Growth in motorcycle ownership brings new opportunities

While general vehicle numbers are growing in Australia, the increasing number of motorcycle registration presents an interesting opportunity for automotive dealers to tap into new markets.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that motorcycles were the fastest growing area of vehicles, with a 22 per cent increase in registrations since 2010. There are now 807,215 motorcyclists on the road in Australia.

The most motorcyclist-heavy state was Western Australia, with 49 motorcycles to every 1,000 people. Not far behind was Queensland with 39 to every 1,000 – a massive increase from only four motorcycles in 2010. The states with the fewest motorcycles per capita were New South Wales and the Northern Territory, which each had 29 per 1,000.

Despite the promising historical trends, sales data from the first half of the year were sluggish in certain areas, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). In particular, scooters saw a 25.9 per cent decline in sales compared to the previous year, marking a downwards plunge for this market. A spokesman for Yamaha said that the layout of Australian cities is a major reason that this particular vehicle hasn’t sold more.

“Scooters are great in European cities but in Australia there just isn’t enough supporting infrastructure,” he said in a January 15 Drive article.

“The parking for scooters in Sydney is especially poor. We’ve traditionally never been a big scooter market here.”

Despite this particular market showing lacklustre potential, there are still sales to be gained in other niches. ATVs were the stand-out performer, with sales increasing by 11.3 per cent in the first half of this year. These were popular choices for farmers and those in the country, suggesting that sales efforts should be concentrated to the rural parts of Australia.

However, the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety has urged farmers to be careful on ATVs. According to its reports, quad bikes are the leading cause of non-intentional injury deaths on farms and consideration into the safety and appropriate use of these vehicles on farms is an increasingly pressing issue.The organisation also stated that quads should be fitted with a “suitably tested crush protection device”.

If those in the automotive industry want to take advantage of rising quad sales, consideration and care must be taken into informing customers about proper operation and safety precautions. Dealers must also ensure that all ATVs comply with appropriate safety standards and do what they can to keep quad bike accidents to a minimum.