Motorcycle Sales Hold Steady for 2011

January 20, 2012
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.

Motorcycle Industry Council
The 2011 motorcycle sales estimates from the Motorcycle Industry Council is in, with annual unit sales holding steady at 440,000.

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has released its preliminary 2011 motorcycle sales. The good news: motorcycle sales haven’t declined from 2010. The bad news: they haven’t gone up either. The MIC reports 440,899 total motorcycle sales for 2011, up 0.3% from 2010’s unit tally. ATV sales, on the other hand, continue the downward sales trend, dropping 13.5% in 2011.

The motorcycle market shows gains and losses within the various segments. The largest sector, on-highway motorcycles, recorded a 1.8% increase over last year at 312,124 units. The boom and bust scooter market benefited with an 11.8% gain at 31,850 units. The biggest winner, however, was the dual segment which jumped 14.2% for the year, gaining 3337 units.

Off-Highway motorcycle sales mirrored the fate of their four-wheeled dirt friends. OHV bikes dropped 13.5% on the year, losing 10,905 units from the 2010 tally of 80,962. Combined with the ATV market, more than 45K OHV unit sales were lost on the year.

The dire OHV news is tempered, somewhat, by UTV sales which appear to have gone up in 2011. (At the Kawasaki Dealer Meeting the Japanese OEM forecast UTV annual unit sales would surpass ATV for the first time). UTV sales are not factored into MIC sales data.

The 2011 total and its 440K annual motorcycle sales mark shows stabilizing of a market that crashed following the economic crisis in late 2008. Total motorcycle unit sales topped 1.1 million in 2008 (the sixth consecutive year sales had topped the million unit mark). Motorcycle sales plummeted 40.8% in 2009, followed by a further 15.8% decline in 2010.

A final 2011 sales tally should improve. The MIC tabulates monthly sales data by reports from its member manufacturers: BMW, Can-Am, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, the Piaggio Group, Victory, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha. A later estimate of total year sales is published in a statistical annual, which accounts for non-reporting manufacturers. 

  2011           2010           Change      %Change
DUAL  26,868  23,531  3,337  14.2%
OFF-HWY  70,057  80,962   -10,905   -13.5% 
ON-HWY  312,124  306,702  5,422  1.8% 
SCOOTER  31,850  28,483  3,367  11.8% 
TOTAL  440,899  439,678  -1,221  0.3% 
ATV  222,032  256,750  -34,718  -13.5%