June 6 2009.

Motorcycle dealers selling used machines have reported a continued shortage of good-quality stocks, making it difficult to satisfy sustained high levels of consumer demand for second-hand motorcycles, according to market analysis carried out by Glass's.

The results of a survey by the publisher of Glass's Guide to Motorcycle Values have revealed that over two-thirds of retailers registered an increase in demand for used two-wheelers during May. This coincided with a worryingly low stock position for 78 per cent of respondents to the survey, with little chance of a quick recovery in supply.

"Stocks remain too low for the majority of retailers - critically low for some - and it could take some time to rebuild these to more adequate levels," comments Randal Thomas, Editor of the Guide. "Dealers are keen to capitalise on the current opportunities in the retail market, but they cannot do so without the appropriate inventory."

The situation has been exacerbated by significant numbers of private buyers attending auctions, which has driven up prices and caused some traders to leave the halls without the requisite purchases.

Thomas notes that inflated prices are having a diverse impact on traders. "Many retailers are having no problem recovering higher costs through higher sale prices," he says. "But this is noticeably easier for franchised dealers, who have seen increases applied to new machines and can, therefore, present potential buyers with clear justification for rises on used stocks. Used-only specialists, however, are becoming concerned that the market cannot sustain high retail prices."

While the end of the peak sales period usually draws near in June, Thomas remarks that there is a good deal of uncertainty about the remainder of this year. "Rapid increases in list prices and significant exports of used machines are making for a distinctly untypical situation. It is hoped that a clearer picture will emerge, once new-sales promotions have become established."