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Motorcycle sales Accelerate in 2004

Motorcycle sales have accelerated to reach their highest level in more than two decades according to figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The FCAI says 89,374 motorcycles were sold in Australia last year - an increase of 15,702 or 21.3 per cent over 2003.

"This was the largest percentage growth in more than a decade and gives us hope that the industry might soon return to the sales levels it enjoyed in the mid-1970s when more than 100,000 motorcycles a year were sold," said the FCAI's Chief Executive Peter Sturrock.

Honda maintained its position as the most popular motorcycle brand in 2004 with 25,498 sales, ahead of Yamaha with 22,742 and Suzuki with 11,393.

The road bike market was the main driver of market growth in the second half of 2004.

The total of 31,967 road bikes sold represented growth of 26.8 per cent over 2003.

Within the road bike market the strongest performing segment was Scooters, sales of which reached 7,893 - almost double the total of 4,116 in 2003.

The result meant Scooters became the single largest segment of the road bike market for the first time, ahead of Cruisers and Super Sports.

Those segments also performed strongly, with Super Sports growing to 6,316 - an increase of 22.0 per cent - and Cruiser sales increasing by 8.0 per cent to 7,093.

"The revival of the road bike market appears to be driven by two unrelated economic developments," said Mr Sturrock.

"On the one hand, the long term strength of the economy means increasing numbers of people feel they can afford a sports bike or a cruiser as a weekend recreational vehicle, while on the other, the trend towards high density inner city living has created a new market for scooters," he said.

The best-selling scooter brand was VMoto which, in its first full year on the market sold 1,441, narrowly ahead of Bolwell (1,404) and Honda (1,144).

The Off Road motorcycle market, meanwhile, continued its long term growth in 2004, sales increasing by 13.4 per cent over the previous year.

The Off Road market represented 47.7 per cent of all motorcycles sold and its popularity was reflected in the list of top ten selling motorcycles in 2004.

Nine out of the ten were dirt bikes - the only exception being the Honda CT110, which is bought almost exclusively by Australia Post as a delivery bike.

"The popularity of dirt bikes in all their forms indicates that motorcycling as a leisure activity - rather than simply as a means of transport - continues to grow in popularity," said Mr Sturrock.

Honda was also the best-selling Off Road brand with sales of 14,405 - just beating Yamaha 14,217 with Suzuki third (5,293).

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) sales leveled out in 2004 at 14,734 - three per cent up on last year.

The full text of this release and a publication-quality digital image and can be retrieved at www.pressroom.com.au