Friday, 24 February 2017

EU motorcycle registrations

EU motorcycle registrations +13.3 percent in 2016

According to the latest data published by ACEM, the Brussels based international motorcycle industry trade association, new motorcycle registrations (vehicles with two or three wheels and an engine capacity of more than 50cc) in all of Europe’s EU markets were up by +13.3 percent in 2016 at 1,009,529 units (891,219 in 2015).

The largest market for motorcycles in Europe was Italy, with 195,290 units registered (+13.5% on a year-on-year basis); followed by Germany +15.1 percent (174,624 units); France + 6.6 percent (163,335 units); Spain + 17 percent (155,003 units) and the UK + 13.4 percent (119,889 units).

 PTWs +9.1 percent

Some caution is required when comparing these figures with prior years because the major motorcycle manufacturers and many larger dealers artificially inflated the end of year activity (November and December 2016) with pre-registrations of unsold Euro 3 compliant 2016 inventory before the December 31st deadline - Euro 4 compliance became mandatory for all new registrations effective January 1st 2017.
In total Powered Two-Wheeler (PTW) terms, registrations were +9.1 percent at 1,307,206 units, with the moped market still soft at -3.5 percent for 2016 (327,786 units).
France remains the largest European market for overall PTW registrations and was +4.2 percent in 2016 (253,067 units), followed by Italy +11.8 percent (219,865 units); Germany +15.1 percent (174,264 units); Spain +15.9 percent (172,176 units) and the UK +11.7 percent (128,637 units).

Moped registrations continue to decline in most European markets, with the best growth seen in Spain +7.6 percent (17,173 units) and the Netherlands +2.9 percent (67,825 units), with France, Europe’s largest moped market, stable at +0.1 percent (89,732 units) and Italy (24,575 units) with -0.2%.
Motorcycles, mopeds and quadricycles registered in Europe in 2016 with a cylinder capacity of less than 125 cc accounted for 49 percent of the 1,307,206 units total PTW market (672,551 units); vehicles with a cylinder capacity between 126cc and 500cc accounted for 19% of the total (268,103 units); vehicles with engines between 500cc and 1000cc were 20.6 percent of the market (283,868 units); vehicles with engines of 1000cc or more totalled 150,444 units, 10.9% of the total; the 500cc+ market was 434,312 units; the 125cc+ market was 702,415 units in 2016.

 Italy, Europe’s largest motorcycle market, +13.3 percent

Registrations of electric mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles in the EU reached 22,402 units. Of these, 11,314 units were mopeds (50.5% of the total); 7,148 were quadricycles (31.9% of the total); and 3,513 were electric motorcycles (15.7% of the total).
The largest markets for electrically-propelled mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles were France (7,396 units), the Netherlands (5,203 units), Italy (2,385 units), Spain (1,604 units) and Germany (1,501 units).
Of all mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles registered in the EU, 1.6% were electric vehicles. Internal combustion vehicles and vehicles equipped with hybrid propulsion represented 98.4% of the total registrations.

CEM Secretary General Antonio Perlot: “We need a European trade policy that not only secures strategic free trade agreements with key partners, but also one that prevents protectionist policies abroad”.
The Secretary General of the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM), Antonio Perlot, said that “2016 was a very positive year for the industry, with registrations increasing in most European countries, particularly in the largest European markets.

 156,000 jobs in the EU

“Strong demand for PTWs of all kinds across Europe is a testament to their inherent advantages. Mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles have reduced purchasing and running costs, are easier to park than cars, and reduce travelling times and congestion in cities.
“Notwithstanding this, our sector still faces a delicate situation. Although more than 1.3 million vehicles were registered in Europe in 2016, that figure is about half the 2.43 million units registered in 2007 before the economic crisis hit.
“According to our latest estimates, about 156,000 jobs are generated directly or indirectly by our sector in the EU. Activities such as manufacturing of vehicles, parts and components, as well as the repair and maintenance of vehicles and manufacturing of protective equipment, to name just a few examples, create jobs all over Europe - particularly in countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Spain and the UK.
“Exports of motorcycles, parts and accessories to foreign countries are essential to sustaining jobs in the motorcycle sector in Europe. In addition to a stronger domestic European market, we need a European trade policy that not only secures strategic free trade agreements with key partners, but also one that prevents protectionist policies abroad”.

Comment by Editor, Robin Bradley

Urbanisation, outreach and innovation

We were still waiting for ACEM to confirm the final sales results for Europe for the 2016 full year period as this edition went to press, but based on their statistics to the end of November 2016, it looks like new motorcycle registrations in Europe will have grown by around +9 percent by the end of the year.
That said, the figures for the first 11 months of 2016, to November (as seen on the front cover of this edition of IDN), may be a better guide to what really happened for the year. Those figures show growth of +8.3 percent, and though somewhat affected by the advance registrations of Euro 3 inventory (before the new regulations came into effect on January 1st), they aren’t as hugely distorted in the way that the December statistics are for markets such as Germany, UK, France and Spain.
As the dawn of the Euro 4 era loomed large in the mirrors, OEs and dealers sought to make sure that unsold carry-over inventory was securely pre-registered by the December 31st deadline, so it could still be sold in 2017, even if at a discount and, technically, as pre-owned machines.
Whether or not it will prove to have been a financially viable exercise in registration and regulation manipulation remains to be seen. The experience of the past decade appears to suggest not. It has been a decade in which emissions compliance (and safety) have matured as factors that play well among new consumer groups – especially the increasingly important new generation younger rider and family riding consumer groups.
It may be then that manufacturers (and some of their dealers in some cases) may just have to suck it up and “take a haircut” on this occasion where the “unsolds” are concerned.
We need not let that detract from the good news though.
Deck the Hall with boughs of holly, sing it loud and sing it proud – 2016 has been our third straight year of meaningful growth in new motorcycle registrations (even if lower value PTWs remain soft) following the bottom of our excruciatingly wide U-curve having been traversed at a nadir of 781,762 units in all European markets (EU and EFTA) in 2013.
As Stephan Schaller and Antonio Perlot (ACEM President and General Secretary respectively) would no doubt immediately point out, that still leaves us with around half the size of the market we had before the banking industry got caught with their balance sheets trapped in a black hole.

 ‘only half can grow beards’

Having managed to turn the machine around and start it moving in the right direction, the momentum must be maintained and the road continuously ploughed to give our industry the clearest possible run at exploiting the issues such as congestion, handling, ergonomics, emissions and safety that continue to become our friends rather than our weaknesses as we seek customers new.
With most of the market’s principal players, including those from Japan, either starting to show the signs of turn-around or, in the case of the likes of BMW, Ducati, KTM and others, piling up the records, it is timely to reflect that actually, just as it is with dealerships (franchise and otherwise) and aftermarket parts and accessory vendors, the number of fatalities we have seen has been irrationally low in real terms – relative to the wholesale slaughter of a greater than 50 percent loss of the most valuable sales.
There have been casualties - Victory and EBR (again) just recently – and the small displacement manufacturing sector (especially in Spain) has had a torrid time of it, as has the United States.
The market in the U.S. started to recover from the recession, with three or four years of modest overall annual unit growth for domestic manufacturers and importers. Indeed, Harley-Davidson and Polaris saw their share prices recover from around $8.00 in late 2009 to the dizzy heights of around $70.00 and $135.00 or more respectively; until that recovery started to stall around 36 months ago.
Polaris’ decision to drop Victory production in favour of better ROI chances with Indian, and Harley’s stated aim of injecting 50 new models into their offer in the next five years, are both dramatic steps from manufacturers who are quite openly targeting international sales as their lifeboat, just as Triumph, Ducati, KTM and BMW in particular look to grow increased shares in the sectors of American consumer demand that the domestic manufacturers fail to speak to.
There have been demographic changes in the USA, but they are not yet the same ones that have been seen in Europe. The USA continues to lag where the impact of the ever more intense urbanisation is concerned. It will come though. With the OECD projecting that 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050, it is a bullet that manufacturers there won’t be able to duck, even in the wide open spaces of their continental sized market.
Increased urbanisation in the United States, and the gradual domination of more environmentally conscious generations of consumers, may well be among the factors that finally see the U.S. market brake the shackles of an historically static less than 4 percent of those of riding age owning or using a motorcycle, compared to Europe’s nearly 10 percent.
The changes that have been shaping riding in the United States this past decade have, so far, manifested as a belated recognition that the discretionary leisure Dollars that women, Hispanics, African Americans and other previously overlooked so-called minority customer groups have at their disposal are just as green as anyone else’s, and work just as well in the market’s cash registers.
Our trade associations (the IVM in Germany especially) and manufacturers have been doing a good job where “outreach” is concerned, but they can never do too much. We need to wake up and realise that only 50 percent of our potential customers can even grow beards.
Wherever we do find the energy to fuel the momentum, the importance of OE innovation and investment remains as ever critical. In Europe, in particular, and in Munich and Bologna especially, the OE’s refusal to reach for the R&D off-switch during the recession has, frankly, saved our asses!

Swiss motorcycle registrations

Swiss motorcycle registrations -3.4 percent 2016

After having been up by over +17 percent in 2015, the latest data from the motorcycle industry trade association in Switzerland (MotoSuisse) shows new motorcycle registrations there down by -3.4 percent for the full year in 2016 at 26,391 units.

Interestingly in a market that was not subject to the Euro 3 inventory carry-over issue, December sales were a more realistic -1,89 percent on low volumes (466 units).
YTD at 25,362 units; and down by -8.33 percent in October on very low volumes (869 units).
In total PTW terms, the market in Switzerland was down by -6.21 percent at 45,897 units for the full year 2016.
In motorcycle market share terms, Yamaha had top spot having sold 4,803 units, with BMW second (3,485 units), Harley-Davidson third (3,032 units), Honda fourth (2,701 units) and Kawasaki fifth (2,399 units).
Yamaha’s MT-07 was the top seller in Switzerland in 2016 (935 units), with their MT-09 in fourth (526 units) and MT-09 Tracer sixth (526 units).
The BMW R 1200 GS was second best seller in Switzerland in 2016 (678 units), with Honda’s CRF 1000 ‘Africa Twin’ third (641 units).

News Briefs

General Motors and Honda have announced establishment of what is described as the auto industry’s first manufacturing joint venture to mass-produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be used in future products from each company. Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC will operate within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, south of Detroit. Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 new jobs. The companies are making equal investments totalling $85 million in the joint venture.

Having acquired the rights to the once famous Paton Motorcycle brand, Italian exhaust specialist SC-Project say that they are working on a Paton S1-R 2017 version for Stefano Bonetti and Michael Rutter to race with at this year’s IOM TT in June. The same bike, the Paton S1, will then be available for sale in an approved homologated version for road use in a limited number, built by hand in Milan, where a new Paton Reparto Corse is an ambitious project - the development of a Moto2 prototype.

Mahindra Two Wheelers, the Indian motorcycle manufacturer who bought a 51 percent stake in Peugeot’s Scooter business in 2014, has acquired the rights to the legendary British BSA name from Southampton UK based BSA-Regal late last year.

The MCIA, the motorcycle trade association in the UK, has announced an innovative three-way partnership to make roads safer for riders. It has partnered with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Highways England, the government owned company responsible for running over 4,000 miles of England’s motorways and other major roads. The aim of this “landmark collaboration” will be to “improve motorcycle rider safety” by implementing the recommendations of ‘Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity: A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework’ – a white paper that calls for motorcycles and scooters to be included in mainstream transport policy and for rider safety to be consistently factored into national road design.

Legendary sportswear and motorcycle clothing brand RUKKA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its adoption of the RUKKA brand name in 1966. The company can trace its origins back some 66 years in total, when founder Roger Störling started the business in his family’s farmhouse kitchen in Finland in 1950. The company changed its name to Rukka Products in 1966, and in 1981 it became simply Rukka Oy - ‘Rukka’ being founder Roger Störling’s nickname. The flags in the modern-day Rukka logo stand for the letters R,U,K,K,A in the international flag signal alphabet – an homage to the sport of sailing, which once constituted the core of Rukka’s business. In 1990 Rukka became an independent division of the L-Fashion Group Oy, one of Europe’s largest sportswear manufacturers based in Lahti, Finland.

German apparel specialist Modeka celebrated its 70th anniversary with the INTERMOT launch of a CE-equipped ‘jubilee’ retro leather jacket. It is called 'August 70' in honour of August Oberkoenig, who founded the company 70 years ago in 1946.

Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali has confirmed one of the worst kept of secrets - the company is working on a V4 superbike. Citing the engine development made to date in MotoGP, Domenicali said that “we have an engine which is very reliable, very light and compact and has a lot of interesting technology. We are seriously thinking of introducing it to regular customers, because it is a masterpiece of engineering”.

Swedish motorcycle sales

Swedish motorcycle sales +8 percent in 2016

The latest data from McRF, the Swedish motorcycle industry trade association, shows new motorcycle registrations at +8.00 percent for the full year 2016 at 10,178 units.

In total PTW terms, registrations for the full year were +10.18 percent at 21,347 units; moped registrations were +12.2 percent for the year at 11,169 units.
The first data for January 2017 suggests that the upward trend continues in Sweden (2,383 total PTW units registered), with the trade association saying that the cleaner Euro 4 models are expected to prove popular with environmentally conscious Swedish consumers.
This year’s MC Massan Swedish motorcycle show at Stockholm at the end of January is being reported as being a success, with the Swedish trade association citing an attendance in the region of 53,000 visitors. In 2018 the show will return to Gothenburg, from January 25 to 28.


Kellermann preparing for new products announcements

Aachen, Germany based lights specialist Kellermann GmbH has appointed a new managing director - Dr. Stefan Wöste (seen here on the left) will assist company founder and owner Guido Kellermann (right) in the management board in order to drive forward the future development of the company.

The goal is to strengthen the development and sales of new products, so the market leader can stay ahead of the trends in indicators and future-facing advanced motorcycle lighting systems. “The move is coming at the right time”, said Guido Kellermann, who has been the driving force behind the development of most of the innovative Kellermann products in the past 25 years. With increasing growth, Guido will now be able to spend more time on product development.
The new managing director Dr. Stefan Wöste will focus on running and operating the business, research & development and sales. Dr. Wöste holds a PhD in aerospace engineering and has more than 15 years of management and sales experience in a major company of the automotive supply industry.
Of his appointment, Dr. Wöste says: “I am looking forward to this new challenge because Kellermann has a lot more potential!” The customers of Kellermann will benefit from the changes in the management as more new products will be unveiled soon.


Harley plans 50 new model blitz in next five years

Harley-Davidson says it has gained market share in 2016 in the United States as domestic motorcycle sales have continued to soften. For the full year 2016, worldwide Harley-Davidson retail motorcycle sales were down -1.6 percent compared to 2015; U.S. retail sales decreased -3.9 percent, partially offset by international growth of 2.3 percent.


However, CFO and Sr. VP John Olin has warned investors that Harley doesn’t expect 2017 unit sales to be anything better than “flat to modestly soft”, and that the first quarter of 2017 could be down between -15 percent to -20 percent in terms of new unit shipments to dealers worldwide as the company continues to try and help unwind an over-inventory situation that saw Harley “exit quarters 3 and 4 of 2016 with historically high levels of carry-over products”.

Harley says that this resulted in MY 2017 availability needing to be lower than “the year prior” and that they are making sure that it continues to be lower this first quarter “as we continue to constrain MY 2017 shipments”.
That decline saw Harley domestic retail sales at -3.9 percent for 2016 at 161,700 units compared to 168,200 in 2015, but with 4th quarter retail sales essentially flat versus the final quarter of 2016 (actually +0.1 percent) at 26,100 units.
In the midst of the reduced sales, Harley’s market share in the 601cc+ sector in which it competes actually grew by +1 percent in 2016 as a whole to a 51.2 percent market share and by +2 percent in the final quarter to 53.4 percent.

‘in the business of building new riders’

The success and impact on the balance sheet of the new models and initiatives launched under Levatich’s leadership so far is what is driving Harley’s stated aim of launching “50 new motorcycles over the next five years – demonstrating the power and strength of our products and changing the way people view Harley-Davidson”.
Levatich said that “it is our product development excellence that has been driving us in the right direction, and impressive though the new products of the past four years have been, you haven’t seen anything yet”.
In what maybe tacit acknowledgement that Harley maybe has been slow to ‘do a BMW’, Levatich has confirmed that this new model blitz will see Harley-Davidson embracing “new segments” relative to the traditional interpretation of what the Harley brand has meant. In response to any specific opportunities the cancellation of Victory may represent, Levatich actually went deeper by indicating that it is his belief that Harley should be able to “compete for every available customer”.
While Harley’s domestic fortunes continue to have issues, internationally Levatich said that they had “grown sales in every international market except Brazil, India and Indonesia”. 

Matt Levatich: “It is our product development excellence that has been driving us in the right direction, and impressive though the new products of the past four years have been, you haven’t seen anything yet”

Harley’s market share has now hit a record 10.8 percent in Europe (in a highly competitive but nonetheless growing market), up 0.3 percentage points over 2015. Their overall international retail motorcycle sales were down a tad (-1.9 percent) in the 4th quarter, but overall were +2.3 percent for the year, with EMEA leading the growth at +2.6 percent in Q4 and +5.9 percent in 2016; Canada was +5.5 percent in 2016, Asia Pacific +2 percent, but Latin America -13.2 percent thanks in large part to the economic issues in Brazil.
Worldwide retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were -0.5 percent in the fourth quarter at 46,610 units, 20,533 of which were international, and -1.6 percent at 260,289 units for 2016 in total, 98,631 units of which were international (+2.3 percent).
For 2017, Harley-Davidson anticipates full-year motorcycle shipments to be flat to down modestly in comparison to 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, Harley-Davidson expects to ship approximately 66,000 to 71,000 motorcycles. 


SW-MOTECH adds EVO accessories

German luggage, touring and adventure bike specialist SW-MOTECH has added to its EVO programme for 2017 with these new EVO fog lights and high beam.

Described as 100 percent dust and waterproof, the wear and maintenance-free LEDs consume significantly less power with an input voltage of 12V DC, giving power of 12 W (fog light), 13.5 W (high beam) and estimated output of 275LM (fog light) and 375LM (high beam).
Vibration tested and approved for use on public roads in Germany, the flexible 4-side mount connects directly to the motorcycle battery with no changes to the electrics necessary. The kit includes a weatherproof, illuminated handlebar switch; they are a compact size with an outer diameter of 7.1 cm and come in a black powder-coated aluminium housing.

Also seen here, this easily OEM mount-point installed, pivotable EVO footrest with teethed elements features 36 position options (front, back, top, down, angle). Made in corrosion resistant cast stainless steel, it has a sole-friendly profile with removable rubber grip.



R 1200 RS (LC) carbon parts

Bavarian carbon fibre specialist Ilmberger has more than 30 high quality parts designs available for the Boxer R 1200 RS (LC) that “underline the sporty side of the bike”, says owner Julius Ilmberger.

Parts available include front and rear fenders, seat side cover for right and left, side cover below tank right and left, tank side part right and left, top tank cover, radiator cover right and left, exhaust heat shield, engine spoiler right, left and middle part, headlight cover, wind protection, licence plate holder and more.