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Motorcycle Sales Down 15.8% in 2010

Thursday, January 20, 2011
The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has released its monthly sales report for December, with year-to-date motorcycle sales in 2010 registering a 15.8% drop from 2009. This marks another year of decline in the market, with 2009 totals registering a 40% drop in motorcycle sales.
Motorcycle Industry Council
With the release of its December sales report, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) shows a 15.8% drop in year-to-date motorcycle sales for 2010.

Total motorcycle sales were down 82,198 units, at 439,678. Year-end estimates from the MIC at this same time last year showed a 359,408 unit loss from 2009 to 2008.

Breaking it down by segment, Off-Highway motorcycles dropped the most, at 23.3%, losing 24,562 unit sales. The dual-sport class fared better, bleeding only 13.5% of its 2009 totals at 3679 units.

On-Highway motorcycles, which includes all street-legal models excepting dual-sports and scooters, dropped 14.3%. Losing 50,989 units, On-Highway totals were 306,702. Scooters dropped the least amount at 9.4%, with a total of 28,483 units sold. (Scooters exhibited the worst sales losses in the same report last year, dropping 59%).

The ATV market exhibited considerable decline, dipping 20.1% in 2010 and 64,431 units. The MIC does not include UTV sales in its ATV totals (A notable exception to the overall downturn, Polaris credited its impressive sales growth in the fall of 2010 to increased sales of its side-by-side UTV and the announcement of a five-year contract to provide UTV to the Army National Guard.)

The MIC collects its monthly sales data from participating manufacturers, including the Big Four, American OEMs Harley-Davidson and Victory, as well as the European marques BMW, Ducati, KTM and Triumph and Canadian marque Can-Am. Final sales totals rise when the MIC releases its Statistical Annual, which includes sales estimates from non-reporting manufacturers.

  2010           2009           Change      %Change
DUAL  23,531  27,210  -3,679  -13.5%
OFF-HWY  80,962  105,524  -24,562  -23.3% 
ON-HWY  306,702  357,691  -50,989  -14.3% 
SCOOTER  28,483  31,451  -2,968  -9.4% 
TOTAL  439,678  521,876  -82,198  -15.8% 
ATV  256,750  321,181  -64,431  -20.1% 

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Evan -Tom - head honcho is right, the dealers are scum  January 28, 2011 04:18 AM
Very seldom do you come across a powersports dealer that isnt full of sharks , not only that, the majority are full of morons that don't know about the product and forget about getting your bike serviced there. If someone knows of a good powersports dealer in California, let me know.
Used bikes -Get one!  January 25, 2011 07:04 AM
Wow, stop the bellyaching please. Get a used bike. Whats the big deal? I had a budget of 10k for a bike. I could have gotten a new FZ1 for about $9200 out the door. Instead, I bought an 07 for under 5k with less than 4,000 miles. It left me enough to buy 2 used dirt bikes for under 4k total for me and my son. This is a buyers market. There are plenty of people that bought motorcycles because they had the extra money and they don't ride them. Now they need the money. As for jobs, vote for a politician that has the balls to say, "the environmental cult is killing us and the sky is not falling, we have plenty of oil, coal and natural gas, lets get it, reduce our energy dependence and prices and put Americans to work in this much needed sector." As H-D would say screw it let's ride.
DingerJunkie -...it's the product...  January 24, 2011 02:55 AM
I have money, and I want to buy.

Show me the motocross bike I can buy and keep competitive for more than two seasons with rebuilds I do myself...wait...two-strokes have been phased out, and new four-bangers need $2500 shop rebuilds after 15 hours at race-pace.

Show me the sub-600 standard...better yet...sub-600 sport bike, built to the quality of the supersports. Oh yeah, a tall/heavy/powerful 600 supersport is considered a beginner's bike now.

Show me the non-cruiser, highway capable, sub-600 bike that my 5'0" wife can ride with me on multi-state trips...you know, like the old CB450 and 550 stuff. Oh yeah, the only thing that will fit short people now are slow, heavy cruisers or beginner-bikes that would be terrifying on the highway.

Show me a true "standard" that can be personally customized for little $$ to be either sporty, distance/touring oriented, or custom...so I can modify over time beyond an exhaust. Oops...forgot that only "niche bikes" exist now...even "nakeds" can't convert cheaply anymore.

I'll be here when the market comes up with something that the consumer wants again, rather than just what they want to have people buy.
Joanna -Usually riding in Kansas  January 23, 2011 06:48 PM
There is money out there. But the middle class is seeing less of it. The decline has been really noticeable the last three years. Dealers are experimenting with options like Lease-A-Bike. Same concept as with cars. Many riders trade or sell a bike after a year or two anyway. Then there's Build-A-Bike, where you get the pieces in a box and put the bike together. Really, I'm serious. Sales are so bad that M/C dealers, seeing dwindling sales, are now selling guns and snowboards to make up the difference. Another idea being scrutinized is for manufacturers to bypass dealers completely and sell directly to consumers. It's true that the Asian market is hot, but not for high cc bikes which is the norm in the U.S. You won't see much over 250cc in Taiwan or China. Because there is no foreseeable bottom for this "recession," I would label this a crisis for m/c sales in the U.S.
benroe -weak economy reflection  January 23, 2011 08:35 AM
we are still losing jobs, manufacturing jobs that people were able to make a living working without govt. aid. sure, more jobs are turning up in the service sector but guess what, they don't pay enough for people to live on without some sort of govt. assistance or they don't have enough disposable income to justify the cost of a pleasure vehicle. add in that most of the people that were displaced from manufacturing went to college and now have student loans to pay, and have a comparable income to what they did previously and the average working person has less disposable income yet again. declining motorcycle sales are a reflection of our eroding middle class, and it won't get any better until we get more jobs that pay a sustainable wage.
Salesman to the world -Bright  January 23, 2011 08:24 AM
Sales are up in China and India. The USA market is done. Gone forever is the Middle Class who now can't even maintain a morgage. Half of our population live today like a "third world nation".
Mcguire -sewer rat  January 23, 2011 05:01 AM
With the prices of low milage used bikes so low, I don't see how sales are as good as they are. You can buy some Awsome bikes for 4-5 thousand dollars and a commuter for 3. I got an Aprilia Milie rsvR with olins suspension, Oz wheels, and carbon fiber pieces for 4500 dollare and it only had 15000 miles with all maintaince up to date and a new chain. I bought it last January (best time to buy) and it has been a war horse.
Melissa -Miss  January 22, 2011 08:24 PM
All I know is, I want a motorcycle! But buying new is not affordable. It's an automatic $3,000 tacked on to the dealer's sticker price with fees, taxes, prep costs, etc. So I'm forced to buy used. Same with so much else. It's getting too expensive so I'll find another way to achieve the same end. I'd like to see an article on what major mc builders are going to do in 2011 to offset this. Dwindling sales is not sustainable for them.
JoBlow -Where are you.... in the 60's  January 22, 2011 03:49 PM
He guys wake up it's 2011 now a 750 to 900 cc's bike around 10K is reasonnable look at the price of cars a piece of crap like a Toyota Yaris cost more than 15K.
Everything go up until we die.
Tom -About the cost of the bikes nowadays ...  January 21, 2011 05:19 PM
We all know very well that Japanese bikes are far lower in cost than a comparable American or European bike, generally speaking. While I do not want any American jobs to be lost by having HD and Victory go overseas for cheaper labor costs to lower their end user MSRP price, US labor rates are ridiculous, and that is a significant cause of the inflated costs of US made bikes regardless of style or amenities.

After getting my license in early May 2010 after taking the basic rider course, I would love a new 2011 Victory Vegas with a few tweaks. However, the cost is far too high to afford and gets into what I would go into debt for via a loan or lease on a new four door passenger car to carry our four person family around in during the cold, snow filled winters of eastern PA instead of bike which is not suited for it at all.

While I understand the technical advances and implementation of it, too high of an MSRP is too high of an MSRP to be able to afford it, and at 6 foot one with a 34 inch inseam, I simply do not fit well on many cruisers without serious adjustments to the pegs or floor boards or just don't fit at all ... so i can't get a smaller displacement size bike and I don't want one either. Shifting all the time is just not what I want to do as smaller bikes require. Victory is my favorite and by far over all others, but like HD, they cost way too much even though you get a fabulous bike.

Motorcycles are a luxury item and an excellent means of transportation in certain aspects in weather and safety favorable conditions. Being a father of two sons, I cannot even go to the grocery store to get this or that or take my toddler or new born son to the doctor if something is wrong on a bike like I can in a car or truck or SUV that does not cost all that much more. the costs of the bikes, and not just US made ones, must come down or those of us who have low to moderate income will never be able to afford one un less we buy an old, used, small size one from someone personally selling it which kills new dealer sales inherently.

Also, for the cost of any bike, the choices of paint schemes or even basic colors to choose from per brand, model, and year are pathetically limited. Why ? For that amount of money, I should have at least five or six basic solid colors to choose from and a few two tone color schemes to choose from as well just like we do with almost all automobiles.

Motorcycles are so similar to snow mobiles in that you can only use them when the weather conditions are suited for it with several factors OK. Why would I intentionally go into debt for a legally binding loan for something that cannot be used all year long and must be stored due to that and must be maintained while stored and still costs me per month during that times of no use ? Even if their costs do go down, people will still not buy them due to that and the fears of getting killed or left in a condition like that of a land mine victim after an accident.
Maxx - Bubble 2  January 21, 2011 09:57 AM
It is kinda like the housing crisis; now the bubble has burst. The manufactures need to lower their prices to gain stabilization. Lets face it, people are paying $11K plus for 600s and finding out after 6 months it is hard to get $6K in resale for them. While if your notice the Euro-bike (Duc, BMW, Tri) are braying about lowering, remaining the same or slight increases in their prices. Hint hint That alone shows the bikes are overpriced. I understand a lot of technology (anti-lock, stability controls, e-curse controls, tire monitoring sys and adj-suspense have been added to bikes over the last couple of years, but the average rider is not interested in the bells and whistles they just want a fun and reliable bike. paid $10,900 06 Busa 13,700 for 2011 paid $8,900 06 GSXR 600 11,600 for 2011 Just don't make sense
Gary -Cost  January 21, 2011 09:04 AM
I have to agree with Dan. New bike prices are getting to expensive for people to justify. They will still sale a few bikes to us motorcycle enthusists but very few to newbies who don't have the passion yet. So the industry doesn't grow and continues it's decline. $11,600 for a GSXR 600, that's just crazy.
GB -skipro3  January 21, 2011 08:24 AM
they did, Harley took a big bailout. Victory didn't need it.
Dan -No S**t  January 21, 2011 08:10 AM
10,000 for a dirtbike! what the hell did they expect. Drop the price to increase sales and dont punish people because you cant sell all the bikes you made. The market is absolutely screwed now.
jdj -duh...  January 21, 2011 04:53 AM
Maybe if manufacturers stopped selling sexy image bikes and started trying to convince that m-cycles could be transportation then people might be more willing to swap driving for riding. As it stands now they are marketed mostly as playthings. The industry might get a bump this summer if/when we go back to $4 gallon gas...then m-cycles will be attractive again?
skipro3 -where's the motorcycle bailout?  January 20, 2011 11:00 PM
So, the government bails out the auto industry and now it's all a puzzle when the motorcycle industry is suffering? Subsidize motorcycles like they did cars and I'm sure numbers would turn around.
MCUSA Editorial -ATV Correction  January 20, 2011 02:23 PM
There was an error in earlier posts. The ATV has been updated with the correct statistics.
Bob -kinda surprised  January 20, 2011 11:46 AM
With relatively good news coming from Victory & BMW recently I had expected there to be a bit more of an all around rebound last year. I think I am more surprised though by the drastic ATV slump which had seemed a little more recession proof earlier on.
daja -....Luxury  January 20, 2011 11:44 AM
Simple! MC's are a luxury item and people are not confident about our economic strength. This combined with ever increasing sticker prices I can understand why the industry is trending this way.
Tom -Head honcho  January 20, 2011 11:16 AM
While I hate to see the manufacturers suffer, I can't say the same about many of the dealers. They are typically one step removed from used care salesman. Most of them deserve to be out of business.
Orange Sunshine -well here's to the economy..  January 20, 2011 11:11 AM
..and industry rebounding in 2011!