Gauteng transport authorities are showing openness with the organised motorcycle industry in terms of easing the barriers of entry for people to use two-wheelers for commuting.
This was one of the messages contained in the address by the national director of the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (AMiD), Réhann Coetzee, at the opening of the three-day AMiD motorcycle show at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec, on Friday, August 24.
“We have had contact with the authorities in terms of a number of aspects relating to making two-wheelers more popular as a convenient and economical form of transport for commuters in South Africa,” says Coetzee.
“Two wheelers – motorcycles and scooters – are a major form of transport for individuals in most developing countries in Asia and certain regions of Africa, but this has not yet become a trend here in South Africa. We know there are some hurdles to overcome, such as the procedure for obtaining a rider’s licence and the authorities have gone so far as to say they will consider redrafting the relevant legislation and want us to provide them with our wish list,” explained the AMiD executive.
He added that AMiD was supportive of government initiatives such as the introduction of microdotting on new motorcycles and scooters from September 1 as a theft deterrent, as well as the consumer protection act and legislation governing product quality and compliance. AMiD members also make use of the Motor Industry Ombudsman in the case of disputes between buyers and sellers, in line with the Motor Industry Code of Conduct.
Réhann Coetzee went on to say how proud he is of the show put on by members of his association, together with some non-members who had been invited to exhibit their products to ensure show visitors were exposed to the full spectrum of two-wheelers available in South Africa.
“We have 66 exhibitors at the show,” said Coetzee. “This is the biggest display ever by the local motorcycle distributors and retailers and the standard is even higher than I had anticipated. It really makes me feel proud.”
Coetzee, who was appointed to his current position a year ago, said that there was a welcome upturn in retail sales of motorcycles and scooters in recent months, although the demand for ATVs and quads was still slow.
Last year South Africans bought 34 214 motorcycles, but this figure does not include all off-road motorcycles, quads and all-terrain vehicles as they are only registered with the Department of Transport should a finance house require it.
Coetzee said that the industry is still far from the boom days of 2007 and 2008, when 50 593 and 54 720 motorcycles were sold respectively. Sales then plummeted to 30 484 units in 2009.
Most motorcycles sold in SA have engines larger than 150cc. AMiD member statistics show that only 21,2% of two-wheelers sales are scooters, with a further 16,6% being motorcycles with engines of less than 150cc. The AMiD executive said there was significant growth potential in the scooter market and this could accelerate as more and more scooter models arrived on the local market.
“Besides the convenience and independence one enjoys when riding a two-wheeler, particularly in today’s heavy traffic conditions, there are also cost benefits in terms of fuel usage and toll fees which should result in the continuation of the current sales upswing,” concluded Coetzee.