Australia has an interesting and unique motorcycle industry. Thanks to the greatly varying types of terrain in the region, The Land Down Under can be considered a sanctuary for powersports enthusiasts. Apart from its wide open roads, the region is also home to mountainous terrain, as well as desert and subtropical areas in the Outback.
As such, you’d expect there to be a bustling motorcycle and powersports industry in Australia, right? Well yes, for the most part, this has been the case. However, in the first half of 2023, there’s been a substantial decrease in sales for the motorcycle and off-highway vehicle (OHV) categories. An article by MCNews.Au highlights key data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), one of the biggest governing bodies when it comes to the importation and manufacture of passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles, and motorbikes.
According to the report, a total of 45,085 motorcycles and OHVs were sold in the first half – that’s January to June – of 2023. This marks a 5.9-percent decrease versus the same period last year. Drilling down the numbers in greater detail, of the total number of vehicles sold, road bikes still make up the majority, with 17,432 units sold, or 38.6 percent of the pie. Nevertheless, this marked a notable four-percent decline versus sales figures of 2022.
Following closely behind is the off-road segment, with 16,884 units sold, accounting for 37.4 percent of the total sales figure. Surprisingly, despite the rising popularity of off-road riding in other markets, Australia seems to be suffering from a decline, as sales of off-road motorbikes dropped by a staggering 13 percent versus 2022 figures. Scooters, while already having a meager 5.8-percent share of the pie with 2,618 units sold, also experienced a 6.3-percent decline in the first half of 2023.
All that said, given all the data presented by MCNews.Au’s article, there is a glimmer of hope for the powersports industry. FCAI data reports that the OHV market, characterized by the like of ATVs, UTVs, and side-by-sides, has seen a noteworthy 7.6-percent increase in sales with 8,151 units sold. The OHV segment comprises 18 percent of the market.
Indeed, while the data presented by the FCAI is telling, there are some major holes in the report that don’t really give us the full picture of the Australian motorcycle industry. Once-small players that have now grown to prominence are not part of the FCAI, and as such, their sales data isn’t present in the report. Brands like Royal Enfield, MV Agusta, Benelli, and Rieju were once obscure marques in the game, but have now gained popularity.
On top of that, CFMoto, one of the fastest growing manufacturers in the world, has a wide selection of street and off-road motorcycles, as well as an impressive arsenal of ATVs, UTVs, and side-by-sides, all of which not present in the FCAI’s report. Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco, as well as French off-road specialist Sherco, are also excluded from the report.
MCNews.Au estimates that the actual sales figures of motorcycles and OHVs in the first half of 2023 in Australia could very easily have exceeded the 60,000 mark. As more and more new players enter the game, they unsurprisingly challenge established names, as they provide new value propositions – most of which in the form of price cuts – to motorcycle and powersports aficionados.