MIC Forecasts Motorcycle Sales Decline for 2012

03/15/2012 @ 2:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

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%.

Source: MIC

  • Jonathan

    This has the smell of a self-fulfilling prophesy. If manufacturers start battening down the hatches in preparation for lean times then sales suffer because of a lack of promotion and innovation. Customers may also hesitate to buy into a brand that they perceive to be struggling. On the upside, smaller and more innovative manufacturers may be able to make gains.

    So it looks like the Japanese are in for another rocky year.

  • The Japanese companies continues to selling millions of bikes on the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The big problem about selling motorbikes, the big ones, here in Brazil it called ‘greed’. A Fireblade in Brazil costs someone like 34,000 US Dollars. A BMW S1000RR full, 45,500 USD. A Ducati 1198, 51,660 USD. Here, honda sells almost 1 million 125cc bikes in SIX months. For us, motorcycles are a alternative for public transportation, and the streets are full of them, scooters or motorcycles.

  • MikeD

    Fred Santos said:

    “A Fireblade in Brazil costs someone like 34,000 US Dollars. A BMW S1000RR full, 45,500 USD. A Ducati 1198, 51,660 USD.”

    Boy, a my thankful for living on the old US of A….u guys are getting stab where the sun don’t shine.

    Yeah, im affraid we are gonna become more of a “MEH” market if things continue the way they are.
    No more fancy, sharp, updated hardware every so often…we have gone from main dish to a fricking glass of water on the food chain game.

    @ Jonathan:

    U, my good man…made some really cold yet valid/real points. Count me in.

  • Don’t feel too bad for him Mike, those bikes cost that much in Brazil because of the protective tariffs imposed by the Brazilian government. This is part of the reason why you’re seeing manufacturers build assembly plants in places like India, Indonesia, and Brazil. Growing economies with serious import problems.

  • Jensen, the problem isn’t only the imported bikes. The Hornet, for an example, is assembled here, and costs someone like 17.800 USD. I don’t know why.

    I’ve wanted to run on similar “Superstock” here. But, it’s a HUGE investment, considering i’m above middle class in Brazil. Only the real riches ones can buy a 600 or 1000 4cylinders. People who have an annual income above 40.000 USD/Year. My bike are an Ninja 250r.

    This is why you don’t see brazilians riders on the scene, too. It’s a “Noble” sport.

  • Wait, $40k US is uber-rich in Brazil?? I need to move.

  • RSVDan

    You sure couldn’t tell bike sales are down judging by the number of machines we are moving on a weekly basis. We are sold out of many models currently.

  • Scott F

    This doesn’t make sense. I used to forecast US automotive sales for an auto parts manufacturer, and the economic stuff that drives car/truck sales are most all looking up. It’s hard to believe that bikes, different in that they are more hobby oriented, won’t go up as well.

    It’s also kinda hard to believe that the MIC is deliberately low on this … if anything I’d think they would be optimistic.

    I’ll bet them a beer that US bike sales will be up 9 to 15% in ’12 vs ’11.

  • Jensen, man…

    40k USD/year, here in brasil, means you can buy two Chevrolet Cobalts per year. Or 3 hornets per year.

    1 dollar = 1.8 Real (Brazilian Money).

    Take Prices…
    Fireblade – 59.800 Real
    Hornet – 32,800 Real
    XJ6 – 29.900 Real
    BMW S1000RR Full – 84.000 Real
    Chevrolet Cobalt Full – 42.000 Real.

    A person with an income of 40 k dollars/year have an average of 100k real/year in Brazil. Waht means 8.350 Real/Month.
    This salary (8.350/month) means youre Class A. With this income, you can finance car, houses and good stuff. For your information, i am Graphic Designer on a medium size Advertisement Agency, and my income are 2000/month.

  • Beary

    I just like the picture of Jean-Luc. Good to see you made it so.

  • Fred Santos its right in his comments. In addition to every social problems that we have here in Brazil, our tributary tax and our interest rate are one of higher in the world. A motorcycle like Honda CB 600F Hornet here in Brazil, that´s assembled here in Manaus, receives about 35% of indusrialized product fee. Our logistics os not so efficient like in advanced countries, because our roads aren´t so good and rails and shipping isn´t developed trough for long years.

    In other words, we´ve a long way to go, but, looking back, things are better, so much better here.

  • finance

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  • Johnny_biker

    Couldn’t agree more with Fred Santos. Bike prices here in Brazil are crazy. I’m originally from Scotland but now living in Rio. Back in Scotland I ride a Ducati 749s. Just looking to buy a bike here in Rio now but the prices are nuts!!!