand for aftermarket product sustaining or even growing as new model buying is delayed and older bikes have ever more miles squeezed out of them, but it is difficult to be sure whether the old 'received wisdoms' are valid anymore - so far the pre-owned market has not proven robust in the face of the shrinking number of new model sales. Maybe its time is about to come!

At present there is still over-supply in the food chain, and, as seen by the recent issues at once mighty players such as LeoVince/Sito Group and the rump of the often troubled Hein Gericke operation, the blood-letting is not over yet.

Whatever it is you hope for in 2014, and however you intend to go about achieving it, all of us here at International Dealer News wish everyone in our industry and all the millions of people who buy, use and enjoy our products all the very best for the year ahead.

European Market update

European Market update:
October 2013 down -14 percent

Brussels based industry organisation ACEM (Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motorcycles) says "October ended with a -14.1 percent YTD decline in Powered Two-Wheeler (PTW) registration in Europe, with motorcycle registrations indicating stabilisation for the second consecutive month".
"The rate at which the EU motorcycle market has been dropping since 2008 seems to have slowed down with sales of L-category vehicles in October contributing to improvement in the poor performance accumulated during the first months of 2013".  
Despite the yearly trend, motorcycle registrations are showing positive signs of stabilisation.
In October PTW sales in Europe totalled 79,368 units up +6.4 percent from October 2012. In the 10 first months of 2013 so far 1,067,746 vehicles were sold, compared to 1,243,800 in 2012. On average October accounts for 6 percent of yearly sales.
For October, motorcycle sales were down -11 percent across Europe as a whole, moped sales were down -20 percent. Motorcycle registrations were up in Austria (+5%), Germany (+1.4%) and the UK (+0.4%).
Moped registrations were down -17.3 percent compared to October 2012.
For combined moped sales and motorcycles registrations (total PTWs) selected markets were: France -14.5%, Germany -4.5%, Italy -28.5%, Poland -17.3%, Spain -9.7%, The Netherlands -13.2%, UK -2.5%. ACEM say that "all-in-all October shows marginal signs of a slow down in the negative trend in the context of a generalised market deterioration. However, increases in motorcycle registrations indicates that a stabilisation for certain segments might be in sight".
Source: ACEM Newsletter, December 19th 2013. To sign up to receive ACEM's regular communications, including their newsletter, follow the links at


StatZone - Spain, Italy, UK, Japan, China

SPAIN - November +9.1 percent

SPAIN - November +9.1 percent as ANESDOR calls for equal treatment with new car purchase incentives. The improvement in the Spanish market that began in September continues, with November registrations up by +9.1 percent over November 2012 at 6,235 units.

However, decline in the first half of the year will take some time to be restored, with total registrations for the year-to-date down a lot less than they were, in percentage terms, at -7.1 percent, for  a total of 87,214 units registered.
Commenting on the performance of the market in Spain, Jose Maria Riano, Secretary General of ANESDOR, the motorcycle industry association in Spain said that "the November registration statistics provide further evidence that improving economic conditions and consumer confidence in Spain are reflected in the positive trend we are now seeing".
He went on to say "however, the year-to-date decrease of -7.1 percent and the aging nature of the fleet (14.1 years for motorcycles against 12 years old for passenger cars) shows that our market is still being affected by absence from some of the economic initiatives in Spain, such as Plan PIVE old vehicle replacement scheme (the Efficient Vehicle Incentive Programme).
"There is no reason why motorcycles and their owners should be discriminated against - only 3 percent of the total budget to encourage owners to change their vehicles sooner is being targeted towards replacement of Powered Two Wheelers despite the overwhelming economic and public benefits that full extension to our industry would deliver".

ITALY - November -4.75 percent

Registrations declined to -1.23 percent in September, but October and November saw decreases of -14.92 (10,220 units from 12,141 in 2012) and -4.75 percent (6,782 units from 7,120 in 2012) respectively. This brings the total units registered for the 11 months of the year-to-date to 149,923,down -25.94 percent from 202,445 in the same period in 2012.

United Kingdom - November up +4.03 percent

Total UK motorcycle registrations for November were up +4.03 at 4,308 units (up from 4,141 in November 2012).
Total motorcycle registrations for the year to date are up slightly at 77,632 (+0.54 percent compared to 77,212 for the year-ago-period.
However, total UK PTW registrations remain down for the year to date, at -2.42, with 87,794 units registered (down from 89,968 a year ago). The November figure was down slightly after a couple of months of positive figures at -0.59 (5,062 units registered, down from 5,092 in November 2012).

Japanese Manufacturer exports to Europe for October

Japanese exports of motorcycles to Europe rose by +28.95 percent in October, at 9,956 units, which is up from 7,721 in October 2012. This is the highest monthly figure since April of this year.
However, total exports for the year remain in negative territory - 99,834 units exported to Europe for the first ten months of 2013 (-20.56 from the 125,677 seen in the first ten months of 2012).
Total Japanese Manufacturer PTW exports to Europe follow a similar pattern - up +23.35 percent for the month of October (11,536 units exported, up from 9,352 units in 2012); with total PTW exports remaining negative for the year-to-date, at 113,476 units exported, down -18.51 percent from 139,248 in the equivalent 2012 period.

Chinese exports and production

Chinese exports remained positive in November, with 757,600 units exported (up +6.9 percent from November 2012), bringing the total units exported to 8,374,200 for the year to date, up +2.7 percent from the year ago period.
Chinese Production remains down for the year to date, but positive for the month of November (the first positive month since January this year). In November 1,982,000 units were produced, up by +6 percent compared to November 2012.
Total units produced for the year-to-date were 20,731,500, down -3.7 percent on the first 11 months of 2012.

BMW GS Trophy

BMW International GS Trophy 2014

BMW Motorrad has held its International GS Trophy every two years since 2008, allowing BMW GS riders from numerous nations to engage in sporting competition on motorcycles and in other disciplines. 

For 2014, the International GS Trophy 2014 will be held in the northern hemisphere for the first time, in western Canada, at the beginning of September.

Some 16 teams with riders from at least 18 nations will spend nine days battling it out at the "GS riders' Olympic,s enjoying the beauty of the landscape, facing up to the challenges of the tough outdoors and sharing the legendary GS spirit with new-found friends and like-minded individuals".
The series started with five teams in Tunisia in 2008. Two years later more than twice as many teams lined up to represent their countries in southern Africa, and the third contest in Chile and Argentina in 2012 saw 15 teams set off on a track of some 2,000 km.
As a result of detailed enquiries the search for the most beautiful route, impressive locations and appropriate sporting challenges, the final choice was the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta in western Canada between Vancouver and Calgary, including crossing the Rocky Mountains.
Teams from the following countries have given final confirmation that they will take part, some having already qualified in national knock-out competitions: Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Russia, Austria/Switzerland, Central Eastern Europe, the USA, Mexico, Latin America, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and of course Canada.
While the BMW Motorrad GS Trophy was previously held using the BMW F 800 GS, participants in Canada will ride the new R 1200 GS - the first time for a Boxer GS. 

JPMS 2014 date and venue change

Another date and venue
change for JPMS 2014

ORIGINALLY planned for Marseille in February 2014, French motorcycle industry expo JPMS (formerly held in Lyon, France, each year) has announced another change of venue and timing.

Market conditions and the resulting business uncertainty among the event’s exhibitor community has resulted in a decision by the organisers to seek a new date towards the end of 2014 on which to move the show to Paris. Full details will be confirmed in the first quarter of 2014.

After dialogue with exhibitors and visitors it is felt that the date change and move to Paris will offer the best possible business opportunity under the current economic conditions in France.

Rizoma's C 600 Sport parts

Rizoma launches parts for C 600 Sport

RIZOMA, which is well-known for its range of machined aluminium parts and accessories for motorcycles, has now expanded its product range to include BMW’s C 600 Sport scooter.

The range of parts available for the BMW scooter includes replacement adjustable levers for both the front and rear brakes, brake reservoir caps for both brakes, bar end weights and mirror adaptors to allow Rizoma universal fit mirrors to be used. To give the Sport an even more sporting look, Rizoma has a version of its Proguard system available to fit the C 600 Sport, which prevents the brake from being accidentally pressed, and applying the brakes when not required.

Moving rearward on the scooter, Rizoma has CNC-machined billet aluminium footpegs for the pillion in either ‘Pro’ or ‘B-Pro’ designs, and both have TÜV approval. The space just below the peg mount can be fitted with Rizoma’s frame hole cap kit. Rizoma also has TÜV approval on its license plate support for the C 600 Sport, and that can be used with the company’s custom turn signals with the appropriate adapters. Completing the line of parts for the C 600 Sport are a front wheel axle protector and a matching rear hub cover/protector.


Tel. +39 0331 242020

Touratech suspension

Touratech R1200 GS suspension by TracTive

Touratech, the German adventure touring specialist has entered the suspension market with a system for the BMW R1200 GS, developed for them by specialist Dutch suspension manufacturer TracTive. Their system is a DDA (dynamic damping) Plug & Travel that is said to offer “a completely new riding experience particularly on demanding tours”. Sensors register irregularities in the ground, and send this information to electronic controls, which adjust the spring elements in a matter of milliseconds.
Electromagnetically controlled valves adjust the flow of oil in the fork, increasing or reducing the damping effect. The greatest challenge affecting semi-active suspensions has always been capturing of information from the original plugs on an
ECU and translating that data so it could be used to control an aftermarket retrofit product.
Jo Glaser, Touratech’s suspension product manager, says that what makes this system stand out is that it is easily interchangeable with BMW’s own DDC system.
“Touratech’s DDA Plug & Travel suspension uses the existing plugs and is operated through the switches that are already built into the handlebar. The system is integrated into the motorbike through BMW’s original ECU”. This means the rider can continue to use all the BMW standard driving modes and loading presets as well as custom settings. Tom Glazemakers, who heads up the TracTive suspension team that has helped Touratech to develop the system, told IDN that “our front shock has a 46mm diameter compared to BMW’s 36mm, and is made in aluminium tube rather than the original steel.
We are able to keep the temperature much lower and improve the stability of the dampening action, therefore improving the handling performance and durability of the system”.
Tom went on to say that “one of the most important features of the system we have developed for Touratech is the use of our patented bypass valve. Activated in milliseconds, the reaction of the suspension is electronically tuned all the way from completely closed to fully open. This is a departure from the basically automotive technology used by manufacturers such as BMW with their CNC style mechanical valves”.

GPR 2014 products

GPR Italia adds CNC parts to exhaust programme for 2014

ITALIAN exhaust specialist GPR is preparing to increase its product range for 2014, as it reports an increase in export sales has given it its best sales improvement in the last five years.
Among the new options being prepared for launch in 2014 is the Tiburon line of exhausts for motorcycle applications. Supplied with a removable DB killer, the new exhausts are designed for use on bikes which have the silencer under the tail section.
For the scooter market, GPR is expanding its Furore line of exhausts. In 2014 the range of Furore will be available for most four-stroke scooters between 125 and 350cc. The exhausts are made of aluminium and offered in several colours, silver, black, and carbon look.
Alongside its core business of exhaust production GPR is now launching its Ergal line in 2104. Producedin Milan, the new range of CNC machined Ergal aluminium parts includes gas caps, brake pedal levers, crash bungs, and other small parts, available in several colours from January 2014.

Tel: +39 02 98112058