South African motorcycle sales throttle back in 2023

Higher priced leisure segments have bucked the trend with a slight sales increase.
Higher priced leisure segments have bucked the trend with a slight sales increase.
Image: Supplied

South African motorcycle sales are likely to decrease nearly 5% this year, says the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (Amid).

Based on the first nine months of 2023, a forecast of slightly more than 30,000 new units is likely for the full year, which is a decrease of 4.9% on the same period in 2022, says Amid national director Arnold Olivier.

“It appears to be a foregone conclusion the motorcycle market is going to experience a contraction,” he says.

Segment performance reflects the commercial sector has experienced a 4% increase for the nine months ended September 2023.

“Scooters performed poorly, with a disappointing 39% decrease in sales, though about half of this can be attributed to a shift from scooters to small capacity geared motorcycles for commercial purposes.

“Small capacity leisure/commuter motorcycles also decreased by 30%. The higher priced leisure segments show an overall increase of 1.2%, which is largely attributable to the introduction of mid-sized and more affordable motorcycles during the period under review. ATV/Side x Side sales are down 10% compared to 2022.”

Olivier says electric motorcycles and three wheelers continue to form a statistically insignificant portion of the market. However, the 246% increase in registrations over the past nine months coupled to numerous new brands appearing on the market indicate there is a growing interest in EVs, though there is still very little commercial traction.

Used motorcycle sales statistics are only available up to June 2023 YTD, and numbers are up 6.5% on the corresponding period for 2022.

“The industry view that trading conditions will continue to be tough, remains, given the presently high interest rates and likelihood of poor if any economic growth. There are also early warning signs that the commercial sector may be reaching a saturation point in terms of new unit uptake. Under the circumstances, no growth is expected for the rest of the year,” Olivier said.


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