Scooter Sales Boom & Bust with Gas Price
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The summer of 2008 will be remembered for a couple things: First there was that whole presidential election – yeah, that was last year! There was also $140/barrel oil driving gas prices up to $4 a gallon. If you’re like me, you almost blotted out the memory of $4 gas after prices later plummeted – slashing almost in half.
Will US scooter dealers enjoy the unprecedented boom they experienced in 2008?
One consequence of the high 2008 gas prices was a huge spike in scooter
sales, as consumers rushed to purchase more fuel efficient transportation. In fact, according to the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) “scooter sales last year reached their highest annual level ever, currently estimated at 222,000.” The high-flying scooter sales actually quelled the overall 3.3% decline of motorcycle purchases. While overall the two-wheeled market stumbled, scooter dealers couldn’t get enough units to meet demand.
The sales figures for the 2009 first quarter, however, showed how flighty the market can be. Again, sourcing MIC numbers “among the major brands, scooter sales through the first quarter of 2009 were down 36.7% compared to the first three months of 2008.”
Those are the hard numbers from the MIC, anecdotally it seems like used scooters sporting “For Sale” signs are all over the place. It would seem logical that many of those scooters are being sold by riders who made impulsive purchases based more on $4 gas than cool-headed common sense, and regret the decision – in particular once gas prices dropped closer to 2$ than $4 (for an evaluation of the economic benefit of scooter ownership check out our Scooting thru Vespanomics 101
Now with summer again upon us, and the numbers at the pump creeping upward… how will the scooter market respond?
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