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Election shares motorcycle sales crash blame

A continuing downturn in motorcycle sales, as well as car sales, in the first half of the year has been blamed on the Federal election, floods, drought and tight financial lending.

There is little relief from the bleak news with road bike sales suffering the biggest loss of -17.7% as sales of all motorcycles, scooters and ATVs were down 11.4%, according to official figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).Election shares sales crash blame

Honda was the overall market leader with a 24.2% share, despite sales down 11.8%.

It was followed by Yamaha with a 21.1% share (sales -11.2%) and Kawasaki with 10.7% share (sales -3.9%).

Following declining sales reports for motorcycles and cars, FCAI boss Tony Weber said:

Over the past six months we have seen various conditions and circumstances which adversely affected the market.  These include a tightening of financial lending, environmental factors such as drought and flood, and a strongly contested federal election.

Despite the usual concern about elections, motorcycle sales actually slowed their slide from -14.6% in the first quarter, the biggest quarterly negative result since the GFC.

In the aftermath of the election there seems a more buoyant mood in the financial markets, although the global outlook is gloomy against a backdrop of trade wars, Brexit and continuing tensions over North Korea and Iran.

Click here for how global motorcycle sales have been trending.

Sales highlights

The most interesting result in the first half of this year was the massive -28.9% result for Honda road bike sales which crashed to third place behind Harley-Davidson and Yamaha.Election shares sales crash blame

Honda’s crash could be explained by the absence of postie bike sales, which is their staple. It could because Australia Post seems to be switching to electric trikes.

Australia Post postie bike electric trike eDV
Australia Post postie bike electric trike eDV

Interestingly, Harley sales were down another 19.4%, yet they returned to the lead in the road bike sales sector.

The only growth in road bike sales was by KTM which was up 9.1%.

Scooter sales also showed a substantial 18.8% increase after years of slides.

BMW nearly doubled its small sales, Honda was up 74% and Suzuki 48%.Election shares sales crash blame

Missing in action

While the above results are compared with the first half of 2018 with the same brands, it should be noted that 23 minor manufacturers are 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, Norton, PGO, Royal Enfield, SWM, SYM, TGB, Ural and Viper.

Results by category

Election shares sales crash blameElection shares sales crash blameElection shares sales crash blame

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How motorcyclists can vote this election

Which ever shade of politics revs you up, there is little on offer from the political parties specifically for motorcyclists in this federal election.

MotorbikeWriter does not support any one politician or party, so we approached them all, asking for their motorcycle-specific policies as we have done in previous federal elections.

This time we only received responses from the Liberals, Nationals and Liberal Democrats.

Electric election

Electric vehicles have sparked some debate in this election.

The Coalition believes electric vehicles will make up 25-50% of new passenger vehicles by 2030, Labor wants a target of 50% and the Greens have called for 100%.

No matter what targets our parties set, it is largely out of their hands.

We no longer have a car industry and the imports will be determined by foreign car companies who will probably reach those targets anyway. For example, Sweden will not be making any internal combustion vehicles by 2030.

No party makes any mention of electric motorcycles in their election policies.

Solar Cake Kalk electric motorcycles standardise election
Electric motorcycles are coming


While Labor didn’t reply, we note that their Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has long been a strong supporter of motorcycles and scooters.

He has said that attracting more riders as commuters would ease traffic congestion and reduce the pressure on public transport and road infrastructure.

“Albo” reckons Labor would would work with local governments and rider organisations to increase safe parking for motorcycles and scooters in cities and remove “regulatory and other impediments to motorcycle use”.


The Liberals and Nationals both responded with almost identical references to their infrastructure plans which make no reference to motorcycles.

In fact, if they did encourage more people on to two-wheelers, they wouldn’t need to spend as much of our taxpayers dollars on improving infrastructure.

You can read the Coalition infrastructure plan here.

They also referred to the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-20, which includes a number of motorcycle safety issues:

  • Increased understanding about the use of appropriate protective clothing through the MotoCAP rating scheme;
  • Recognition of the importance of infrastructure design and maintenance;
  • Targeted safety campaigns and information sharing;
  • Improved vehicle safety, including through technology such as mandatory anti-lock braking systems (ABS); and
  • Enhanced motorcycle training and education.

Their action plan for further motorcycle safety issues include:

  • Development of network-wide safety plans such as unspecified roadside barriers and motorcycle underrun barriers;
  • Infrastructure and speed reduction at urban intersections including more speed/red light cameras
  • Improved road design;
  • Safe System approaches to support better outcomes for specific road users; and
  • Implementation of “safer speeds” and improved enforcement.

Liberal Democrats

Former Lib/Dem Senator David Leyonhjelm who quit and unsuccessfully stood for the NSW Upper House is a rider and forged their party’s motorcycle policy in 2016.

Now, Senator Duncan Spender has taken David’s place.

The Liberal Democrats believe those who choose to use motorcycles and scooters should not be discouraged by government policies,” he says.

“The use of motorcycles and scooters is a matter of individual choice. So long as nobody else is likely to be harmed, the government has no right to interfere in personal choices.

“Riding motorcycles and scooters eases traffic congestion, produces less emissions and is often a more economical choice. Unfortunately, not only are motorcyclists and scooter riders invisible to many car drivers, they are also largely invisible to governments of both persuasions. The National Road Safety Strategy has repeatedly failed to closely examine motorcycle issues, despite motorcyclists being at greater risk of being killed or seriously injured compared to occupants of other vehicles.

“While the government acknowledges that the number of motorcyclists are growing, governments turn to increased prohibition and regulation instead of encouraging and enhancing the trend. Road rules, parking provisions and infrastructure should facilitate motorcycling, not inhibit it.”

Red tape

Senator Spender says the National Road Safety Strategy to increase licensing requirements would increase red tape.

“There are numerous barriers to the establishment of rider training courses, not only barriers faced by small businesses anywhere in Australia but also specific barriers relating to issues such as liability,” he says.

“As a result there is a shortage of accessible, affordable rider training courses.”

The Lib Dems have also launched a Support Sensible Speed Limits campaign which recognises that limits “tend to be set using an over-cautious approach instead of a balanced and democratic one”.

“This campaign also calls for an end to revenue raising and an increase of speed limits on motorways such as the Hume Highway in NSW,” he says.

Vote early

election poll vote voting

Vote early, vote often, so they say! Well, you can vote early, but you can only vote once.

Just because Saturday is election day doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a weekend ride.

About one-third of the eligible voters will already have voted by election day, up from about 8% in 2007 and 22% in 2016.

Voters previously needed a valid excuse to cast a pre-poll vote, but now the only question you they ask is whether you have already voted in this election.

So vote before Saturday and go for a ride.

Pre-polling stations are open from 8am to 5.30pm. Click here to find the closest station in your electorate.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com