February 24th, 2017.

According to data published by the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM) registrations of motorcycles and mopeds in the EU have increased by 9.1% in 2016 compared to the previous year. Total registrations in 2016 reached 1,307,200 units, with substantial increases in most of the European markets.

France remains the largest European market for motorcycles and mopeds (253,067 units, +4.2% in 2016), followed by Italy (219,865 units, +11.8%), Germany (174,264 units, +15.1%), Spain (172,176 units, +15.9%) and the UK (128,637 units, +11.7%), which currently ranks fifth.

Strong growth in the motorcycle segment across Europe
In 2016 registrations of motorcycles in the EU (i.e. light vehicles with two- or three wheels and an engine capacity of more than 50cc) grew by 13.3% compared to 2015. The largest market for motorcycles in Europe was Italy, with 195,290 units registered (+13.5% on a year-on-year basis).

Other largest motorcycle markets also showed positive trends: 174,624 units were registered in Germany (+15.1%); 163,335 in France (+6.6%), 155,003 in Spain (+17%) and 119,889 in the UK (+13.4%), which also ranks fifth for motorcycle registrations.

Moped registrations continue to decline in most European markets
Registrations of mopeds (i.e. light vehicles with two or three wheels and an engine capacity of 50cc or less) increased in some of the major markets such as Spain (17,173 units, +7.6%) and the Netherlands (67,825 units, +2.9%), and remained stable in France (89,732 units, +0.1%) and Italy (24,575 units, -0.2%). A total of 327,826 mopeds were registered in Europe in 2016, representing a decrease of 3.5% on a year-on-year basis.

Registrations by cylinder capacity
Combined registrations of mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles with a cyclinder capacity of less than 125 cc reached 672,551 units (49% of the total European registrations). Vehicles with a cyclinder capacity between 126cc and 500cc accounted for 19% of the total (268,103 units), quite close to the number of registered vehicles with engines between 500c and 1000cc (20.6%, 283,868 units). Lastly, vehicles with engines of 1000cc or more totalled 150,444 units (10.9% of the total).

Registrations of electric vehicles

Registrations of electric mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles in the EU reached 22,402 units. Of these, 11,314 units were mopeds (50.5% of the total); 7,148 were quadricycles (31.9% of the total); and 3,513 electric motorcycles (15.7% of the total).

The largest markets for electrically-propelled mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles were: France (7,396 units), the Netherlands (5,203 units), Italy (2,385 units), Spain (1,604 units) and Germany (1,501 units).

Of all mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles registered in the EU, 1.6% were electric vehicles. Internal combustion vehicles and vehicles equipped with hybrid propulsion represented 98.4% of the total registrations.

Steve Kenward, CEO of the UK Motorcycle Industry Association, said: “We anticipate similar sales for 2017, with between 120,000 and 130,000 new registrations. Like other industries, current predictions will depend on how Brexit affects consumer confidence, but a combination of high public transport costs and stressful driving conditions is likely to induce more people to opt for a powered-two-wheeler during the next 12 months.

“The UK has a growing congestion problem with record volumes of traffic and huge pressure on parking. As a result, more people are turning to motorcycles and scooters and we now have the highest parc licenced for the road for 8 years. 

“To realise the motorcycling opportunity in the UK, we have formed a partnership with the UK's police chiefs and Highways England, which manages the UK's strategic road network and is in a position to make roads physically safer for riders. Together we have produced a whitepaper which makes the case for better inclusion for PTWs in transport policy and sets out what needs to be done to support this.

“Simultaneously, we have introduced a national system of 'accreditation' to signpost and encourage high-quality motorcycle training, which we feel is essential to producing safer riders in an expanding market.

“Once again we have two distinct stories emerging. With rail fare hikes, public transport strikes and increasing congestion on our roads, many people are turning to motorcycles and scooters as a more affordable and efficient form of commuter transport, which is reflected in the type of bikes which are selling well.”

The Secretary-General of the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM), Antonio Perlot (Italy) said:  “2016 has been a very positive year for the industry, with registrations increasing in most European countries, particularly in the largest European markets: France (253,067 units), Italy (219,865 units), Germany (174,264 units), Spain (172,176 units) and the UK (128,637 units).

“Strong demand for light vehicles across Europe is a testament to their inherent advantages. Mopeds, motorcycles and quadricycles have reduced purchasing and running costs, are easier to park than cars, and reduce travelling times and congestion in cities.

- “Nothwithstanding this, our sector still faces a delicate situation. Although more than 1.3 million vehicles were registered in Europe in 2016, that figure is about half the 2.43 million units registered in 2007 before the economic crisis hit”.

“According to our latest estimates, about 156,000 jobs are generated directly or indirectly by our sector in the EU. Activities such as manufacturing of vehicles, parts and componentes, as well as in repair and maintenance of vehicles, or manufacturing of protective equipment to name just a few examples, create jobs all over Europe, particularly in countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Spain and the UK.

“Exports of motorcycles, parts and accesories to foreign countries are essential to sustaining jobs in the motorcycle sector in Europe. In addition to a stronger domestic European market, we need a European trade policy that not only secures strategic free trade agreements with key partners but also one that prevents protectionist policies abroad."