Thursday, 15 February 2018


European Union new motorcycle registrations -9.5 percent in 2017; or were they up by +2.5 percent?

The Brussels based international motorcycle industry trade association ACEM has released provisional numbers for 2017 new motorcycle registrations in European Union countries.
The data shows registrations of 913,445 internal combustion engine motorcycles for the 12 months to December 2017, which, compared to the 1,009,678 registrations officially recorded for 2016, would mean that the past year saw a decline in the region of -9.5 percent - the first decline since the market bottomed out at 748,529 registrations in 2013 and bringing an end to three consecutive years of growth.

However, as is widely accepted, the final quarter of 2016 (if not longer in some markets) saw a rush to get excess and unsold 2016 Euro 3 inventory pre-registered before the midnight December 31st cut-off, after which only Euro 4 compliant models could be registered.
Research carried out by International Dealer News suggests that this affected at least 50,000 motorcycles, probably more like 55,000 to 60,000, with the figure possibly as high as 65,000 units.
These units mostly went on to be sold by dealers in the first three or four months of 2017 as zero mileage pre-registered motorcycles. This means that the 1,009,678 registrations figure recorded for 2016 and the +13.3 percent growth that suggests was overstated, and the figure for 2017 has consequentially been understated.
The figures show 803,122 registrations for a 7.3 percent growth rate in 2014 as the anecdotal evidence of an end to the fall in sales translated into hard statistics for the first time. 

 the post 2013 picture changes radically

The following year, 2015, that growth trend was confirmed with 891,369 registrations recorded for a very positive 11 percent growth rate.
However, against that trend, the 13.3 percent growth rate apparently recorded for 2016, while great if it was true and could be sustained, always looked like a statistical error.
Although those Euro 3 units became gradually less profitable as dealers got further into the 2017 new year, with them and their manufacturers having to increasingly incentivise the units to get them sold (free extended warranties, improved insurance deals, zero percent finance, accessory packages etc), once sold, they nonetheless represented a new unit sale as far as the dealer and the buyer were concerned and, of course, artificially deflated the potential demand for the new Euro 4 inventory.
It may well be that very little of that Euro 3 carry-over inventory got sold at list price and that most of them were sold much closer to dealer costs. Indeed, by the time we were into May, it may well be that dealers were taking an effective loss on those bike sales and that, ultimately, some thousands of those units were “moved on” through the channels to be sold by so-called “grey importers/dealers” or through the cross-border used motorcycle retail network.

However, if the lowest possible of the figures is used - 50,000 Euro 3 units sold at above dealer cost through authorised or franchised dealerships - then the post 2013 picture changes radically, and the “real world” number of low single digits growth for 2017 that had been unofficially cited by at least three of the major market trade associations becomes a more reliable estimate of the 2017 market and the ongoing post-2013 trend.
At 50,000 fewer, the more realistic sales number for EU markets in 2016 is around 960,000 units, which, compared to 2016, shows a more realistic growth rate of 7.7 percent for 2016 following the 11 percent seen in 2015 and 7.3 percent seen in 2014.
If those 50,000 Euro 3 units are more accurately recorded as 2017 sales, then, at worst, 2017 was essentially “flat” with some 4,000 additional units sold over 2016. This recognises the widespread anecdotal feeling in the industry that 2017 was a “good year”; any year that sees the market hold on to the 20 percent growth seen in the prior 4 years (given where market trends had been in the period between 2008 and 2013) must indeed be regarded as a “good year”!

 “If those 50,000 Euro 3 units are more accurately recorded as 2017 sales, then, at worst, 2017 was essentially “flat” with some 4,000 additional units sold over 2016”

In fact, that 50,000 unit adjustment is on the light side - it is a very cautious estimate. In truth a figure of 55,000 is likely to be much closer to the reality of the situation and that would bring the market much closer to where anecdotal evidence suggests the sales number should be, at +1.4 percent; indeed at 60,000 Euro 3 sales in 2017, the market would have grown by +2.5 percent at 973,445 units sold, up from a more realistic figure of 949,678 units in 2016.
This would mean that the 2014 growth of +7.3 percent was followed by +11 percent in 2015, then +6.5 percent in 2016 and +2.5 percent in 2017. This is trend data that is much closer to the unofficial estimates being cited by some of the major market trade associations and manufacturers, and more in line with anecdotal evidence from dealers and the parts and accessory sector.
Indeed, although Japanese motorcycle brand sales are only part of the European equation, and nothing like as large a percentage of the market as they were a decade and more ago, an analysis of the Japanese made motorcycle export data issued every moth by JAMA, confirms the central thesis - namely that the 2016 registration data is distorted by Euro 3 inventory pre-registration and that therefore 2017 market performance is better than appears to be the case.

In fact, off the record, one major European motorcycle industry trade association General Secretary that IDN spoke to recently thought that even the 60,000 number was probably still an underestimate of the effect.
The significance of this isn’t in the numbers as such, because either way approximately the same number of units were sold, one way or another, over a 24-month cycle.
However, in a world where perception is a critical driver of consumer confidence, it is much more appealing for consumers, especially younger consumers and new entrants, to want to be involved in a growing market than in one that may be open to being interpreted as being “yesterday’s news”.
The moped sector is undergoing its own Euro 3/Euro 4 moment now, with the regulations coming into effect 12 months later. Which probably explains the equally counter-intuitive 2017 new moped registration data also released by ACEM.
From a recent high of 588,853 units registered in 2010 (actually, itself a figure much reduced from 2007 and before, as a result of the financial crisis), moped registrations have been in steady decline year-on-year.

 “This is trend data that is much closer to the unofficial estimates being cited by some of the major market trade associations and manufacturers”

The 2016 figure of 316,662 marked a near 14,000 unit decline on 2015 (down by -4.2 percent) and a loss of more than 270,000 units sold annually since 2010 (-46.2 percent).
In that context the apparent 2017 growth of some 82,000 units for a +26.1 percent moped market is clearly counter-intuitive. The rate of decline in new moped registrations has slowed in recent years (the market lost some 36,000 units between 2014 and 2016 compared to some 236,000 units between 2010 and 2014), so in all probability 2017 moped sales were flat or modestly down and the 2018 data will reveal a similar 2017/18 regulatory delayed aftershock to that seen in the motorcycle data for 2016/17.
In other news, the number of internal combustion engine quadricycles registered in the EU in 2017 was down by -31.4 percent at 48,427 units from 70,578 in 2016, following steady growth of two or three thousand units a year for the period 2013 through 2015 and a 10,526 growth between 2015-2016.
The electric motorcycle market continues to lag significantly behind demand for electric mopeds, but even those registrations show how juvenile the EV PTW market still is in Europe.
In 2017, 4,121 new electric motorcycle registrations were recorded; up +17.9 percent from 3,496 in 2016, 2,230 in 2015 and 1,995 in 2014.
Electric moped registrations were 27,029 units, which is up dramatically (+138.3 percent) from the 11,342 registrations recorded for 2016 as ride share schemes and incentives take effect, and new generations of more powerful Pedelecs come onto the market (there were 9,227 electric mopeds registered in 2015, 7,948 in 2016).
Some 3,242 electric quadricycles were registered in 2017, down -54.8 percent from 7,167 in 2017, which is itself up 93.9 percent from the 3,696 recorded in 2015; and we here at IDN think that it can be safely said that this particular trend is not triggered by changes in emissions compliance standards!


Ducati delivered 55,871
motorcycles in 2017

In 2017, the Bologna-based motorcycle manufacturer delivered 55,871 bikes, up modestly by 420 units from 2016. 

Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding said that “2017 was another great year for Ducati, both commercially and racing-wise. We battled it out for the MotoGP title all the way to the last race, won six GPs and brought home the best results since 2009. Continuous renewal of the product range and a strong focus on creating motorcycles of the utmost quality has allowed us to keep on growing despite the problems affecting the world market.”
Ducati says that in 2017 the Multistrada family (including the new 950) “proved particularly popular. The Monster family also enjoyed healthy sales, as did the SuperSport and the exclusive 1299 Superleggera, 500 of which were purchased (at a price of 80,000 euro each) even before they went into production.
“Ducati Scrambler solidified the success of the previous two years, reinforcing the range of Scrambler bikes offered by the addition of the new Desert Sled and Café Racer. A total of 14,061 Scrambler bikes were delivered in 2017, making a significant contribution to overall sales.
“Our Italian sales were particularly buoyant, ending 2017 with +12% growth (8,806 motorcycles delivered). The upward trend was also evident in the rest of Europe, where Ducati increased bike deliveries by +4% to a total of 31,123. Ducati also grew on the Spanish market, where sales rose by a considerable +28.3%.
“In the USA - which remains our largest market - deliveries were up by +1.3%, with bike sales totalling 8,898. In Argentina, the growth rate reached a stunning + 66%. In Asian markets Ducati delivered a total of 5,805 bikes, also strengthening its position in China (+ 31%) where the dealership network doubled in size from 9 to 18.”
In other news Ducati announced a collaboration with Rizoma for the production of an exclusive range of special parts for Ducati models.
The company has also confirmed 20–22 July for its 10th World Ducati Week (WDW) at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Misano Adriatico (Italy).


Piaggio unit sales +12.4 percent in Q3

With its third quarter fiscals Piaggio says it has “confirmed its leadership of the European two-wheeler market” with a 15.2% overall share and 25.4 percent share of the scooter sector. 

At 30 September 2017, the Group sold 299,400 two-wheelers worldwide, up +12.4% (266,400 at 30 September 2016), generating net sales of 771.8 million euro, an improvement of +5.7% (730 million euro at 30 September 2016).
The figure includes spares and accessories, on which turnover totalled 101.3 million euro, an increase of +4% from the first nine months of 2016.
The Group says it maintained a particularly strong presence on the North American scooter market, with a share of 20%; it is also committed to strengthening its position in motorcycles in North America. On the Indian two-wheeler market, the Group more than doubled its sales volumes from the year-earlier period, thanks to the introduction of the new Aprilia SR 150 scooter and the excellent performance of Vespa. 

In Asia Pacific terms, Vietnam reported a decline in scooter sales volumes, while the Group expanded its offer in Thailand through its recent entry onto the motorcycle market with the introduction of the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi brands, flanking the already well-established scooter offer with the Vespa and Piaggio brands.
Highlights in the scooter sector included excellent results of the Vespa brand, which boosted worldwide sales by +11.4% in respect of to the first nine months of the last year. In Europe sales were up by +16.5%; in India, where the new (Vespa) Red VXL model has been introduced, sales revenue was +31.3%.
Performance was also positive in high-wheel scooters (growth in volume of +6.4%), where the Group reported revenue growth at global level, largely thanks to the new Liberty and to the Beverly.
In the scooter sector, the Aprilia brand also saw positive results, especially on the Indian market, thanks to the Aprilia SR 150 sports scooter.
The motorcycle sector of the Group also made “great strides”. The Aprilia brand saw an increase in sales, in particular generated by the naked Tuono, the new Aprilia Shiver 900 and Dorsoduro 900 (launched in June 2017), and the new 125cc, RS and Tuono, launched in April.
The revenue at Moto Guzzi was particularly driven by the positive sales trend of the V7, whose fiftieth anniversary this year has been marked with an ad hoc model.
Overall Group EBIT at 30 September 2017 was 69.1 million euro, an increase of 14.3% (60.5 million euro at 30 September 2016), EBIT margin was 6.5% (5.9% at 30 September 2016), pre-tax profits were 44.1 million euro, up +31.2%; the Group made a net profit of 25.1 million euro (+31.2%) and sold a total of 426,700 vehicles worldwide (411,700 in the first nine months of 2016).

KTM Industries AG

KTM Group +17% for 2017 at 238,334 units sold

KTM Industries AG has announced that 2017 saw the company achieve a seventh consecutive record result with an all-time high in revenues and profit.
At 1,533.4 m euro revenues for the year were + 14% with EBIT +8% at 132.5 m euro after investments of 179.6 m euro in the last 12 months. 

The company says it sold 238,334 KTM and Husqvarna brand motorcycles in its 2017 business year “further strengthening our position as the largest motorcycle producer in Europe”. Sales increased by more than 17% compared to the previous year.
To support further growth, 92 m euro was invested in product development (including tools and machines) in the past year, with investments in plant and infrastructure focused on the new high-performance drivetrain production facility, in additive manufacturing at Pankl in Kapfenberg, and into the expansion of the research and development department at KTM in Mattighofen.
Due to the growth of the group, 818 additional employees were hired in 2017 (652 of them in Austria) taking the Group to 5,887 people worldwide, including 4,568 in Austria.
The company says that for the business year 2018, KTM Industries Group expects further organic growth in its core areas. With the market launch of Husqvarna's first street motorcycles (Vitpilen and Svartpilen) and the KTM twin-cylinder models (790 Duke), management expects to remain on track for continued growth and anticipates a positive business performance for 2018.
The company aims to sell 400,000 motorcycles annually by the business year 2022.
In other news, KTM concluded a joint venture agreement with CF Moto in China in October – to continue expansion of KTMs presence in the Chinese market. The new business, “CFMoto-KTMR2R”, is 49 percent owned by KTM.


Harley to close two factories in response to -11.1% final quarter decline in domestic U.S. retail sales

Harley-Davidson’s response to its hugely disappointing 2017 4Q and full year results is to constrain future manufacturing capacity by closing two factories for a total net job loss of around 500 jobs in what it describes as “Manufacturing Optimization” and point to “progress in building riders” and expanded product development through increased investment in electric motorcycle technology.

Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich: “The decision to consolidate our final assembly plants was made after very careful consideration of our manufacturing footprint and the appropriate capacity given the current business environment”

The company’s worldwide retail motorcycle sales were down -6.7 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, with domestic U.S. retail sales down -8.5 percent while international retail sales fared better at down -3.9 percent.
Closure of the Kansas City final assembly plant is expected to cost some 800 direct jobs in that area, with some 400 new hires slated for York, PA, where all final assembly operations will be consolidated. The other facility to close is Harley’s New Cast Alloy wheel factory at Adelaide in southern Australia at a cost of a further 100 direct jobs.
“Our actions to address the current environment through disciplined supply and cost management position us well as we drive to achieve our long-term objectives to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally,” said Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer, Harley-Davidson, Inc.
“We finished 2017 with over 32,000 more Harley-Davidson riders in the U.S. than one year ago, and we delivered another year of strong cash generation and cash returns to our shareholders.” 

Harley reiterated its focus on training “the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally”, and confirmed that it had opened 57 new international dealer points in 2017. Harley (and Indian Motorcycle for that matter) are on record as expecting 50 percent of sales to be outside of the domestic U.S. market within ten years.
Harley has also announced that it is step up its research in to EV technology and plans to have its first E-bike model on sale within 18 months.
CEO Matt Levatich said that “the EV motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally. As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business.”
Following the release of its 4Q and FY 2017 fiscals, Polaris CEO Scott Wine responded to suggestions that Polaris was perhaps falling behind the curve in E-bike terms, after having been well ahead of Harley, said that, for them, it wasn’t so much a technology issue but one of ROI – suggesting that it was difficult, at this stage, to see a pathway to profits in the sector in the short term.

New Sport Glide Softail model at its EICMA debut
The annual figures concealed a dramatically disappointing final quarter of 2017 for Harley, one in which the company was widely expected to have been able to point to some good news as a result of the theoretically well received new generation M-8 engined Softails becoming available at dealerships.
In the fourth quarter, Harley-Davidson worldwide retail motorcycle sales declined -9.6 percent compared to the prior year. Harley-Davidson domestic U.S. retail motorcycle sales were down -11.1 percent in a market that was down by around half that at -6.5 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Fourth quarter market share was down on 3Q 2017 and 4Q 2016 share at -50.8 percent in the 601+cc segment.

Liqui Moly

Liqui Moly sold to Würth

German lubricant specialist Liqui Moly has been bought by the giant retailer, wholesaler and manufacturer Künzelsauer Group. Prior owner Ernst Prost, 60, will remain as Managing Director of Liqui Moly. 

Ernst Prost, 60, will remain
as Managing Director

It is said that in day-to-day business terms the change of ownership at Liqui Moly is unlikely to result in dramatic changes - business as usual appears to be the message with company will remain independent within the Würth Group and all employees will be taken over. “Everything remains as it is. It would be nonsensical to change anything on the road to success in recent years. It goes on as before - just under a larger roof, which offers more protection,” said Prost.

According to Prost, Liqui Moly is “very healthy”, with the equity ratio at over 80 percent. In 2016 the company achieved a turnover of 489 million euros with some 800 employees.
Würth/Künzelsauer Group (itself still a family business) has around 73,000 employees worldwide, with annual sales of 12.5 billion euros and has been a silent partner in Liqui Moly for almost 20 years. 

Founded in 1957, Liqui Moly develops and produces exclusively in Germany, with around 4,000 automotive chemicals, motor oils and additives, greases and pastes, sprays and car care, glues and sealant items - selling in more than 120 countries.

BS Battery

BS Battery sponsors Zarco

BS Battery is very proud to announce sponsorship of the French MotoGP rider Johann Zarco.  Zarco’s helmet will display two stickers on the sides with the BS Battery logo - he will also wear a helmet exclusively covered with BS Battery’s logo for one grand prix during the 2018 season.

In 2017, 27 year-old Zarco confirmed his reputation as one of the up and coming new stars of the future as ‘Best Rookie’ of the MotoGP championship, best independent rider, and he secured a remarkable 6th place overall at the end of the championship, with 3 podiums, 2 pole positions, and 4 fastest laps.
Zarco made his Grand Prix debut with the WTR San Marino team in the 125 cc World Championship. Zarco then moved up to Moto 2 with the JiR team in 2012 on board Motobi bikes, finishing the season tenth in the standings.

In 2013 he joined the Ioda Project Racing team, riding a Suter, and finishing ninth after two podiums. The following year he finished sixth for Caterham, scoring four podiums and a pole. He won the Moto 2 title with Ajo (8 wins, 14 podiums, 7 poles) and went on to successfully defend his title in 2016 – becoming the first rider to win back-to-back intermediate titles in the Moto 2 era (7 wins, 10 podiums, 7 poles).

Pyramid Plastics

Dealer promotion on MT-10 sport fairing panels

British bodywork specialist Pyramid Plastics offers a range of sport fairing panels for the Yamaha MT-10 (including the SP). Pyramid’s sport fairing panels offer unique styling as well as covering up the unsightly exposed area at the radiator ends, which is often thought to look ‘unfinished’ from a styling perspective.

Available in colour match finishes including Night Fluo Grey, Tech Black and Race Blu, as well as gloss black and unpainted for those who want to add their own paint scheme. Pyramid also offer a range of MT-10 stickers in different colours so that your customer can mix and match to create their own unique look.
To kick off 2018, Pyramid are running a 2018 Dealer Trade Offer on their MT-10 Night Fluo sport fairing panels - open to all dealers with a Pyramid trade account, a set for display can be bought at a 50% discount. “A great way of setting your MT-10 apart from the rest and getting your customers interested,“ says Pyramid’s Adam Bowser.