WELLINGTON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Motorbike makers from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan expanded their market in New Zealand last year as rising petrol prices saw motorists seeking alternatives to their cars.
Overall motorbike sales rose 6.6 percent last year to 19,482, according to figures from New Zealand's Motor Industry Association (MIA) Monday.
Brands from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan made inroads in the under 50cc class of motorbikes, the figures showed.
In the top 15 makes by registrations, Taiwan's SYM was up from 25 in 2010 to 63 last year, while PGO saw sales rise from 24 to 36 and TGB entered the rankings with 23.
The mainland's Lifan saw sales in the under 50cc class rise from 19 to 25, while Baotian entered the rankings with 21.
Sales in the under 50cc class of the Italian make Benelli, which is owned by the mainland's Qianjiang Group, more than doubled from 20 to 44.
Japan's Yamaha overtook Honda and Suzuki to rise from third place to top last year, when total under 50cc sales rose 7.3 percent to 2,440 from 2,273 the previous year.
In the over 50cc class, Japan's Suzuki maintained its top position, but total sales in over 50cc motorcycles dropped from 4, 078 in 2010 to 3,936 last year.
Off-road motorcycle sales rose from 6,004 in 2010 to 6,535 last year in the two-wheel class and from 5,925 to 6,570 in the four- wheel class.
"The strength of the rural sector and higher petrol prices were the reasons for a relatively buoyant year for the new motor cycle sector," Clive Hellyar, manager of the MIA motorcycle division, said in a statement.
He attributed the drop in over 50cc sales to a rise in the government's accident insurance levies. Enditem