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Motorcycles in China to 2016

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Demand to grow 5.5% per annum through 2016
Demand for motorcycles in China is projected to increase 5.5 percent per annum through 2016 to 57.7 million units. Gas motorcycles and electric motorcycles, while collectively referred to as “motorcycles,” tend to appeal to different types of consumers and different factors affect growth. Sales of electric motorcycles will be fueled by an expanding urban population, combined with rising income levels, and will account for 60 percent of total motorcycle demand by 2016. Gasoline motorcycles are also projected to exhibit healthy advances, particularly in rural areas, as demand is driven by their relatively low cost compared to alternative forms of transportation. Automobiles will pose the greatest competition to the motorcycle market in China as growing income levels have increased the number of consumers able to afford them.

Electric motorcycles to rise faster than gasoline types
Sales of electric motorcycles are forecast to grow 6.4 percent per annum through 2016 to 35.3 million units. Demand will slow from the torrid growth rate recorded over the 2001-2011 period as the stock of electric motorcycles increases, but sales will still be strong, boosted by ongoing urbanization and rising income levels. Sprawling urban development across China and insufficient public transportation networks continue to create the need for low-cost personal transportation, and electric motorcycles serve that market. The typically higher cost of gas motorcycles and the restrictions on their use in cities make electric motorcycles a more practical and popular choice among the urban populace.

However, higher demand for light motor vehicles will continue to impact electric motorcycle sales, as higher income levels have made acquiring a private vehicle a reality for many in China. Electric mopeds will be the most popular model because of their blend of attributes -- e.g., they are faster than electric bicycles but less expensive than scooters. There is little regulation over the use of electric motorcycles. If government efforts to regulate ownership are successful, it could have an adverse impact on electric motorcycle sales. In fact, drivers are not even required to be licensed.

Foamed plastics to remain leading material by value

The gas motorcycle segment is projected to grow 4.2 percent per year, reaching 22.4 million units in 2016. The majority of demand will come from the rural and semi-rural market. Their sturdy design and ability to travel greater distances -- often over poor quality roads -- make gas motorcycles more practical than electric motorcycles in these areas. In addition, the low levels of public transportation available outside of urban areas make motorcycles an essential form of transportation for people unable to afford automobiles. Increasing income levels among rural residents will continue to drive sales. However, the numerous restrictions and bans on gas motorcycles in cities will prevent faster gains in urban areas, while gas motorcycles face competition from low-speed vehicles in rural areas, which are equally rugged but have a greater carrying capacity.

Medium displacement motorcycles will continue to be the largest gas motorcycle type and post the fastest growth through 2016. Medium motorcycles serve the greatest number of consumers due to their balance of power and cost. Demand for heavy motorcycles is projected to increase as income levels rise and the recreational market continues to develop. However, restrictions on large displacement motorcycles and city bans will prevent heavy motorcycle sales from expanding at a faster rate.

Study coverage

Details on these and other findings are contained in Motorcycles in China, a 245-page industry study from Freedonia’s Beijing office that is priced at $5400. It offers historical demand data (2001, 2006 and 2011) plus forecasts (2016 and 2021) for demand by product, market and region in China. The study also assesses market environment factors, evaluates company market share, and profiles 40 competitors in the Chinese motorcycle

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Motorcycles in China to 2016


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