With the vast majority of dealers across the UK now re-opened and ready to sell motorcycles and scooters in a socially-distanced manner, I’m optimistic about a recovery for our sector.

The feedback from dealers for new and used machines has been encouraging, but it is the data published by MotorCyclesData (MCD) on June 20th that has most enthused my positivity. The data from MCD provides a snapshot of what has happened as markets across Europe opened in May, ahead of the UK’s phased re-opening which started in England from June 1st.

Overall, across Europe, the new motorcycle market fell back 9.9% in May. Nevertheless, the trend at a country level indicated an encouraging V-curve recovery that was better than might have been expected and this without any new government backed incentives. Demand for two-wheels was trending ahead of May 2019 as countries re-opened;

Germany, +14.5%, Netherlands +31.4%, Sweden +101%, Austria +46.7% being highlights. Sales were negative, in France (15.4%) and Italy (11.9%), but neither was open for the full month. Sales in Spain were (44.2%), but re-opened on a phased basis, while in the UK sales were -50.4%, but dealers were unable to open during the month!

It will be interesting to see the June data as it comes through, but as I noted in my introduction, there does look to be scope for some optimism.

Electric motorcycles – have the stars aligned? 

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, on March 12th, the Government announced its 2020 budget. Within it were plans to provide £532 million in consumer incentives for low-emission vehicles to help make its 2050 zero-carbon target more achievable. Alongside this, sits the Plug-in Motorcycle Grant available until 2022-2023. The grant will pay for 20% of the purchase price of qualifying zero-emission motorcycles and mopeds and is deducted from the price of the vehicle at the point of sale by the dealership. No paperwork is required from the customer, except a survey, to benefit from the grant. 

 Much may have changed since the March 12th Budget, but two things seem evident:

  • Many people who previously relied upon public transport are switching to private transport
  • The focus on the environment and addressing emissions, especially in cities will only increase

With people looking for affordable transport, the opportunity to be environmentally friendly in a relatively low-cost, socially distanced transport ‘bubble’  makes the electric motorcycle or moped an appealing proposition and the range from which buyers can choose keeps getting bigger. 

Motorcycle training to resume in England from July 4th

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced that learners can resume driving lessons and motorcycle training in England from Saturday, July 4th.

The rule applies to all types of driver and motorcycle training in England. Theory tests will also restart in England on July 4th. The tests will take place with social distancing measures in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

No announcements have yet been made about the resumption of training and testing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

Julian Oliver

National Motorcycle Manager

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