Latest national sales figures confirm that sales of smaller capacity motorcycles are propping up a market suffering from slowing sales of established larger models.
Third-quarter sales figures released last week by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reveal a 6.2 percent decline in overall sales compared to the same January-September period in 2017.
This means 68,494 sales compared to 73,058. BMW and Ducati have been hit especially hard, both recording sales dips of around 20 percent. But these two manufacturers are in the throes of bringing significant new models to market.
Meanwhile, the relentless progress of LAMS-type motorcycles is threatening to become a tidal wave. Sales increases of up to 70 percent are being led by bikes like Honda’s modest CB125E, while Kawasaki’s new Ninja 400 has blasted to the top of the unlimited-capacity Super Sport segment.
In a situation that would have been unthinkable just a few years back, smaller models also dominate sales in the sport-touring and naked segments. As well a smaller-capacity model, Harley-Davidson’s XG500, continues to top the Cruiser sales charts despite a 21.9 percent slump in numbers sold.
With several importers, such as Royal Enfield, CFMoto and Benelli, not members of the FCAI and therefore not recorded, the trend towards smaller motorcycles could be even larger. The attraction for buyers is that a lot of the technology from larger models has filtered down to the smaller capacity segment, while purchase price and running costs have remained low.
By HAMISH COOPER