2019 Q1 Motorbike Market Review

Updated: Apr 11, 2019 | Brian Sullivan | 3 min

Sales of new motorcycles continued their decline in Q1 2019, dropping 14.6% to 18,438 units.

Scooters continued to grow (+29.6% / 309 units) but every other segment took a hit.

Road bikes were down 9.3% (to 7,787 units), Dirt was down 19.2% ( 6,085 units) and ATVs dropped 23.7% to 3,213 units.

2019 Q1 motorcycle sales by brand / type

The market was already in decline and the recent tightening of access to finance will be the cause of some of this additional decline


The growth is scooters and make up of bikes that are selling will also be cause for concern; in road it is the cheaper lams bikes (partially driven by the growth of Uber Eats etc.) and in dirt sales of low margin fun bikes are on par with last year while the higher margin bigger bore bikes took a hit.

Prestige / Euro brands

Sales of euro brands dropped slightly faster than the broader road bike market (-22.5% combined / 385 units)

Ducati had a terrible 2018 and while Q1 of 2019 it dropped again (-14.4%) at least the size of the drop is reduced considerable and it was the ‘best’ performer in this market.


Sales of Harley were down 323 units (-17.8%) to end Q1 on 1,489 units. It may have regained top spot in terms of number of road bikes sold for the quarter but I am sure that will be little comfort.

Indian also suffered a decline – down 31% to 156 units.


Harley has increased competition for the LAMS rider from the likes of the CMX 500, Vulcan S and XVS500. The street 500 has dropped out of the top 10 cruisers sold for the first time since launch selling less than 52 units in Q1 (Vs 236 Q1 2017 & 322 Q1 2018). This provided Harley with a lot of its growth over the past few years.  


7 of the top 10 selling road bikes were learner approved – highlighted in yellow below. Also of note the postie bike didn’t make the top 10.

The FCAI top ten by category provides visibility on roughly 5,000 or the 7,787 road bikes sold in Q1. Of that 5,000 roughly 50% were LAMS bikes. The total number of road bike sales is declining and the make up of the bikes being sold is changing to cheaper LAMS bikes meaning OEMs and dealers will be feeling it from both ends.

Over 65% of both Hondas 1,489 and Yamahas 1,420 road bikes sold were LAMS bikes.


From a small base scooters continued their recent growth up 29.6% (309 units) YOY.

Honda had a great start to the year almost doubling the number of units sold YOY to end Q1 with 495 units retailed – 36% of all reported units sold (from 24% Q1 2017).

Piaggio on the other hand bucked the market trend dropping 23% to 232 units sold.

Lambretta, Peugeot, Kymco & SYM do not submit sales figures to the FCAI so the above is in only a partial picture of the market


Dirt was down 19.2% (to 6,085 units).


With the overall dirt market was down sales of kids bikes remained on par with Q1 2017 meaning the hit is even more pronounced on the adult bikes where margins can exist.

This steady sale of kids bikes meant Honda and Yamaha held their own in (.3% and +0.3%) in terms of units sold but in terms margins things look a little different. Over 45% of the 1,608 units Honda sold were kids bikes and over 29% of Yamaha sales were kids bikes.

The other 4 brands who are not as strong in kids bike took heavy hits Suzuki faring the ‘best’ with a 9.4% drop (to 510 units) and at the other end Husqvarna dropped 29.8% to 440 units for the quarter.


The ATV market started to decline in 2018 and this has continued into Q1 2019 with aTV sales down 23.7% (998 units) to 3,213 units retailed.

2 brands grew in Q1 1 – BRP up 13.5% to 453 units and Kawasaki up 3.8% to 326 units.

All other brands suffered double digit declines. See table below:

The drought in the eastern states, combined with tightening access to finance has played a major part in the decline here. In the broader Ag equipment market sales of tractors are down 13% to in the first 2 months of the year (to 859 units sold).

This review is based on the FCAI sales data for Q1. 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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