Motorcycle Sales Down First Quarter 2010

May 25, 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.

First quarter motorcycle sales data from the Motorcycle Industry Council shows a 22.7% drop compared to 2009. The estimated sales figures, compiled by the MIC from participating manufacturers, show a drop across all segments for the first three months of 2010.

Motorcycle Industry Council

Total motorcycles sales through March 2010 are estimated at 152,431 units, compared to the 197,249 units sold in Q1 for 2009. This 22.7% decline extends the trend of downward sales tied to the national economic woes. By way of comparison, the 2009 numbers were themselves a 31.7% drop from 2008 sales for the same quarter (288,597 units). In other words, within a two year span the market has essentially been cut to half its former form.

There are positive trends, however. While January and February numbers recorded respectively dismal sales drops of 39.7 and 33.7%, the totals for March show a much less dramatic drop of only 5.6%. While the March data indicates a positive trend, it could also be interpreted that the US motorcycle market has still yet to hit the bottom.

Breaking out by segments, the Dual-sport segment fared the best, with a mere 11.8% drop from comparable 2009 numbers. Off-Highway sales recorded a 20.6% drop from ’09 for Q1. On the plus side, for the month of March off-highway sales recorded a 7.6% increase from the year prior, the Dual category also bragging a modest .02% increase in sales for the month – the only two stats in the MIC report, it seems, that doesn’t have a minus sign in front of them! As for ATVs the four-wheelers were down 25.6% from last year.

On the streets, On-Highway, the largest segment which includes cruisers and all other road bikes, was down 21.6%. Only 66,322 units were sold during Q1, compared to 84,576 in 2009 (116,316 for 2008). Scooter sales, which plummeted by 59% in 2009 as a whole, dropped still further for Q1 in 2010, down 21.5%.

2010 MOTORCYCLE SALES QUARTER 1

  2010 Q1 Sales  2009 Q1 Sales  % Change 
Totals:  152,431   197,249   -22.7 
ATVs:  56,875  76,455  -25.6 
Scooter: 4,176  5,322  -21.5 
On-Hwy:   66,322  84,576  -21.6 
Dual: 5,309  6,020  -11.8 
Off-Hwy: 19,749  24,876  -20.6 

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