October 1 2012.

Despite the economic crisis affecting the European motorcycle market, signs of recovery are at hand. The analysis of recent market trends highlights that urban mobility and passion are still acting as main drivers of the motorcycle market. While some segments have suffered from the impact of the economic downturn, sales of light Powered Two-Wheelers (PTW) specifically designed for city trips indicate a growing interest in this mode of transport. The relative good performance of engine capacities over 250cc confirms that passion for motorcycling is still a key factor pushing customers toward this vehicle category.

On behalf of Intermot Cologne ACEM, the European Motorcycle Industry Association, conducted a review of the most recent motorcycle market trends comparing the Moving Annual Total of the past year (September 2011- August 2012) with the same time frame a year before, which allows for a reliable representation of the "seasonal effect" closely linking the PTW business to the weather conditions.

Main results show that southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Spain), with a greater exposure to the debt crisis, are suffering most. In these countries return to pre-crisis levels will need a certain time. Northern European markets generally show a better resilience. Considering that some northern markets are already performing positively (Germany, UK, Austria, Switzerland), pre-crisis levels could be attained in the short/mid-term.

In the period analysed by ACEM PTW sales went from 1.622.376 to 1.456.070 units which equals to a 10% reduction. This decline was led by the moped segment, PTW with engine capacities below 50cc, with a 13% contraction, from 576.591 to 502.003 vehicles. Still this segment is still above the half million psychological threshold.

Sales of motorcycles and scooters above 50cc decreased 9% Europe-wide over the same period from 962.052 to 873.360 units.

The 3- and 4-wheeler market can be considered stable (73.295 to 71.408).
These aggregated figures however do not reveal the varied nature of individual national markets. For example, the moped market is growing in countries such as Slovakia, Switzerland and Norway.

France positions itself first in the country ranking for mopeds, followed by The Netherlands, Poland, Italy and Germany.

Country variations are also strong as regards the over 50cc segment, where one third of European markets are performing positively (e.g. Germany, UK, Austria, Switzerland, Norway).
Germany and France lead the ranking of European motorcycle (over 50cc) markets, followed by Italy, UK, Spain and Switzerland.

The boom of electric PTW, with a growth above 60%, confirms the dawn of a new user category considering this mode for its benefits in terms of flexibility, efficiency and low environmental impact. The electric PTW segment now accounts for 1% of the overall European market.

Jacques Compagne, ACEM Secretary General: "The analysis of the most recent trends shows that the European PTW market is characterized by a cycle effect. Today the cyclical nature of our business is further upset by the economic crisis. Judging from the positive signs that can be extrapolated from our statistics we believe that the cycle will soon produce positive effects on the market."