Motorcycle Sales Down 40.8% Says MIC

January 21, 2010
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

The Motorcycle Industry Council reports a 40.8% drop in year-over-year estimated sales since 2008. The MIC figures a total of 520,502 motorcycle sales for 2009, compared with 879,910 in 2008. ATV sales for the same period dropped 29.3%, from 454,098 to 321,181.

Motorcycle Industry Council
The latest MIC data confirms claims of a 40% drop in 2009 sales, the lowest sales totals of the decade.

MIC tabulates sales data by monthly reports from participating manufacturers: BMW, Can-Am, Ducati, Harley-Davidson/Buell, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, the Piaggio Group, Victory, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha. The MIC later submits an estimate of total year sales, which accounts for non-reporting manufacturers. Last year that estimate was 1,087,000. Mid-year, the MIC releases a final sales total in its Statistical Annual, which for 2008 was 1.1 million.

If the 41% decline holds with the non-reporting manufacturers, total motorcycle sales for 2009 would be around 650,000. The final tally breaks a six-year streak of at least one million annual sales, and would actually be the lowest total since 546,000 units were sold in 1999.

The MIC breaks down the motorcycle market into four segments: On-Highway, Off-Highway, Dual and Scooter. Off-highway showed the least decline, down 28%. Dual and On-Highway each dropped 42%, with on-highway motorcycle sales, at 357,691, the largest segment of the market at 69%.

Scooters sales, which boomed in 2008 during all-time highs for gas prices, fell 59% from 2008 – the most precipitous segment drop. The loss of 45,297 scooter unit sales figures to climb in the final MIC reckoning, as 2008 saw a new record in total scooter sales at 220,000 units (which means the non-reporting scooter OEMs sold 143K units in 2008). If the 59% drop in scooter sales holds with non-reporting entities, that would be a loss of close to 130,000 units. The Scooter market for in 2008 boomed 41.5% compared to 2007, also according to MIC data.

  2009           2008           Change      %Change
DUAL  26,257  45,250  -18,993  -42% 
OFF-HWY  105,103  146,779  -41,676  -28% 
ON-HWY  357,691  611,133  -25,3442  -42% 
SCOOTER  31,451  76,748  -45,297  -59% 
TOTAL  520,502  879,910  -359,408  -41% 
ATV  321,181  454,098  -132,917  -29%