The booming popularity of scooters has put the Australian motorcycle industry on track for a big increase in annual sales in 2005.
Figures released today by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that, for the year to the end of September, motorcycle sales were 67,735 - an increase of 5411 or 8.7 per cent over the same period last year.
While most market segments grew, the Scooter segment made the greatest contribution to overall market growth, increasing by 1105 vehicles in the first nine months of the year - an increase of 20.5 per cent year-on-year.
The Super Sports, Naked and Cruiser segments also made significant contributions to overall motorcycle market growth.
"The trend of recent years which saw the sales growth of dirt bikes outpace the road bike market has been reversed," said the Chief Executive of the FCAI, Mr Peter Sturrock.
"The growth in popularity of road bikes - including scooters - may be due to rising petrol prices encouraging commuters out of four wheels and onto two," said Mr Sturrock.
The Road bike market has grown by 3228 vehicles or 14.3 per cent for the year to date, compared to an increase of 1258 vehicles or 4.3 per cent for the Off Road market.
All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) sales have grown by 925 vehicles or 8.6 per cent.
The Off Road market nevertheless remains the largest with 30,315 motorcycles sold in the first nine months, compared to 25,772 road bike sales nationally and 11,648 ATV sales.
Yamaha remains number one manufacturer so far this year, with 17,737 motorcycles sold, ahead of Honda with 17,144 and Suzuki with 8,177.
Honda was the most popular road bike brand, while Yamaha stretched its lead in the off-road market.
Yamaha has moved ahead of Honda to be the most popular ATV brand, while specialist ATV manufacturer Polaris has increased year-to-date sales by 33.1 per cent to overtake Suzuki for third position in the market.