While we have mostly been lamenting the loss of the European motorcycle market, thanks chiefly to the Spanish and Italian economies, things here in the United States appear to be a bit tougher than was thought. While Americans contemplate whether or not we are headed into a double-dip recession, the American motorcycle market certainly seems to be headed that way.
While last year showed signs that motorcycling in the US had hit rock-bottom, and even posted very modest signs of growth, the first quarter of 2013 is anything but reassuring. With the US motorcycle market down 14.7% overall in Q1 2013, the MIC is reporting losses pretty much across the board (off-highway bike sales are more or less flat).
Breaking the US market down into categories, on-highway motorcycle sales are down 16.2% (64,706 units), scooters are down 34.6% (4,771 units), dual-sport motorcycle sales are down 14.9% (6,350 units), with only off-highway sales showing signs of life with 0.4% of sales growth(17,548 units).
The slip in sales is being attributed partially to the losses by Harley-Davidson and Polaris during the same time period, which account for a sizeable portion of the American motorcycle industries overall sales. However, the weather may be playing an even larger role, as the warmer weather earlier in the season last year likely caused an increase of Q1 sales in 2012.