For our friends across the pond, this year and next were to be critical years for the motorcycle industry, as the first stage of the Euro 5 homologation requirements was to come online – first in 2020 for brand new motorcycle models, and then in 2021 for existing motorcycle models.
This first stage of the Euro 5 requirement for motorcycles affects primarily the noise emissions from the vehicle, and it will be several years before motorcycles sold in Europe will have to adhere to the full Euro 5 package, which is quite stringent.
The delay on the full Euro 5 implementation comes over concerns about the costs and R&D associated with meeting emission targets, but even this first stage is proving to be difficult for OEMs to implement, and the reason for that is because of the coronavirus outbreak.
A Problem of Time and Resources
This issue comes with two prongs. First, there is the fact that motorcycle manufacturers, especially those in Europe, have had to reduce or furlough their workforces, which means less time and resources are available to meet the timetables required for Euro 5 benchmarks.
Simply put, the concern is that because of the coronavirus outbreak and the restraints that have been put in place to counteract it, there isn’t enough time for manufacturers to develop systems that will make the current crop of Euro 4 motorcycles Euro 5 compliant.
There is certainly some merit to this argument, though it would be interesting to see which brands and which models were being left until the final months of Euro 4 in their R&D process for Euro 5.
Our guess would be that it is a limited number of machines, and there is some debate over how much sympathy can be shown for brands that find themselves in quandary with Euro 5 for these particular reasons.
A Problem of Time and Sales
This brings us to the second factor at play concerning the implementation of Euro 5, and that is the number of Euro 4 motorcycles still for sale at dealerships.
There is no doubt that the stay-at-home orders and closing of dealership doors is having an effect on motorcycle sales in Europe. This is a direct result of potential buyers being stuck at home and dealerships being closed.
But, there is also the indirect and still unseen factor of what the coronavirus will have in terms of its effects on consumer behavior once life returns to something closer to normal. We do know that the effect will be noticeable.
Adding these two factors together, we almost certainly see fewer motorcycles sold in Europe for 2020, and that could mean that there are a number of manufactures stuck with Euro 4 models inventory at the dealerships at the end of this year, with no way of selling them.
A Problem of a Rock and a Hard Place
It remains to be seen if waivers will be handed to motorcycle manufacturers who can’t deplete their Euro 4 inventory before the end of 2020 (there is also a chance Euro 4 bikes can be sold in 2021 if that model is being derogated – or phased out of sale).
One could see a delay in implementing this first part of Euro 5 homologation for Euro 4 models – it certainly seems reasonable, but one could also see the European Union having only small amounts of sympathy for brands that dragged their heels on making the updates for Euro 5.
After all, the Euro 5 regulation is nothing new to motorcycle manufacturers, and it has been coming down the pipe for nearly a decade now (the final revision was published in 2013), which gave plenty of time for all brands to plan on how specific models could transition to Euro 5 while they were designing and building their Euro 4 equivalents.
Still that being said, we wouldn’t be surprised to see January 1, 2022 marked as the new date when Euro 4 homologated motorcycles can no longer be sold in Europe. But, as we are fond of saying: only time will tell.
Source: Bike Social