European Motorcycle News
During a public hearing in Brussels Tuesday, the European Parliament discussed the new type-approval regulation of L-category vehicles (motorcycles, scooters, tricycles, on-road quads and mini-cars). The Members of ACEM, the European Motorcycle Manufacturers Association, laid out why the new Regulation on type-approval for motorcycles (COM2010/542) needs to take into account manufacturing constraints.
Only an unbiased understanding of the time frame required by the industry to develop a new product from the concept research phase to the actual launch on the market will avoid an unnecessary increase of costs while ensuring employment and the competitiveness of the sector in Europe. According to an estimate performed by ACEM the application of the new environmental, safety and administrative provisions will lead to a cost increase between +5% and +10% for the high end of the market (motorcycles above 750cc) and up to +30% for the low end of the market (motorcycles under 300cc). This rise is disproportionate and risks limiting consumer purchasing propensity, leading to a more ageing fleet, with adverse effects on environment and safety, as well as industry, employment and society. In terms of volumes, small and medium displacement motorcycles account for more than 80% of EU registrations. Vehicles under 300cc represent two thirds of EU registrations. Most of them are urban commuters (scooter style represents more than half of the whole EU PTW market, in terms of units).The potential economies of scale valid for the automobile sector do not apply to motorcycle manufacturers due to smaller series and a high variety of models. Furthermore motorcycle manufacturers benefit from lower negotiation margins with suppliers than car manufacturers. In the current economic context, the provisions are extremely challenging. This regulation falls during a critical time for the motorcycle industry. The economic crisis triggered a drop in registrations of L-category vehicles. In 2010 the EU market has shrunk by -25% compared to pre-crisis figures. A quarter of a million units were lost every year since 2008, and for 2011 there are no signs of recovery.In this context, ACEM wishes to underline the utmost importance of the progressive introduction of environmental and safety measures allowing for sufficient lead-time, for new and existing types. This is particularly important given the price impact that the proposed legislative package will have, especially for small and medium displacement vehicles. Jacques Compagne (ACEM Secretary General) says: "Motorcycles, scooters and the other vehicles in the scope of this regulation represent a great opportunity for mobility, especially in cities. They reduce congestion, pollution and travel times, they are easy to park and affordable. We are seriously concerned by the content of the discussions which clearly fail to take into account current production and market realities. "We urge policymakers to devote further detailed reflections to the potential of these vehicles, ensuring competitiveness and employment in the sector."