The beancounters are working hard to close the books on 2020, which means we are starting to see our first reports on the total economic situation from last year.
With factory closures, disrupted supply chains, and stay-at-home orders featuring heavily in the first-half of the year, the coronavirus decimated motorcycle sales worldwide.
Then, the second-half of the year saw a huge bump in two-wheel interest, buoyed by economic relief efforts, delayed sales trends, and a renewed interest in the ultimate social-distancing machine.
This makes for a grab bag of perspectives when it comes to motorcycles sales, and nothing could be more true than what Ducati Motor Holding is reporting today.
Down 9.7% in 2020 compared to the numbers from 2019, in any other year, Ducati’s worldwide sales figures would be a devastating drop. Of course, 2020 was nowhere near a normal year.
This is because Ducati still managed to have its best second-half of the year sales results ever in the company’s history (a feat we expect many two-wheeled brands to claim for 2020).
“2020 was a complex year in many ways and a whole new challenge for everyone in the world,” said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.
“Inevitably, it ended in a different way than we would have liked, but Ducati was able to make the most of the recovery trend of the two-wheel market that began in June, achieving an excellent second half of the year with a result that was better than we had expected back in March.”
“By redefining working methods and processes we managed to maintain the safety of our employees, to stay close to the fans and to consolidate the Ducati brand in the world by growing in some markets such as China. We also won the Constructors’ World Title in MotoGP for the second time in our history.”
Ducati made gains in several markets in 2020, including in one the largest two-wheeled markets in Europe, Germany. As such, Ducati posted a 6.7% sales gain with 5,490 units sold.
China was the biggest win for Ducati though, with sales up 26% (4,041 units sold). China is expected to be Ducati’s largest market within the next 5 years, and even the coronavirus doesn’t seem to be slowing that progress.
For now though, Italy remains Ducati’s largest market, with 7,100 units sold, but when looking at last year’s posting, means that Ducati’s home turf took a massive 27% hit.
Ducati Motor Holding makes no mention about US sales figues, but one would expect bleak news if it is being left out of Ducati’s sales press release.
We do know that on the whole, the United States saw a similar trend of lackluster sales in Q1 and Q2, with a boom in Q3 and Q4 of 2020, but it was primarily off-road and dual-sport models that benefitted from that trend, with street bike sales suffering throughout the year.
Ducati reports that its best selling family of bikes was the Scrambler series, with 9,265 units sold. Diving into the numbers though, we see that this represents a 22% sales drop for Ducati’s throwback brand.
The Italians also boast that the Ducati Streetfighter V4 was the top single model seller, with 5,730 units sold in 2020.
Those numbers, when taken together, do not bode good things for Ducati’s Monster sales, but we won’t know the full outcome on Ducati’s various families of bikes until Audi’s annual report, which is expected in March of this year.
All being said, 2020 was a devastating year for Ducati (and the entire motorcycle industry as a whole), but it certainly could have been much worse. It will be interesting to see how the rebound in 2021 proceeds.