The following statement, issued by ACEM, the Brussels based international motorcycle industry trade association in May addresses some of the issues that will affect the motorcycle market's chances of seeing the economic damage done so far mitigated by a return of consumer demand.
"Hit by an unprecedented decline in vehicle registrations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Europe's motorcycle industry calls for support from the EC.
"Motorcycle registrations across Europe dropped steeply in March and April. With dealerships having been closed and economies grappling with the impacts of lockdown, commercial activity has been virtually paralysed.
"Total registrations in the five largest motorcycle markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) fell by -39.6% in March 2020 and deteriorated even further in April when combined registrations in the largest markets fell by -74.9%.
"The moped segment was equally impacted. The largest European moped markets (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain) fell by -37.9% in March 2020 on a year-on-year basis. In April moped registrations in the same markets decreased -55.1%.
200,794 units YTD
"Due to the seasonal nature of the market, with sales concentrated in the spring, the timing of the outbreak has placed European motorcycle dealerships under extreme financial pressure. Dealers are now holding an excess of Euro 4 inventory, which may become unsellable due to the regulatory changes."
Antonio Perlot, ACEM Secretary General, said: "It is already clear that 2020 will be a very difficult year for the sector, with extraordinary disruptions on the activity of manufacturers, dealerships and suppliers.
"Europe's motorcycle industry welcomes the various economy-wide support measures that European national governments and the EU Commission have put in place, but the PTW industry has an important additional request - for the Commission to extend the period in which Euro 4 vehicles can be sold, to avoid dealers being left with hundreds of thousands of unsellable vehicles."
There is no doubt that such an outcome would guarantee that the long, dark economic shadow that COVID-19 is going to cast across the economies of Europe would have an extended and catastrophic impact on the motorcycle industry. One that could last long and go deep.
Perlot concluded: "ACEM and its members are working together with EU and national administrations to find a solution to the problem of hundreds of thousands of Euro 4 excess inventory. This will require reviewing relevant legislation to ensure that motorcycle dealerships across Europe can recover from the effect of the COVID-19 crisis as soon as possible."