How Is that rebounding economy treating you? If you work in the motorcycle industry, probably not so well according to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s latest sales report, which highlights sales from the first-quarter of 2014. Down 0.2% (or 118 units) from Q1 2013, the slight decline over last year’s numbers are primarily due to a 10.7% sales drop in scooter sales.
Dual-sport motorcycles were up 3.9% (7,644 units), with on-road bikes holding at 0.9% growth (65,301 units). Dirt bike sales were down 2.7% during the same three-month time period (16,597 units).
In total, 94,524 two-wheel vehicles were sold in the US (94,772 units were sold in Q1 2013) according to the MIC, which tracks Can-Am, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio Group, Victory, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha.
The news is troubling for the US motorcycle industry, as Q1 2013 was an especially bad quarter for the US motorcycle industry. However, overall yearly sales have clearly stabilized since the Great Recession, but they still have worryingly not bounced back yet either, as had been hoped.
The only two-wheeled segment that has shown signs of growth has been the enduro market, though one could argue that the changes there are do in part to the crack down of pure off-road vehicles at the state and federal level, with buyers buying dual-sport machines in order to side-step regulations.
They say misery loves company, so there is some solace in the fact that the US economy was especially weak in the first-quarter of this year as well. To that end, the US Commerce Department says that the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew only 0.1% in the first three months of 2014.
With American buyers still feeling the pressure of the economy, and US motorcycle sales still dependent on consumer discretionary income, we should perhaps not be surprised by the MIC’s findings. Here’s to hoping for a more prosperous summer, for everyone.