The Motorcycle Market; Q1 2018 review

Updated: Apr 12, 2018 | Brian Sullivan | 4 min

This below summary is based on the summary reports released by the FCAI and so is incomplete as not all data is released publicly


The market seems to have stabilised on the back of dramatic drops in 2017 (on 2016 numbers). In Q1, the market was down slightly -1.2%. (This time last year the market had dropped 13.4% in the first Q 2016)

While the market appears to have stabilised from a volume perspective, the number of lower value (& lower-margin) bikes appearing in the summary report has increased. LAMS bikes (which are generally below 10k) make up 35% of the road bike sales (Vs 29% Q1 2017), and fun bikes make up 27% of the dirt bikes (vs 23% Q1 2017). This is only a summary report, so the % is most likely higher.

The 7 brands that sold over 1,000 units in Q1 were:

  1. Honda with 4,863 units sold (+7.7%)
  2. Yamaha with 4,192 sales (+2.9%)
  3. Kawasaki with 2,334 sales (+1.6%)
  4. KTM with 1,821 sales (+5.7%)
  5. Harley-Davidson with 1,812 sales (-19.9%)
  6. Suzuki with 1,645 sales (-3.8%)
  7. Polaris with 1,307 sales (+5.1%)
  8. These 7 brands represent 83% of the market.

Harley had a huge drop (more about that later) and Suzuki continues to fall out of favour with buyers, dropping to 6th.

Prestige / Euro brands

Road bikes dropped by 2.6%, and the sales of the Euro brands dropped roughly in line with the market (-1.6% combined)

Ducati had a tough start to the year (-15.8%) but also had a bad start to 2016 and recovered during the year.

Aprilia now fully transitioned to a new importer (PSI), and first Q, they grew sales from 19 bikes in 2017 to 64 in 2018.


Harley had a bad start to the year dropping 19.9 % and is no longer (for this quarter at least) the number 1 road brand. The new range / models don’t seem to be making the desired impact and the sales of the XG500 are steadily dropping – potentially due to increased competition and now there are now plenty of relatively recent used bikes in the market

Indian posted huge growth for the Q (+47.4%) to 227 units. The Scout has been fantastic for Indian and is again responsible for over 50% of Indian units sold (147 units)

The future for the cruiser market looks bright, with 4 LAMS bikes in the top 10 cruiser models sold. These 4 accounts for 50% of the units sold by the top 10 Models in this category.

Victory continues to run out final stock, only retailing 15 units for the Q.


The biggest segment of the market and the lifeblood for the future. As with scooters, the rise of Uber eats, Deliveroo etc. may be providing some additional growth for this market as evidenced by the strong sales of the CB125E

The portion of road bikes being sold that are LAMS bikes (excluding the postie bike) is steadily rising, from 26% in Q1 2016 to 29% in 2017 to 35% Q1 2018. There are pluses and minuses for the industry here. It would indicate there is a lot of fresh blood entering the industry which should be good for the future.

On the flip side, LAMS bikes are better than they have ever been. This means the urge to upgrade isn’t as strong. So while sales are down, it is compounded by the fact that the position of LAMS bikes that are being sold is up, and these tend to have much less margin for everyone.


The scooter market posted a modest increase – 2.9% YOY. The first increase in a long time. The rise of Uber eats, Deliveroo etc. may be providing some much needed growth for this market.

PSI group (Aprilia, Piaggio & Vespa) own 56% of the reported market.

The data on the scooter market is incomplete with SYM, TGB, Kymco and some other brands not submitting numbers

Dirt bikes

Dirt bikes remained pretty stable with 6,711 units retailed ( vs 6,748 in 2017 and 7,944 in 2016)

Q1 2018 Vs 2017 Vs 2016 there has been a move from Yamaha and Suzuki to KTM And Husqy. Yamahas market share drop[ped from 29% in 2016 to 25% in 2018, Suzuki from 12% to 8% while KTM has grown market share from 17% to 21% and Husqy 6% to 9% over the same period.

In addition to Yamahas falling market share it appears a larger portion of the remaining sales of being made via the lower value fun bikes with the PW50, TTR50E, TTR110E & TTR125E now accounting for 39% of sales in Q1 (vs 27% in q1 2016)

Honda and Kawasaki have remained pretty stable in terms of market share and Hondas top 4 fun bikes only account for 35% of units sold (vs 46% in Q1 2016)


The ATV market was pretty flat, selling 4,211 (-0.2%) units in Q1 (this number is incomplete as John Deere, Kioti, CF Moto and others do not supply sales data to the FCAI)

Polaris, again, was the main mover in the market selling 1,307 units and growing its market share from 27% Q1 2016 to 29% 2017 and now 31% q1 2018.

Honda was the only other OEM in positive territory growing 7.2% (65 units) to 973 units retailed. All other OEMs posted declines with BRP suffering the biggest drop (-22.4%). This time last year BRP was the biggest positive mover up 16.8% and the comparative drop may be due to portions in market last year

Farmers were investing in machinery. According to ther TMA (tractor Machinery Accociation) Tractor sales with sales up 8.6% in q1 and this comes on the back of a very strong 2016 and ’17.

This FCAI reports can be downloaded here

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