Scooter sales up as drivers are priced out of their cars

Updated: 
Vespa scooter
Car drivers are feeling so pinched by the cost of motoring that they're switching to scooters en masse. Or at least that appears to be the case, based on figures from the Motorcycle Industry Association, which show a spike in scooter sales.

Figures show a 12 percent rise in new scooter transactions in 2011, despite motorcycle sales falling during the same year, and scooter sales having fallen by almost ten percent the previous year (2010).

The sales charts show that while there was a 20 percent rise in 125cc scooter sales specifically, there was a 32 percent drop in the sales of powerful sport motorcycles.

Quoted in The Guardian, Gary Thomas of Scootering magazine said: "The last time I remember such huge scooter sales figures was about 10-12 years ago when new automatic technology meant that all manufacturers came out with a wealth of new models.

"I suspect this time it is about cost. It is often two-car households who have decided that one of them will trade their car in for a scooter. The congestion charge also has an impact on people's decision, as does the price of petrol."

Scooter sales in the capital are, naturally, on the up, with Peugeot and Honda reporting jumps of around 60- and 40 percent respectively.

Peugeot believes it is fuel costs that are prompting the switch from cars to scooters, as well as parking charges, which are dramatically reduced (often free) with a scooter.

New car sales were down by 4.4 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, with 1.94m sold in the UK, though with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders having predicted 1.92m sales, that's seen as a good result.

Diesel car sales surpassed petrol car sales for the first time ever in the UK in 2011 - more proof that vehicle running costs are higher than ever on the agenda.