The Motorcycle Industry Council’s Business Advisory & Forecast group has issued a report that predicts a sales decline in the US new motorcycle market for 2012. The news comes fresh on the heels of the 0.3% gain that the motorcycle industry’s leading brands experienced in 2011 in the American market, and is the first time that the MIC has forecasted future new motorcycle sales for the United States.
Adding some validity to the report is the fact that the MIC, in conjunction with the Institute for Trend Research, accurately predicted 2011’s modest sales growth. This news is interesting to note, as it goes counter to news about the recovering economy and the increased national average gasoline price, both of which have been linked to previous bumps in volume for motorcycle sales.
Noting that fuel-efficient vehicles did well in 2011, scooter sales in the US were up 11.8% last year, and dual-sport sales were up 14.2%. The MIC is not releasing all of its numbers right now though, and says a detailed report about this first quarter’s new motorcycle sales for the industry’s largest OEMs will be released on April 20th.
“While our market stayed essentially flat last year, unemployment numbers and stagnant incomes are making consumers more cautious about large purchases,” said MIC President Tim Buche. “Even with low interest rates making this a great time to buy for many people, overall economic uncertainty is leading us to predict we’ll have fewer sales in 2012.”
One last piece of interesting information is reports of increased tire purchases, which suggests that motorcycle owners have been riding their motorcycles more often, likely for commuting purposes. The MIC’s Motorcycle Tire Sales Report shows that replacement tire purchases, among the eight leading brands, rose 9.6% in 2011. And interestingly enough, even off-highway tire sales increased by 11.7% last year — the same time period that saw sales of new off-highway motorcycles declining by more than 13%.