Demand for motorcycles to approach 55 million units in 2014

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Demand for motorcycles in China will increase 7.6 percent annually to 54.9 million units in 2014.  Electric motorcycles are expected to surpass gas motorcycles to become the leading motorcycle type sold in China.

These comparatively new products will account for over three-fourths of aggregate motorcycle market growth.  Gas-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles will also record solid growth, helping to strengthen China’s position as by far the world’s largest motorcycle market.  ICE motorcycles and electric motorcycles, while collectively referred to as “motorcycles,” tend to appeal to different types of consumers.  Different factors drive growth for each type of motorcycle.

These and other trends are presented in Motorcycles in China, a new study from the Beijing office of The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Sales of traditional gas motorcycles will increase 3.9 percent annually to 23.3 million units in 2014.

Gains will be driven by increasing economic activity and rising personal income levels in the country’s rural and semi-rural regions, which are and will remain the most important markets for these vehicles.  Government rebates for purchases of ICE motorcycles by rural residents as part of the “Automobiles and Motorcycles to the Countryside” program will also stimulate demand.  However, restrictions and even outright bans on ICE motorcycles in many Chinese cities will prevent sales from expanding at a faster pace.  Cruisers are the most popular model type among Chinese consumers, representing 43 percent of gas motorcycle sales in 2009.  However, their position in the ICE segment has been undermined in recent years by the diversification of motorcycle offerings in China.  Going forward, trikes and sidecars will see demand expand at the fastest rate of any ICE motorcycle model type.

The market for electric motorcycles in China is expected to grow 11.0 percent per annum through 2014 to 31.6 million units.  Demand for these newer products will continue to expand at a rapid pace through the forecast period, as increasing numbers of urban dwellers turn to electric motorcycles for their transportation needs.  Improvements in vehicle durability and in battery power and longevity have allowed electric motorcycles to meet an important need among urban dwellers seeking to upgrade from pedal bicycles but unable to afford automobiles.


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