The latest new motorcycle and scooter figures show sales last month were down 10.8% against March 2012. Under 50cc scooter sales were down 27.3% in March, while over 50cc motorcycle sales decreased by 8.9%.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA), which represents motorcycle retailers across the UK, commented: “While it is extremely disappointing to see motorcycle sales decline last month with sales well behind what is expected in a month that saw the introduction of the number plate, it is likely that the recent bad weather has had a knock-on effect on the motorcycle market.

“The slowdown in demand for scooters continued in March with sales down 9.9% last month and the 51-125cc market as a whole was down 14.8%.

“The over 1,000cc market remained surprisingly stable during March with almost the same amount of bikes being sold as last year. These machines are often purchased by a more mature discerning consumer who may not be experiencing the same financial concerns as the younger consumers, hence the resilience in this sector.

“The dominance of the larger, more expensive motorcycles in the market is similar to that in the car market where there has been growth in sales of luxury brands.

“Premier brands have also experienced a boost in sales in the motorcycle market with BMW, Triumph and Harley Davidson experience a boost in sales.”