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High prices made the Greeks change the motor bikes with scooters

01 April 2010 / 09:04:45  GRReporter
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The financial crisis in Greece changed the demand for motor bikes, motorcycles and scooters on the local market. The shrinking of the economy, the decrease of the liquid capital on the market and the insecurity of the future made the Greeks more cautious when choosing a two – wheeled vehicle. Dimitris Sultatis, a private owner of two shops – representatives of a famous motor bike brand name talks about the difficulties in the sale of motorcycles exclusive for GRReporter.

“My turnover decreased by 30% for half a year. The type of motor bikes which are demanded these days also changed. Until two years ago very popular were the powerful bikes with capacity of 900, 1000 and 1100 cubic meters. Currently there is almost no demand for these models and even if there is any interest they are not very practical under the conditions of a crisis – they consume a lot of fuel and are not suitable for city driving,” says the young entrepreneur. He even told us about a client of his who bought a motor bike of 1100 cubic meters three years ago. With the increase in price of the fuel and the deterioration of the economic environment in the country as a whole the same client bought a lower class of motorcycle in order to decrease his daily expenses on fuel. “These days a motorcycle with an engine of 600 cubic meters consumes about 200 euro per month on gasoline if used every day. This is already a big expense for a common family which also has a car,” says the specialist.

Dimitris explains that currently only 30% of the sales are motor bikes and they are mainly with engines of 600 cubic meters, while the remaining 70% of the sales are small motocycles (125 – 150 cubic meters) and scooters (up to 500 cubic meters). Before the intensifying of the economic crisis in Greece this ration was 50/50, having in mind that the high speed motors had a greater share of the sales.

The three main reasons for the change of the consumers’ habits are the increase of the interests on the consumer credits, the decrease in supply of credits as a whole (banks have almost stopped approving new consumer credits) and the sharp increase of the prices of gasoline in the past six months. “Until 2008 90% of the sales were made through credits. Each client was able to purchase the desired motor bike without having to have the money on hand. The things however changed a lot. The banks changed the policy they were having for many years and stopped granting credits so easily,” says Dimitris Sultatis. He explains that recently the total number of sales has decreased, however the biggest part of the buyers are now paying in cash. The owner of the motorcycles shops “Sultatis” explains that it is about amounts not bigger than three to five thousand euro as is the price of a new scooter or a 600 cubic meters second hand motor bike. The demand of second hand 600 cubic meter bikes has increased as their price is lower and the difference with the new models is more in the design and sometimes they have some small improvements of the engine, rather than in the key parameters (when talking about motors of the same class). The sales of accessories for motormen also have a great share in the turnover of the specialized shops. With the changes of the market, the demand for helmets, jackets and special motorcycle boots registered a slight decrease and more attention is paid to the price rather than the brand name and the high quality. High-tech models of helmets which in previous years cost 700 – 900 euro have no market share in Greece any longer. The clients are searching for cheaper models, without asking for the best in the shops.

Greece has a long term tradition in the use of motor bikes and motorcycles. Traveling on two wheels is very popular because of the favorable climate environment in the country and the comfort of traveling fast in the heavy traffic we have in the big cities. The motorcycles are now rarely used for leisure such as trips and excursions. The observations of the businessman Dimitris Sulgtatis show that 90% of the purchased small motorcycles are for business use. The lack of time, the price increase of gasoline and the increase of the maintenance costs of the big motor bikes, which are suitable for trips, drastically changed the demand on the market.

The expectations of the businessman are that with the approaching of the spring-summer season there will be a slight increase in sales, however he definitely does not expect a great boom of sales in the warm months as he had in the previous years. “The decreased turnover is the reason why I had to lay off two of my employees in the past six months. For a long time I had a team of nine employees and now I only have seven. If things do not become more stable and the sales continue to decrease gradually in the next few months most probably I will have to lay off more people,” says Dimitris.

Tags: Economy motor bikes decrease in sales scooters
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