2011 Q1 Motorcycles Sales Up 7%

April 26, 2011
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.

Finally, some good news for motorcycle sales: The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) reports a 7.2% increase for sales through the first quarter of 2011. The positive Q1 results mark the first positive sales data in more than two years. It also suggests the market may have finally bottomed at the end of 2010 and is now on the rebound.

Motorcycle Industry Council
With the release of its December sales report, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) shows a 7.2% increase in overall motorcycle sales through the first quarter of 2011.

Total motorcycle sales for Q1 were up 6851 at 102,547. Fueling the surge, scooters were the most buoyant market segment by percentage increase. Scooter sales rose 49.6% or 2000 units, compared with 2010 Q1 data. Scooter sales are traditionally bolstered by a rise in gas prices, which have once again topped $4/gallon throughout much of the United States. Another highlight are dual-sport sales, up 1311 units, which equates to a 24.3% gain. The general on-highway segment, which includes cruisers and street/sportbike models, reached 70,879 units in Q1, a 6.9% increase.

But not all the news is good, as the off-road segment continued to decline. The off-highway segment dropped another 5.5%. ATV sales were even harder hit, down 16.1%. The MIC ATV sales do not, however, include the sales of popular UTV side-by-side models.

After enjoying year over year growth since the turn of the century, motorcycle sales began to wane in 2008. The economic crisis during the fall of 2008 saw the market collapse, with sales down 40.8% in 2009. Sales dropped another 15.8% from those dismal ’09 totals in 2010. While the positive trend of the 2011 Q1 data is encouraging, industry sales will have to boom to approach pre-2008 levels, which crested one million units annually.

The MIC collects its 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.

  2011           2010           Change      %Change
DUAL  6697  5386  1311  24.3%
OFF-HWY  18,725  19,812  -1087  -5.5% 
ON-HWY  70,879  66,322  4557  6.9% 
SCOOTER  6246  4176  2070  49.6% 
TOTAL  102,547  95,696  6851  7.2% 
ATV  47,702  56,875  -9173  -16.1%