Q3 2018 Motorcycle Market Review

Updated: Oct 08, 2018 | Brian Sullivan | 4 min

Overall the market continues to slide and was down 6.2% for the year at end of Q3.

20,552 bikes were retailed in Q3 to bring the total to 68,494 in the first 9 month of 2018.

Road bikes sales were down 5.3% at the end of H1. Unfortunately, this drop has continued and road bikes are now down 7.5% to 27,359 units. Now that the Grand Finals are over and road season kicking off this week hopefully there is a strong run home.

YTD 2018 Honda was the only Japanese brand to post a decline in Road bikes (-4.7% to 5,451 units). In Q3 Honda made up some of the ground lost earlier in the year, indeed Honda was the only Japanese brand to sell more bikes in Q3 2018 Vs Q3 2017.

Harley’s bad year continues. They sold 1,567 units in Q3; 25% less than q3 2017. Overall sales of H-D are down 20.4% (to 5,196 units) YTD and they have dropped below KTM in terms of sales volume.

They has also lot the mantel as No. 1 road brand with Honda now selling more road bikes than Harley.

The 7 brands that sold over 4,000 units Jan – Sept were:

  1. Honda with 16,051 units sold (-3.6%)
  2. Yamaha with 14,393 sales (-1.1%)
  3. Kawasaki with 6,857 sales -1.1%)
  4. Suzuki with 5,278 sales (-8.4%)
  5. KTM with 5,792 sales (+3.3%)
  6. Harley-Davidson with 5,196 sales (-20.4%)
  7. Polaris with 4,143 sales (+12.9%)

These 7 brands represent 84% of the reported market and are gradually increasing their share. While the market dropped 6.2% sales of these brands, combined, only dropped 5.1%.

Prestige / Euro brands

Sales of the euro brands dropped 6.2% (Vs 7.5% for the broader road bike market)

Ducati’s woes continued into Q3 and they finished the -19.3% on 1,088 units.


BMW has improved its market share to 40% but this has more to do with the recently launched LAMS model (G 310 GS) than taking sales from Ducati.



Harley sales are down 19.3% YOY. Q3 was not kind to Harley. They sold 526 units less Q3 2018 than Q3 2017.


They now only have 6 of the top 10 Cruisers and 7 of the top touring bikes.

With warmer weather and new models’ releases coming soon and the inevitable stock clearances hopefully Q4 will be kinder.


Indian posted strong growth for Jan – Sept period (+18.5%) to 622 units with the Scout responsible for 58% of total Indian sales. Overall Indian are behind on this time last year as Indian has not captured the sales Victory may have got. (Victory / Indian combined sales to end of Q3 2018 was 656 vs 775 in 2017)


The Top 10 cruisers contain 4 LAMS bikes highlight the importance of the LAMS category and the appeal of cruiser bikes.


8 of the top 10 Road bikes are LAMS (inc the Postie bike).


In fact, the top selling bike in 4 of the 6 FCAI (road) categories) are LAMS bike. The categories are: Naked, Cruiser, Sports Touring & Supersport. Touring is the only category immune to the deluge of LAMS options.


26 of the 60 road bikes listed in the FCAI top 10 by category are LAMS bikes, or 26 of 50 if the touring category is excluded. LAMS bikes tend to be the volume models in each of these categories.


Based on the summary report it appears while sales Road bikes are down overall (7.5% or 6.2% if excluding the postie bike) the proportion of LAMS bikes sold may be up to over 40% of bikes sold.


A number of OEMs do not report sales to the FCAI. These include Royal Enfield, Benelli, SWM, CF Moto and a number of other LAMs focused brands, so potentially the number of LAMs bike sold in the total market may be much higher.


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


The scooter market was the only segment to show growth in the period. After years of decline sales of scooters increased 11.8% Jan – Sept 2018


As mentioned in previous updates the rise of Uber eats, Deliveroo etc. is no doubt helping this growth.


PSI group (Aprilia, Piaggio & Vespa) had a sluggish quarter only selling 367 units (37% of units reported which in turn has dropped their market share from 49% at end of June to 37%.

We have 2 new entrants to market this quarter with Lambretta and Peugeot entering the market.

Dirt Bikes

Dirt bikes sales, YTD, are down 3.3% to 23,277 units retailed. Q3 was quite good for dirt sales with 7,697 units retailed – the same as Q3 2017


Honda and KTM had strong 3rd quarters with both brands selling more Q3 2018 Vs Q3 2017


KTM was the only real (positive mover) selling 6.2% more YTD helping to increase its market share to 19.6% (or 26% of the market ex. farm and fun bikes)


Suzuki’s decline continues. It only sold 457 bikes (6% of the market) in Q3 and has dropped market share from 11% Q3 2015 to 7.2% YTD Q3 2018.


We are now heading into off season for dirt bikes and Q4 should see a large volume of fun bikes sold in the lead up to Christmas.


ATV / SXS data is incomplete as John Deere, Kioti, CF Moto, Kymco and others do not supply sales data to the FCAI.


The ATV market was down 11.2% at the end of Q3 to 14,784 units. All brands posted a decline.


BRP was the least hard hit and is only down 2.6%. This also helped BRPs market share to inch higher to 13%.


Hondas suffered the largest drop of any OEM YOY down 14% (to 3,726 units). Q3 2015 Honda had 29.4% market share. 4 years later, at the end of Q3 2018, this has fallen to 25.2%.


BRP & Polaris saw the main growth in this period growing from 10% to 13% and 24.6% to 28% market share respectively.


If you would like a copy of the FCAI report please email us.

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