2018 motorbike market review

Updated: Feb 21, 2019 | Brian Sullivan | 3 min

Australian Motorbike Market 2018

Sales of new motorcycles continued their decline in Q4 to end 2018 down 9.4% at 95,080 units.


The last time the market sold below 100,000 units was back in 2004. The flow on effect from this is with less new bikes being sold, less bikes are being traded to dealers and so, while finding enough good used bikes was always a challenge, this year it’s been even harder. The slow down hits both departments.


Scooters continued to grow (+12.4% / 476 units) but every other segment took a hit.

Road bikes were down 9.6% (3,852 units), Dirt was down 6.8% (2,538 units) and ATVs dropped 3,117 units (-13.7%).


Harley dropped 21.2% to end the year with 7,019 units – the same amount of road bikes as Honda.


Prestige / Euro brands

Sales of euro brands dropped in line with the broader road bike market (-9.9% combined / 750 units)


Ducati had a terrible year dropping 23.2% making up 456 of the units this market lost.

Of the volume brands BMW fared the best only dropping 3.1%. The launch of its LAMS bike, G 310 GS would have helped adding 176 units to BMW from a market it previously couldn’t service.


As sated above Harley had a tough year and is now the joint market leader in road bike sales. Sales of H-D were down 1,884 units (-21.2%) to end the year on 7,019 units.


Indian posted modest growth for the year (+67 units /+8.7%) in 2018. The Scout continues to perform for Indian and it is now the 6th most popular cruisers in Australia and the 2nd if the LAMS cruisers are excluded. The Scout sold 496 units up 29.5% YOY.


4 of the top 5 cruisers bikes sold in 2018 were LAMS bikes.


7 of the top 9 selling road bikes were learner approved (8 out of 10 if you include the postie bike).


Road LAMs bikes (excluding the postie bike) appear to have fared better than the broader road bike market. Sales of the 24 models that are reported grew 490 units to 12,525 (+4% vs 6.8* road bike market decline).


In addition to this several brands, such as the re-energised Royal Enfield, that specialise in LAMS bike aren’t included in the FCAI numbers so the growth in the section of the market is most likely well above 4%.


The numbers are small, and a long way from where they were 10 years ago but the scooter market has been a bright spot in the motorcycle market this year. Sales of scooters were up 12.4% (476 units) to 4,328 units.


This time last year the PSI group (Vespa, Aprilia & Piaggio) had close to 55% of the scooter market.


Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda have aggressively grown their positions (40+% YOY growth each) and PSI has seen its market share drop to 44%.


This year also saw Lambretta and Peugeot enter the market. Neither of these submit figures to the FCAI, nor does Kymco so the above report in only a partial picture of the market.


Dirt bikes were down 6.8% to 34,841 units.


Q4 is the volume quarter for dirt bikes as kids bikes move for Christmas. Both Honda and Yamaha move close to 40% of their annual total in Q4.


Kids account for well over 1/3 of dirt bikes sold. Sales of the top 10 declined slightly slower than the wider dirt market at -5.6%.


Husqvarna finished 2017 up 19.9%. In 2018 they gave this up dropping 19.3% to finish the year on 1,953 units. Despite this loss they are still gradually increasing their market share and now sit on 5.7%


The only real other mover of note was Suzuki who dropped 33% to 2,526 units and 7.3% market share.


The ATV market has been rapidly growing the past few years. 2017 was flat selling 22,684 (-0.7%) units on 2016 and in 2018 the market took a decidedly downward turn, down 13.7% to 19567 units for the year.


BRP was flat and Kawasaki was only down 3%. Both brands have steadily inched up their market share over the past few years and now sit on 12.4% and 7.2% market share respectively.


All other brands suffered double digit declines with Honda being the hardest hit dropping 961 units (-17.3%). Honda market share is down to 23.5% from 27.7% Year end 2015.

Last year the top 10 units in the rapidly growing SXS category was reported. Unfortunately, this hasn’t continued into 2018.


The drought in the eastern states, combined with tightening in lending and famers being more cautious with capital expenditure all played their big part in the slowdown in the ATV market.


The broader ag market was also down with sales of tractors down 4% YOY.

It should be noted this number is incomplete as John Deere, Kioti, CF Moto and others do not supply sales data to the FCAI.

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