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Motorcycle sales slide picks up pace

Ducati test ride demo motorcycle sales showroom selling motorcycles pace sales slide common

Motorcycle sales are continuing their slide and even picking up pace with a 14.6% drop in the first quarter of 2019.

It’s the biggest quarterly drop since the slide began in 2017 and cause for concern.

According to data released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), 18,438 motorcycles, ATVs and scooters were sold during the first three months of 2019.

That compares with 21,599 for the same period in 2018 when sales were down 13.4% on the previous year. Sales results for the full year of 2018 were down 8.7% and are down almost 30% since the end of 2016.

Some of the sales decline could be due to the uncertainty in the economy owing to the impending Federal Election.

FCAI motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths agrees, but adds that lending practices and high house prices also have an effect.

“We’d all like to think there would be a bump in sales after election, but if there is a change of government, people would also be less likely and take a wait-and-see approach,” he says.

“If there is a bounce, it may be in the third quarter with the seasonal implications of spring as well.”

All categories were affected by the tumbling pace of sales except scooters which were up 29.6% from a low base eroded over the past few years.

Rhys says the scooter sales bump could be due to delivery services such as Uber Eats.

Slide sales motorcycles pace

Pace leaders and losers

Honda was the overall leader with a 21.8% share of the national market, but a 17.4% drop in sales.

Yamaha was second with a 20.8% share (down 8.4% in sales) and Kawasaki with 11.8% (-6.8%).

Road motorcycles fell 19.2% as Harley-Davidson returned to the lead again with a 19.1% share even though Harley sales continued to plummet 17.8%.

Yamaha was second with 18.2% (down 8% in sales) and Honda with a share of 16.6%, but down a whopping 37.9%.

We suspect this is due to Australia Post not buying postie bikes which for the first time in decades are not in the top 10 bikes.postie bike sales tumble electric trike pace


January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Honda CB125E 318 432 -26.4%
Yamaha MT07L 281 233 20.6%
Kawasaki NINJA 400 250 139 79.9%
Yamaha MT-09 189 210 -10.0%
Yamaha YZF-R3A 189 286 -33.9%
Harley-Davidson FXBRS 185 208 -11.1%
Yamaha MT03LA 180 202 -10.9%
Honda CMX500 171 192 -10.9%
Harley-Davidson FLFBS 161 107 50.5%
Honda GROM 160 193 -17.1%

The ATV/SSV category showed a decline of 23.7%.Polaris maintained leadership with a 31.2% share, followed by Honda (19.5%) and Yamaha (18.4%).

Off-road sales fell 9.3%. Yamaha maintained its lead with a 27.8% share over Honda (26.4%) and KTM (18.1%).

Top 10 sales by category

Adventure Touring

January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Suzuki DR650SE 121 139 -12.9%
BMW R 1250 GS Adventure 97 0 100%
BMW R 1250 GS 85 0 100%
Honda CRF1000 81 100 -19.0%
Kawasaki KLR650 70 79 -11.4%
Suzuki DL650 65 60 8.3%
Suzuki DL1000 44 25 76.0%
BMW G 310 GS 44 66 -33.3%
KTM 1090ADVR 37 54 -31.5%
Husqvarna 701END 37 50 -26.0%
2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout pace
Breakout is top cruiser


January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Harley Davidson FXBRS 185 208 -11.1%
Honda CMX500 171 192 -10.9%
Harley Davidson FLFBS 161 107 50.5%
Kawasaki Vulcan S 147 168 -12.5%
Yamaha XVS650/A 140 94 48.9%
Indian Motorcycle Scout 96 147 -34.7%
Harley Davidson FLSB 95 68 39.7%
Harley Davidson FXFBS 54 63 -14.3%
Harley Davidson XL883N 53 70 -24.3%
Harley Davidson FXBB 52 84 -38.1%


January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Honda CB125E 318 432 -26.4%
Yamaha MT07L 281 233 20.6%
Yamaha MT-09 189 210 -10.0%
Yamaha MT03LA 180 202 -10.9%
Honda GROM 160 193 -17.1%
Yamaha XSR700LA 99 77 28.6%
Kawasaki Z900RS 92 126 -27.0%
KTM 390DUKE 78 71 9.9%
Honda Monkey 62 0 100%
Yamaha MT10 58 74 -21.6%
2019 Yamaha YZF-R3 pace
Yamaha R3

Sport Touring

January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Yamaha YZF-R3A 189 286 -33.9%
Kawasaki Ninja 650L 95 86 10.5%
Yamaha MT09TRA 57 31 83.9%
Honda CBR650FL 43 69 -37.7%
Kawasaki VERSYS-X 300 41 42 -2.4%
Suzuki GSX-S125 40 18 122.2%
Kawasaki Ninja 1000 35 43 -18.6%
Suzuki GSX-R125 34 15 126.7%
Yamaha MT07TRL 33 18 83.3%
Suzuki GSX250R 26 40 -35.0%

Super Sport

January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Kawasaki NINJA 400 250 139 79.9%
Honda CBR500R 82 186 -55.9%
Honda CBR1000RR 67 35 91.4%
Ducati Superbike 58 0 100%
Honda CBR600RR 45 24 87.5%
KTM RC390 39 58 -32.8%
Yamaha YZF-R1 37 32 15.6%
Kawasaki Z400 36 0 100%
Suzuki GSX-R750 35 17 105.9%
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 32 11 190.9%
Here's why Harley's Street Glide Special is our top tourer pace
Here’s why Harley’s Street Glide Special is also our top tourer


January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Harley Davidson FLHXS 112 54 107.4%
Harley Davidson FLHTK 66 34 94.1%
Harley Davidson FLTRXS 47 21 123.8%
Harley Davidson FLHTCUTG 43 36 19.4%
Harley Davidson FLHRXS 41 37 10.8%
Harley Davidson FLHX 30 33 -9.1%
Harley Davidson FLHXSE 29 23 26.1%
BMW R 1250 RT 29 0 100%
Indian Motorcycle Chieftain 19 12 58.3%
Harley Davidson FLTRX 18 5 260.0%

LAMS Approved

January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Yamaha WR450F 332 183 81.4%
Honda CB125E 318 432 -26.4%
Yamaha MT07L 281 233 20.6%
Honda NSC110 270 105 157.1%
Kawasaki NINJA 400 250 139 79.9%
Yamaha YZF-R3A 189 286 -33.9%
Yamaha MT03LA 180 202 -10.9%
Suzuki ADDRESS 177 48 268.8%
Honda CMX500 171 192 -10.9%
Honda GROM 160 193 -17.1%
2017 Honda Grom stars eofy pace
Honda Grom


January – March 2019 compared with 2018
Manufacturer Model Total
YTD 2019 YTD 2018 % CHAN
Honda NSC110 270 105 157.1%
Suzuki ADDRESS 177 48 268.8%
Vespa GTS 300 111 86 29.1%
Piaggio Fly 150 89 120 -25.8%
Honda MW110 72 45 60.0%
Honda WW150 69 70 -1.4%
Yamaha XMAX300 69 40 72.5%
Vespa PRIMAVERA 150 61 60 1.7%
Honda C125A 47 0 100%
Piaggio ZIP 50 45 73 -38.4%

FCAI members

The FCAI members represent 90% of all motorcycle sales in Australia.

There are 22 minor manufacturers not included in the official FCAI figures.

They are mainly small-volume importers Norton, Hyosung, VMoto, Benelli, Bimota, Bollini, CFMoto, Confederate, Daelim, EBR, Kymco, Laro, Megelli, Mercury, MV Agusta, PGO, Royal Enfield, SWM, SYM, TGB, Ural and Viper.

  1. The peak in sales over the last 20 years coincided with the Baby Boomer Bubble, which has passed through as baby Boomers reached an age where they could afford to buy a bike that their 1960’s parents wouldn’t let them have and that they couldn’t fit into their lives during the period when they had young families.

    What the manufacturers need to recognise is the reason why people should be on motorcycles. They need to get onto the transport promotion bandwagon. In this age of Traffic Congestion a motorcycle is the perfect mode of transport. It happening slowly and the number of commuting riders grows daily. But, the manufacturers appear not to have noticed. What they need to do is to throw some money at lobbying governments to encourage motorcycle riding.

    Its not rocket science. Its something the Australian Motorcycle Council and their state bodies have been doing for years – with no monetary support from the manufacturers. They need to get behind the idea that there should be more motorcycles on the road. For some inextricable reason the FCAI appears to have been reluctant to pursue this approach.

    1. I agree with John K and his first paragraph is both logical, insightful and accurate. The rest is also true, but I think the spell checker needs a service – I think you may mean “Inexplicable”… Big bikes are “toys” and you buy what you can afford, knowing that you can’t use the potential it has without being arrested. The ridiculous governmental obsession with speed limit enforcement may be putting people off sports bikes. As for commuting, there seems to be quite a few 125’s being sold. Maybe these riders will graduate to something bigger?

  2. Not too many complaints. I always buy about 15-20 year old machines you can get them with small mileage and a good price As new sales drop it should be a smorgasbord for riders like me The harley market for one is saturated as older riders go back to golf and fishing.

  3. As far as Honda is concerned not updating or replacing the ST1300 was a major blow in the Sport Tourer range though in the EU it was marketed as a (Light) Tourer. There are owners worldwide still hanging onto older ST1100s and 1300s because there are few newer options to consider. Some have moved reluctantly to the Yamaha FJR or the BMW R1200RT.

    The new base Goldwing has been designated an ST1800 by some who see it as what the ST1300 could have become but the price point is far to excessive.

  4. Not surprised about the Kwaka 9 being such a big seller last I heard 14 have been sold in Tamworth area alone, done my bit for the global motorcycle slump by buying a Kawasaki w 800 from westside motorcycles Tamworth, a Gentleman’s motorcycle from a great bunch of Gents … a change from the mighty GS500 .

  5. Please let me contribute my humble thoughts about the falling sales of motorcycles in Australia. I know what I say might not be appreciated by motorcycle manufacturers and some riders, but these views are not ever broached in motorcycle magazines and social media forums.

    I grew up in South Asia and when I left school the only affordable mode of transport was a motorcycle. That was in the 1970s when small Japanese 2-strokes reigned supreme (75cc – 125cc) and I have to say that those bikes were the best. They were cheap, colourful and cheerful.

    Fast forward 40 years and all I ever read about in motorcycle magazines and on social media are humongous, ugly and overpriced motorcycles. They are too tall, heavy and far too expensive for me. And whatever people might think, the arse-end of most modern motorcycles look absolutely awful.

    Now I have to admit that I did progress during those 40 years and I now own a 1992 Yamaha V-Max 1200cc, 1986 Yamaha FZX 750cc, 1993 BMW K75RT and the only motorcycle I bought new, a 2006 BMW F650 GS (single-cylinder).

    But when I wanted to buy my new bike, I found the seat heights too high, the weights too heavy and most of all the ridiculous prices that were been charged. The stupidly high prices for what is a basic machine is, in my view, the main cause why motorcycle sales are falling in Australia.

    I may not be the most logical person in the world, but I can buy a brand new Suzuki Swift car for around $16,000 in 2019 while I paid $15,200 for my BMW F650 GS in 2006 (it’s no longer in production). Can anyone figure out why a car with 4-wheels and a spare, full bodywork, air-conditioning, stereo system, 4-5 seats, many airbags, bigger engine, electric everything and whatever else on offer is so much cheaper than a motorcycle which has none of that stuff? Something’s wrong.

    Am I the only person in this country that thinks that a 2-wheel motorcycle should not cost more than $10,000 for a top-of-the-range model. The motorcycles on offer for exorbitant amounts of money are absolutely not worth the sticker price. That’s the first problem for motorcycle manufacturers and dealers.

    The second problem is more insidious. If the motorcycle industry wants to increase sales, then they have to start promoting their motorcycles to the young guys and gals and most importantly to their parents who may have once ridden bikes when they were young.

    However, they never do that! NEVER! Instead, parents look at the TV and see the modern-day motorbike hoons racing around with loud exhausts, not wearing proper motorcycling gear, having accidents, getting killed or injured. Would they want their kids to be involved in the motorcycling experience? Figure that out for yourselves.

    And going back to my first statement, why the hell would those parents even consider helping or encouraging their kids buy a ridiculously overpriced 2-wheeler that can’t ever offer the comfort, safety and convenience of a tintop?

    My message to the motorcycle industry is that your products compete with tintops and your prices should be less than half of a cheap tintop. And my message to the motorcycling media is that you need to stop focusing on large, tall, heavy, overpriced motorcycles. The market you people are currently targeting are dinosaurs (like me) who will be extinct in the next decade or so.

    Mt final thoughts are that if the motorcycle manufacturers, dealers and media want to arrest the decline in motorcycle sales, then all of you need to make a concerted effort to motorcycling “cheap and cheerful” again.

  6. There is another problem not being addressed that I have noticed. I have been looking into buying my 2nd bike after a 35-year hiatus. I’m driving around the city trying to imagine what it might be like to be in traffic in 2020. Everyone seems to be in a hurry, and a good percentage of the people driving could care less about anybody’s safety…there seems to be an epidemic of selfish drivers cutting people off. This could be the biggest problem facing the motorcycle industry. I have come up with simple initiatives that I believe should be developed further and believe its time to focus on the environment people ride in as much as the motorcycle itself.
    Why aren’t there blind spot hazard lights and camera avoidance systems available on most new bikes/helmets?
    Why isn’t basic armored clothing/education somehow subsidized by the motorcycle industries at first purchase to ensure new riders have safer entries to riding. Continued education is a no brainer and could grow to a new community. The basic rider safety course should be just a starting point.
    Why aren’t there more lighting kits available for “bikes”, “riders” and “helmets” available to ensure riders are more visible as “mainstream” items?
    Why isn’t cutting off a motorcycle a crime(could you drive toward a pedestrian) …it should be a crime and everyone going through any car license or training program should know that if they purposely put someone’s life in danger its a crime. The motorcycle industry has to lobby for many other things to make the environment safer. I see liability issues in the near future…if tobacco and gun companies can be sued, bike companies in this country may have a problem in the near future.

    I’m still not sure whether I will buy a bike…questions keep popping in my head like I’m sure it does for many people… what’s the cost-benefit analysis, what’s the risk vs the amount of use/cost. I asked a friend if he wanted to get a bike, he said his 12-year-old son asked him not too because it wasn’t safe. If a 12 yrs old is saying that…there is a problem. Then he said he was worried that if he got a bike, eventually his son would get accustomed to the bike….and what if his son eventually got hurt on a bike because he bought one. this is a question parents are asking. I explained that risk factors go down considerably if you didn’t drink and didn’t speed like crazy or buy a bike that’s too much for your skill level.
    yes, these are the same questions potential riders have been asking for decades but today it is different because the environment is more dangerous and people can see it with there eyes every day on the road.

    Victor Carter
    insta @luckylucyliu

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