Motorcycle sales in December 2002 sales came in at a positive 14 981 units, with the two wheels section showing growth for the first time since 1998.

Motorcycle sales came in at 14 981 units in December 2002, with the two wheels section showing growth for the first time since 1998.

According to the latest figures from the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors, the two-wheeled section of the market has grown by 4,6 per cent (adjusted for new members).

The overall figure is totalled after an adjustment of 726 units in respect of new members whose comparatives are not included in 2001.

The leisure part of two wheels featured prominently in this growth curve, with the competition/off road segment showing a 12,4 per cent increase, and the trail/road/cruisers segment growing by 7,5 per cent.

The quads reflected a decrease in its leisure classes however, so perhaps there has also been a measure of crossover or natural progression between the two disciplines, the association commented.

But they said the decrease of 9,1 per cent in the quad market was very disappointing, but largely attributable to lost sales at the beginning of the year, as a result of the 42 per cent import duty imposed by the Department of Trade and Industry in error and removed late in February 2002, and the effect of high prices due to the weakening rand early in the year.

The utility section has shown a healthy increase of 18,8 per cent, which is particularly gratifying, as it means that agriculture and other industries are starting to view quads as a viable alternative to conventional methods of aiding their jobs.

Quads had also shown phenomenal growth since 1996 (1995 sales were a mere 1202 units), and perhaps it can be expected to see a plateau in the growth curve from time to time.

The fact that the scooter/commercial/small cycle segment grew by only 0,5 per cent is concerning, as these are the entry level classes. This segment has however shown a shrinking tendency since 1997, so it is perhaps positive to see a halt in this negative trend.

It is also uncertain quite to what extent cheap imports from China (non-AMID Members) affected this segment, but there is no doubt that some consumers have chosen to "buy down".

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