Fast Motorcycle Industry News

1- Harley-Davidson and other brands motorcycle sales in the US. There is a consensus in the industry that beginning of year 2011 is much better than it has been during the last 3 years (for me too, with an increase of close to 40% in custom parts sales versus last year.) But it comes with a complete reshuffling of the way we do business. And it includes marketing, advertising, distribution, type of products, models of motorcycles and pricing. A topic I will develop in another post…

As an example of how fast things have changed very fast in the last few years, look at the US market shares of motorcycle manufacturers. For example Harley-Davidson recently reported U.S. retail sales of 42,000-plus bikes in the first quarter of 2011, which equates to roughly 50 percent of the market share of on-road motorcycles. In 2008, Harley-Davidson represented only 36% (Harley states a higher percentage because the company takes in account only heavy cruisers in its category.) Even if the overall market of new registrations would not increase in 2011 (but it is possible it will expand) Harley-Davidson US market share has increased by at least 14% in 2 years.

What is interesting to observe is the fast progression of some foreign brands in the US (Ducati, Triumph, Royal Enfield) and the getting weaker every day market shares of Japanese metric motorcycle manufacturers (not due to Tsunami.) Just check these numbers from 1st quarter of 2011 (source JAMA, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.) Total Metric exports to America (including off-road): 2008: 372,362 units, 2009: 160,655 units, 2010: 88,074 units. Total Metric exports to Canada: 2008: 37,131, 2009: 21,986, 2010: 18,177. So, it is probable that the progression of Harley market share in the US comes mainly from the ones lost by all Japanese brands.  

2- Ducati North America Motorcycle Sales Up 68% for 1st Quarter 2011. 3 Quarters in a row Ducati North America has exceeded its sales versus same quarters of the previous year. An increase of sales by 68% in the 1st quarter of 2011 is quite an outstanding result by the Italian manufacturer.  North america is now the largest export market for Ducati. The acclaimed new model the Diavel just arrived in US dealerships at the end of March and the new Monster Evo 1100 & Multistrada 1200 should continue to support strong sales throughout the end of the year.

3- Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty Eight launched In India. The Forty Eight is the latest in Harley’s Sportster range and features the tried and tested 1,200 Harley Davidson V-Twin engine. But the engine isn’t the reason why the Forty Eight is different from the other Sportsters in the Harley family. It is distinguished by its fat front tire, ow seat and retro styling, which is an eclectic mix of cafe racer and street bobber influences. The Forty Eight, like in the US is targeted at India younger riders

8 Responses to “Fast Motorcycle Industry News”

  1. 1 jonesy Apr 9th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I’m a proud Harley owner, but I wouldn’t get too jazzed on this news if I were H-D. One of the Japanese big four didn’t even import anything in I think 2010! Was it Yamaha? Just gave up on the American market completely for a year. I would guess another part of this market share action has to do with the demographic differences in customer bases. The Japs sell a lot to younger folks and they’ve been hit harder by the recession, both in the job market and in credit availability. I’ll be happy to see Harley thrive until the end of time, but let’s not forget what kind of Volume they did in 2006 and 2007. Peaked around 450,000 units I think. They’re doing better than some others and that’s great, but my, how the world has changed in the last few years.

  2. 2 bigitch Apr 9th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    in a time of high fuel prices, traffic congestion on the highways, one would think that the motorcycle industry would place ads stating what better gas mileage a motorcycle gets than a car.

    yes i know its hard to get people out of their comfort zone, but with car ads stating that they get good mileage now, the two wheel industry can follow this demographic instead of the -” it’s cool to ride a bike”- rhetoric that they have worn out and no one listens to any more.

  3. 3 Doc Robinson Apr 9th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    “Harley-Davidson US market share has increased by at least 14% in 2 years” – that is great news! Cool models such as the Nightster, the Iron and the Forty-Eight in the Sporty range are driving sales of Sportsters and my prediction is that the new Blackline Softail will be very popular. I say that after a week of test riding one in the city, the ‘burbs and the country. Go Harley-Davidson!

  4. 4 Wiz Apr 10th, 2011 at 4:17 am

    I was delivering a $82,000.,120 c.i. custom bike to a client in LA once, and was showing it to a guy at a gas station. He asked “What kind of milage does it get?” I said “If you’re spending $82,000. on a bike, you don’t CARE about milage!” YUK-YUK!! Wiz

  5. 5 Boss Hawg Apr 10th, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Trends are leveling off and turning to the positive in most areas. Exception…the banks & realtors need to STOP hiding the “shadow houses”, list them and get the housing market cleared up…I’ve been offered 2 sweet oceanfront deals at $.40 on the dollar that were built in ’08 (1 north of Daytona and another in the Panhandle), but we are holding out for $.25 on the dollar for punishment as they whine and cry.

    Our retail business began ramping up last September and has been better each month. In fact I plan to open 2 more retail stores in Florida soon.

    Boss Hawg

  6. 6 RLM Apr 10th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I believe that much of the Harley market share is with the Baby Boomers who are getting ready to retire and are finally buying the Hog they always wanted. That is due to not only their ability to purchase one, but also due to Harley lowering their prices into a more affordable range. I had 4 Honda’s and one Yamaha until last year when I was finally able to afford the one I long wanted. It went from a sellers market to a buyers market. I retired and was finally able to get the Hog of my choice and pay for it as a retirement gift to myself. In prior years, not only was Harley too expensive, but they always wanted me to jump through a bunch of hoops to join their club. I don’t jump through hoops and I don’t pay way over suggested retail for bikes. Harley finally decided to make itself available to the common working person and sales started taking off. I know they finally earned my business

  7. 7 David Apr 10th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Do you guys think that increase might be do to the fact that everyone else has gone out of business, ie: big dog.

    SSDD; David

  8. 8 Wiz Apr 11th, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Last summer ‘an ol’ boy on a brand spankin’ new Harley Hertiage Softail pulled out in front of me [safely]. His licence plate read in big letters “FINALLY”. Nuff said! Wiz

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Cyril Huze