Thursday, 2 July 2015

German motorcycle sales

German motorcycle sales down in May

The latest data released by the motorcycle industry trade association in Germany (IVM) reveal a mixed picture for the market there in May.

New registrations of motorcycles in May were down by -4.26 percent for the month, compared to May 2014, at 11,363 from 11,869 - meaning that sales there have now been down for three of the five months of the year so far.
On a year-to-date basis the German market is still modestly up at +2.84 percent (57,382 compared to 55,800 units for the first five months of 2014). On a three-year view registrations in Germany have been up for 25 out of the 36 months since June 2012. For the full 12 months of 2014 the German motorcycle market was +10.75 percent at 96,823 units.
In total PTW terms, May was -0.54 percent in May (16,521 units); for the year-to-date they are also +2.84 percent, at 78,320 units; meaning the market in Germany for all PTWs has seen growth for 23 out of the last 36 months.

Comment by Editor, Robin Bradley

Now we only have 95% of a recession

THE new motorcycle registrations data for Europe so far this year confirms the fragility of the recovery that last year's market statistics started to show.

While some 65 percent of Europe's motorcycle registrations remain based on just seven markets (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, UK, Switzerland and Austria) the variables within those individual national markets have international significance - for motorcycle manufacturers and for parts, accessory, performance, and apparel product manufacturers and brand owners.

It can be no coincidence that macro-economic factors and motorcycle regulatory issues are at their most challenging in the one of the 'Big Seven' where there is still very little sign of growth yet - France.

While there are signs that the rate of decline is now slowing down in France, leading the motorcycle industry trade association there (CSIAM) to forecast a possibly slightly improved market by the end of 2015, at -2.8 percent for the first five months of the year, the peak selling season for larger displacements, the French market remains conspicuously and comparatively weak.

The year started equally uncertain in Germany, where trade association data shows sales down in January and February, before recovering to +4,75 percent up for the year-to-date by the end of May.

With Italy up by a very encouraging +10 percent for the first five months of the year, the UK a very healthy +13.57 percent, +14.36 percent in Switzerland and Spain up massively by nearly 18 percent, the trend data for the major markets is robust.

However, while upward trends are to be welcomed, they have to be seen in context - trends don't pay bills, results do, and context is king.

The ACEM data puts new motorcycle registrations for the 28 EU member states plus the two members of the European Free Trade Zone for which data is recorded (EFTA - Switzerland and Norway) at just over 840,000 units in 2014. That compares to a pre-recession peak of  nearly 1.6m in 2007 - a near 100 percent decline - so while welcome, growth rates of between 5 percent and 18 percent in markets that have declined by nearly 100 percent clearly still have years and years of recovery ahead before we get anywhere near the market we had a decade ago.

market growth remains fragile

The ACEM data for France shows motorcycle registrations there peaking at nearly 240,000 units in 2007, down to a low of 148,000 in 2013 and, according to their methodology, slight growth in 2014 to just over 153,000 units.

While the UK and Germany are going to get closer to their 2007 figures sooner, if current trends are sustained, the decline was brutal in Spain, where 270,000 sales had collapsed to around 92,000 by 2103, but of the "Big Seven" the Italian market has seen the 434,000 motorcycle registrations recorded in 2007 go into complete freefall - bottoming out at 154,000 in 2013.

With manufacturers such as BMW, KTM and Ducati regularly reporting all-time production and sales records currently, other manufacturers such as Triumph, MV Agusta and Harley-Davidson, Kymco and some other Asian brands doing well and looking at European expansion, and while there are still casualties (EBR and Gas Gas/Ossa being two recent ones), even some of the traditionally "poor men of Europe" such as Moto Guzzi and other Piaggio brands doing better than has been the case at times in their storied histories, it is the originators of the superbike boom, the authors of what until recently was the "modern market" story, the Japanese "Big Four", who have suffered most.

Here too though, check this out for context. In April this year Japanese motorcycle exports to Europe were down by nearly 8 percent year-on-year at 12,742 units; in May of 2007 that figure, by no means the largest month of that year, was over 52,000 machines.

For the whole of 2003 Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki exports to Europe totalled over 420,000 units compared to under 158,000 last year.

 I realise that most of you reading this will know all this, it is not "new news" after all - but sometimes you have to just take a moment and a deep intake of breath to contemplate the sheer size and vertiginous slopes of the mountain the motorcycle industry in Europe has just started to climb.

As I have been saying regularly the past 24 months, "better is good", and like any first gear, the first steps are the toughest and require the greatest of effort.

I am not negative about the coming months and years, just suitably cautious. It is worth remembering just how far we still have to go before anyone thinks that the recession is over; it isn't - all that has happened is that this year we "just" have 95 percent of it left to endure.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but don't put the umbrella down quite yet!


Updated grips with advanced features

DOMINO has further expanded its range of production off-road and Supermoto grips with a new line of Camouflage grips developed in three original ‘mimetic’ colour combinations based on three elements: sand for Desert, green for Jungle and asphalt for Urban.

Also seen here is their Snake range for use on off-road bikes with a grip length of 120mm. An updated version of their existing A260 cross grips, they are being made available in yellow/black, blue/white, red/white, orange/black, green/black and red/black.

The new Camouflage and Snake grips are said to feature advanced technical solutions to enhance their ergonomics and safety in use.

Sirtori (LC), ITALY
Tel: +39 0399 211286

Free Spirits

Triumph Scrambler foot controls

ITALIAN specialist Free Spirits is now offering foot control kits for Triumph’s Scrambler. The machined aluminium controls feature folding pegs to help prevent damage in the event of a fall.
The controls fit the bike without modification and are available in black, silver or red.

Carrè (VI), ITALY
Tel: +39 0445 390437


X-Pro silencers and full systems

GIANNELLI has introduced X-Pro, a new range of slip-on silencers and full systems for street bikes.

A Nichrom black alloy, round silencer is used, which is finished with a laser-etched Giannelli logo. Available for a wide range of popular makes and models, X-pro systems are street legal and have removable baffles.

Selci (PG), ITALY
Tel: +39 0758 61081


Magura X-Line handlebars - Chris Pfeiffer edition

MAGURA has worked with multiple World and European stunt riding champion Chris Pfeiffer to develop the special CPX edition of its X-Line handlebars.Magura’s CPX ‘bars are made from shot-blasted aluminium using the company’s patented X-line production process, one of only two worldwide patents for tapered handlebars. This process is said to ensure that the handlebars are strong and durable and able to pass the TÜV test. 

CPX bars are available in various heights and widths, and come supplied with a TÜV certificate. Two clamp kits are available to work with the CPX handlebars; the Black X-line clamp kit for bikes with a removable split clamp to replace the existing split clamp so that the 'fat' CPX bar can be fitted, and the Black X-line conversion clamp kit is for bikes with an original lower clamp that is integral to the bike. This kit bolts to the original lower clamp, converting it to accept a clamp for the 'fat' CPX bars.

Bad Urach, GERMANY
Tel: +49 (0)7125 153 262


'Shot' summer glove

NEW from Orina, the 'Shot' leather glove features their TFL Cool System.
Through the special TFL processing of the leather, 80% of the solar energy is said to be reflected, resulting in a claimed difference of up to 20 degrees C in a material that is optimised for durability.

The partly perforated leather provides ventilation. Shock-absorbing gel on the palms reduces vibrations, and external seams, knuckle protectors and a protector on the back of the hand are said to make the 'Shot' an ideal summer riding solution.

Eschweiler, GERMANY
Tel. +49 (0)2403 99960


Metropolitan-1 jet helmet

THE Metropolitan-1 is said to combine "amazing flexibility and individual design options with maximum safety and optimum comfort" according to German manufacturer Schuberth.

Equipped with integrated speakers and concealed microphones for the latest generation of the optional SRC-System intercom, the clear standard visor can be replaced with optional 40 percent or 80 percent tint versions, visors in a silver or blue mirror finish and a choice of five different sun visors.
The removable visor can be replaced with an accessory peak, available in titanium or matt black. Riders can also choose a top ventilation scoop in titanium (standard) or matt black.

The shell is made of a composite matrix with a weight of just 1,395 g, but despite this low weight Schuberth say the helmet achieved "outstanding" shock absorption figures. EPS in varying degrees of hardness is used for the inner shell "to ensure the best possible fit, comfort and safety".
The multi-piece inner shell incorporates integrated ventilation channels that create a controlled flow of air. The patented A.R.O.S. (Anti-Roll-Off-System) is designed to ensure the helmet remains securely in place in an emergency.
The removable inner lining is said to be the first one ever to be completely seamless, and is antibacterial, breathable and quick-drying.
The optional SRC Communication System allows wireless communication with pillion or other riders features a built-in antenna and includes a hands-free function for mobile phone, music streaming and playback of voice commands from satnavs.

Magdeburg, GERMANY
Tel. +49 (0)391 81060


AGM for BMWs

YUASA has introduced an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery specifically designed to replace the conventional vented lead-acid OEM batteries on BMW motorcycles.
It includes the protective terminal caps that characterise BMW factory batteries, and fits a variety of models from 1970 to present, from 500cc to 1,600cc engines.

“Batteries on BMW motorcycles are especially difficult to access,” said James Hylton, Yuasa's European Sales & Marketing Manager. “This makes it hard for the owner to maintain the battery on a regular basis. The new battery is a sealed, maintenance-free AGM design, so there is no need to routinely check the fluid level".
The AGM technology, with a lead calcium design, is said to eliminate water loss and hold its charge more than three times longer than conventional lead antimony types.
It is shipped dry along with its own pack of electrolyte that is added at the time of installation. Once filled with electrolyte from its special packs, an AGM battery is said to be virtually maintenance-free. The electrolyte is absorbed in the special plates and separators, so there is no need to worry about leaks onto valuable vehicle parts and accessories.

Tokyo, JAPAN
Tel: +81 (0)3 5402 5800