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Motorcycle sales boom as Australians swap four wheels for two

Motorcycle sales have increased by more than 50 per cent in 2021.

The Australian new-vehicle market is seeing a shift from cars to bikes, as motorcycle, scooter and off-highway vehicle (OHV) sales increase by 51.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.

Figures published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that 27,256 units were sold in the first three months of 2021, compared to the 17,977 units moved in the same period last year.

It is understood that the trend towards motorcycles was spurred on by the ongoing pandemic, which has seen Australians look for more Covid-friendly transport and recreation options.

As the pandemic took hold in 2020, motorcycle sales lifted by 22.1 per cent, with 108,926 bikes finding new homes, compared to 89,199 in 2019.

The increased motorcycle take-up can be largely attributed to a boost in off-road motorcycle sales as border closures have forced Australians to travel domestically, however, road-going motorcycle sales have also grown considerably.

In fact, the FCAI recorded a 20.9 per cent increase in road bike sales in the first quarter of 2021, with 8784 units sold, while off-road models recorded an 88.9 per cent boost with 11,642 bikes sold.

“The results are clearly reinforcing the view that motorbikes, scooters and OHVs are continuing to be a favoured mobility choice across the country,” said FCAI chief executive Tony Weber in a press release.

“It also reflects a growing confidence in the economy as people use their disposable income to either upgrade or buy a motorcycle for the first time.

“The big increase in off-road motorcycles also suggests that the changed social environment brought about by Covid-19 has encouraged many people to look to this area as a positive form of recreation.”

The FCAI includes off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in its motorcycle sales report, which describes things like quad bikes and dune buggies, while scooters are distinguished by their rear-mounted engine.

In 2021, OHV sales have increased by 57.2 per cent year-on-year, while the scooter segment saw a sales growth of 26.9 per cent.

Despite the strong motorcycle take-up in Australia, the local market has been held back by global supply issues, with many customers forced to wait months for delivery, an industry insider told CarsGuide.

“I have had five people in this week, looking to buy a new bike that day, and I’ve had to tell them that it will be four months. It’s a massive problem,” said one new-bike salesman.

As CarsGuide previously reported, the Australian new-car market is also showing positive signs, with the FCAI reporting a 13 per cent sales increase in the first three months of 2021.

However, sales slid 13.7 per cent in 2020, compared to 2019, with the car industry also impacted by factory supply issues.

Spencer Leech
Contributing Journalist
It's little surprise that Spencer pursued a career in motoring journalism; a born car and motorcycle tragic coming from a long line of typesetters and writers. In short, it was meant to be. He cut his teeth in the automotive industry freelancing as a writer and photographer for titles including Wheels, Unique Cars, Street Machine and Carsales, before filling editorship roles at Australian Road Rider and GoAutoMedia. Spencer contributes regularly to Carsguide, sometimes corresponding from far corners of the globe. By night, he shreds the synthesizer in a little-known Melbourne rock band called Midnight Medley.  
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