JOHN NEWMAN COVERS GLOBAL MOTORCYCLING NEWS
If timing is everything, Wemoto's got it just about right with the recent opening of franchises in Australia and Spain, because, in both of these countries, motorcycling is taking on a positive growth glow.
The Spanish economy, like many, took a battering during the recession of the noughties. Large sections of it are still today languishing with unemployment, hitting fifty percent in many areas. But motorcycle registrations have been increasing of late - and at a very healthy rate!
They rose by 27% in July, at 17,520 units, taking the total for the year so far to 81,656 - up nearly 23%. These are the best figures since 2011, and most of them were for larger machines; moped increases were decidedly modest at 2%.
These figures are not too surprising; Spain is probably the most enthusiastic country in Europe for motorcycling. Just look at the steady crop of young racers they cultivate and the huge crowds that pack into the four Moto GP rounds they hold in the country.
On the up, down under
Across the other side of the planet, and in the homeland of Wemoto's other recent franchise - Australia - figures are also improving. The number of bikes on the road is heading for one million, with more and more people commuting on two wheels to avoid congestion and transport fares, which are high in comparison.
Motorcycle registrations have reportedly jumped by 22.3% between 2010 to 2015. In comparison, the percentage of total vehicle registrations has increased by 12.1%. Approximately 4.5% of the 18 million vehicles on Australian roads are now bikes and scooter, whereas it's 2.6% in the UK, with a vehicle population that totals a staggering (approx.) 38 million.
Could motorcycling in these countries be at all affected by the weather? Probably - but it's not sunshine all the way in Aus, either. In the South East, where the majority of towns and populations are, the winter months are often wet and cold. It doesn't seem to put those Aussies off though!
Growth isn't restricted to Europe and Australia - many countries across Asia have also witnessed improvements. India has experienced a surge in economic growth in recent years, with motorcycling fast becoming one of the 'must do' activities for those who've benefitted in this period. Enfield is pushing ahead with expansion plans and a new range of bikes, moving them away from the models that were based on the original UK designs from the forties and fifties.
Triumph has just opened a new showroom in India - the eleventh in the country, which will display all of Triumph's thirteen models. The company, like many others, now has international manufacturing facilities with three factories in Thailand and one in Brazil, as well as retaining the well-known Hinckley, Leicestershire base.
Meanwhile, back in Europe, the scooter-loving French have really taken to Honda's latest offering, the Forza 125cc. 4,000 units have been sold since they went on sale in April, and Honda expect to shift another 2,000 before the year-end. The previous number one bike of this type was the Yamaha XMax 125, which at its maximum sale point managed 5,559 units over a year; Honda expects to exceed this over nine months.
Not that we're cheerleaders for either, or any, particular manufacturer - it's just good to see motorcycling on the up in different parts of the world, and we hope our colleagues in Australia and Spain will gain from this positive period.
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