The automobile stalls, but the motorbike revs up. The data available for the eleven months of the current year 2021 offer a stark contrast. Despite a strong recovery in the economy, sales of new cars grew by only 2.5%, while sales of two-wheelers over 50 cm3 show an increase of more than 9%. November – a hardly favorable month for motorcycle sales, marked by strong seasonal variations – resulted in a 33% jump.
“The demand is on two-wheelers”, estimates the firm AAA Data, which lists and analyzes all registrations every month. Burdened by the semiconductor crisis, which lengthens delivery times and increases the prices of urban models, car sales would suffer a carry-over effect in favor of scooters and motorcycles, hardly affected by the shortage of electronic components, of which they are less heavy consumers.
Suggested by the figures, but difficult to substantiate, this hypothesis of an acceleration in the transfer of users from four-wheelers to two-wheelers in recent months has not been confirmed by dealers. The current dynamics of the motorcycle market, attributable to multiple factors, do not appear to be directly related to the difficulties of the automotive industry.
“One of the effects of the crisis linked to Covid-19 will have been to divert part of the public from public transport to two-wheelers, in its different forms, which comes out reinforced in its role as an alternative for urban travel “, recalls Grégoire Billette, responsible for this activity within the National Council of Automotive Professions. This call for air comes in a favorable context. After having experienced a black period between 2008 and 2013, scooters and motorcycles have returned to growth for several years and should reach, in 2021, the threshold of 200,000 units, not far from the historical record of 240,000 units sold in France. Another beneficiary, the electrically assisted bicycle, sold 500,000 units in 2020 and which should continue its momentum.
“Boom of the pleasure motorbike”
“The current period does not only favor individual mobility solutions. It has also awakened, among consumers, a desire for freedom, to have fun ”, ensures Vincent Thommeret, general manager of Yamaha France. If the increase of 7.8% year on year sales of 125 cm3 (accessible to the holder of a B license after a seven-hour training session) can be analyzed as a plan B allowing the city dweller to move from one point to another, the increase of 10.4% of more machines large displacement expresses, according to him, the expression of a desire more than a need. “The pleasure motorbike boom corroborates the one we are also seeing in the sales of quads or boats: after confinement, people have accumulated purchasing power and are ready to spend on their leisure activities”, insists M. Thommeret.
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