Motorcycle registrations riding high

MotoXtreme Kawasaki owner Kevin Dougherty is predicting another busy year of motorcycle sales in...
MotoXtreme Kawasaki owner Kevin Dougherty is predicting another busy year of motorcycle sales in Dunedin, particularly of road bikes including the best-selling 300cc Ninja. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Otago is a motorcycle haven, according to the latest data on new vehicle registrations.

There was a 55% increase in the annual number of motorcycles registered for the first time in Otago last year.

Nationwide, there was a 22% increase in new motorcycle registrations between December 2012 and December 2013.

Data was collected by the New Zealand Transport Agency and released this week by the Motor Trade Association (MTA).

It showed there were 266 new motorcycle registrations in Otago last year, compared with 172 in 2012.

Nationwide in 2013, there were 7024 new motorcycle registrations, and 5765 in 2012.

Motorcycles included all two-wheeled motorised vehicles, from the smallest 50cc scooters to the largest multi-cylinder motorbikes.

MotoXtreme Kawasaki owner Kevin Dougherty said Dunedin had always been a great motorcycle community.

Mr Dougherty had been in the industry about 15 years and said sales were picking up after a slump coinciding with the economic downturn, when dealers reminisced about the ''good days'' at the start of the century.

''Last year was steady and it was probably the first year that things started to pick up again. We are looking at another good year, the way things are going,'' he said.

''People feel a bit happier about spending money, especially when the Government starts talking about getting back to a surplus.''

Mr Dougherty said road bikes were most popular, and the majority were being bought by working men as a supplementary vehicle.

''They tend to have a car at home, but want a motorcycle to ride to work for easy parking and cheap gas, or as a bit of a toy. A lot of firemen, policemen and hospital workers are buying road bikes,'' he said.

Scooters and learner motorcycles were popular among students, and trail bikes also sold well in Otago.

The only sector down in the region was new cars, of which there were 12 fewer first-time registrations in 2013 than in 2012 - a 1% decrease.

Growth was recorded in all categories of new vehicle registrations nationally last year.

Otago had an 80% increase in first-time registrations of used commercial vehicles, from 102 in 2012 to 184.

Nationally, there was a 73% increase to 6094.

There were also 98,971 first-time registrations of used imported cars in New Zealand last year, of which 2783 were in Otago.

New Zealand had 82,433 new cars registered for the first time last year (a 7% increase), of which 2253 were in Otago.

There were also more new commercial vehicles registered - 30,861 nationwide (up 29%) and 1328 in Otago (up 24%).

MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said Toyota was the most popular brand for both new and used cars, as well as new commercial vehicles.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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