The untold story of the global economic collapse, Honda was on a worrisome three-year downward spiral during the recession. Posting sales of 453,000, 320,000, & 189,000 powersport units in 2008, 2009, and 2010 respectively, Honda’s 2011 fiscal year sales figure of 200,000 units posts a 8.1% gain for the Japanese company, and a new healthier trajectory.

Helping the company turn that corner, Honda has reported that its Q1 2012 (Q4 2011 fiscal) sales were up 39% over last year’s figures. Selling 53,000 powersports models in the last three months, Honda is projecting that its 2012 fiscal year will see 255,000 units in North American.

Worldwide, Honda had its best first quarter ever, in terms of sales. Pumping out 3.456 million motorcycles worldwide in Q1 2012, Big Red is up 18% over Q1 2011 (it is important to note that Honda includes scooters, ATV’s, and side-by-sides in its “motorcycle” figures). With Asia accounting for 2.741 million of the units sold in Q1 (79% of total sales), it is clear to see where the growth opportunities in the industry are located. Honda’s worldwide motorcycle sales topped 12.559 million units for the 2011 fiscal year.

With this increase in sales, it should not be surprising to hear that Honda motorcycle incomes were up 4.7%, netting $16.766 billion. However, Honda’s balance sheet as a whole was down for the fiscal year, with the company reporting only $2.627 billion in total net income, thanks mainly to struggling automotive and power parts businesses that were affected by last year’s earthquake and tsunami.

Source: Honda America & Honda Worldwide

  • Westward

    Aside from scooters, I wonder how much of it can be attributed to their 250R…

  • Damo


    The wife just bought one. Can’t miss with a 71 mpg little sport bike for a starter. I have been seeing them pop up quite a bit. Right time right price point for Honda, me thinks.

    I almost pulled the trigger on a brand new Fireblade after I crashed my poor aprilia Mille *sniff*, but I tracked down a mint condition 2005 RC51 SP2 and grabbed that instead.

  • MikeD

    Any way to know what models are making the fat part of those numbers ?
    I must say, im a Honda HATER, for most of the time…but im glad they are staying alive and improving their situation. REALLY HOPE the others get their shiznit straight…or improve a little like Honda. Man, i really miss those days when SuperBikes were completely overhauled every 2 years…aaahhh, i think it’ll never be like that again…at least for a really LONG time.

    @Damo: Feel for you.

  • Damo


    Thanks man. I was gutted. I found the aprilia 2 winters ago for only $3400! It was was a 2003 RSV Mille and it was in pretty mint shape. When I crashed it I priced out used parts to fix it and it would have hit my wallet for about $2900. I decided to cut the aprilia loos for $1000 in parts and bought the RC51.

    Overall I love the RC51, always wanted an SP2. If honda would just quit bullshitting and come out with a V4 superbike, maybe they would get one more sale!

  • Westward

    A friend of mine let me ride his RC51 around the block, and let me tell you, it was the most nerve racking meters I ever rode, especially since the bike was near mint condition… I know what you are going through, and hope you enjoy your new to you bike…

  • Westward

    Cause that bike is not for everyone….

  • Paul McM

    “Honda’s worldwide motorcycle sales topped 12.559 million units for the 2011 fiscal year.”

    If I read that report correctly, and we divide 200,000 US-market motorcycle sales by total units worldwide, then the USA market is only 1.6% of Honda’s global motocycle sales.

    One point six percent. No wonder we don’t get all the good stuff!

    That 1.6% figure is astonishing and it clearly shows the declining role of the United States in the global economy.

    I hope Honda’s bean-counters don’t write off the American market altogether. It’s hard to justify the expense of marketing, lawyers, model certification, and dealer support for 1.6% of total sales.

  • Westward

    The US probably buys as may Honda motorcycles as europe or asia does. It’s not that the US doesn’t buy enough motorcycles, it’s more that Americans don’t buy enough scooters, and the rest of the world buys millions of them.

  • BBQdog


    I am a Honda hater (and italo/Aprilia/Ducati fan) myself and surprised myself last year buying a CBR 250 R. Not much wrong with the bike, nice price, nice finish. Nice riding position, fuel economics, brakes, ABS, 6 gears etc. Don’t like the looks and it is 25kg too heavy for a 250.

    The problem is I can’t by an Aprilia RS4 250 (still got a mint condition RS 125 2008 in the garage)
    or some other sport/nimble 250. Probarbly will swap the CBR 250 R for a KTM Duke 350 next year or the KTM Moto3 350cc the year after. I only ride on little backroads and have no use for 100+ BHP bikes.

  • Damo


    I am with you there. I got the RC51 because it is my favorite bike Japan even made. It is one of those bikes that haunt you until you own one and get it out of your system.

    I usually prefer Italian and British bikes, buy I am REALLY interested in the KTM Moto3 350cc. If anyone can make a sporty single correctly, we know it’s KTM. I am just glad they are bringing it to the states, although I wish they would bring the damn 690 Duke too.

  • mxs

    Very few of you would have paid Honda price for new V4 street superbike. Which means they will never come with one, for their own sake.

    The same with any small I4 bikes, like CBR250RR back in a day. As labour expensive to put together as modern 600RR, so not enough people would buy them at slightly less prices than 600cc I4. It’s really that simple.

  • MikeD


    I almost bought one too, not many moons ago when i was on my late 20’s. But the better part of my brain and wallet told me not to.
    I think im glad i didn’t, because even with my current “relaxed compared to a sport bike” ride[SV1000N] i feel i want something more upright and comfy [i see one of those BIG DS in my future]…not to mention there’s no curves, canyons, good roads, etc in S.Florida…really no sense to own it…unless u gotta have it, wich im cool with anyways.


    I think u pretty much nailed it, but i would like to add besides scooters each and every model under 250cc they make overseas and we don’t even know it exists.


    +1 on the V4 Halo superbike. On the real world it would be pretty hard to justify it…and Honda being Honda i doubt they’ll price it anywhere close to their current CBR cash Cows…or is that EX cash Cows ?

    A “fun size”[250] CBR-RR wouldn’t sell here anyways…the land of “BIGGER & HEAVIER=BETTER”.
    + your argument makes a good point too…smaller components don’t necesarily translate as less cost at the end to both the builder and end consumer, if anything more of a pain in the arse to put togheter and completely not be interchangeable with the other models on the line-up. Just thinking out loud from the lowest part of my back. LOL.

  • Damo


    I am in the same boat at this point. I love my RC51 and I am very pleased with it, but being that I am a 8000+ mile a year rider this may be my last full race rep I buy. Next trip to the dealer is going to be for a naked liter bike of some sort.

  • Gavin

    Honda topped road bike sales here in New Zealand this last summer (Northern hemisphere winter) by quite a margin after dumping a heap of old stock they hadn’t been able to move. This is a first for Honda who normally trail behind Suzuki in this market segment and I wonder how widespread this tactic has been? As a motorcycle dealer, I suspect they will suffer in the next couple of years as I’m sure a number of those sales will have been to potential buyers who couldn’t pass up such a golden opportunity and purchased early. Who could blame them with savings of up to NZ$12,000 to made!