US Motorcycle Industry Up 3.8% in 2014

02/09/2015 @ 7:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

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The Motorcycle Industry Council has tallied the numbers from 2014, and is happy to report that the US motorcycle industry grew 3.8% last year. Participating motorcycle manufacturers reported that 483,526 two-wheelers were sold in 2014, with growth across all sectors except in scooter sales.

The off-road segment sold particularly well, seeing an almost 11% gain over 2013’s numbers, with 81,013 units going thru dealership doors. Dual-sport sales were up 3.6% with 34,497 units sold, while on-road sales were up a modest 3%, for 334,488 units sold.

2014 marks the fourth year in a row where the US motorcycle industry has grown, though today’s numbers are still a pittance to the industry’s figures from 2008 (pre-recession), of 879,910 units.

At its current rate, the US motorcycle industry will regain the sales volume seen in 2009 (520,502 units), where high gas prices helped float the industry before access to credit became non-existent.

This means the reality of the American motorcycle market is that it is a half-million unit business, a factor that influences not only the way OEMs operate in the United States, but it will also be a significant factor going forward for projects like MotoAmerica, the revived American road racing series.

With gas prices dropping to rates unseen in recent memory, and expected to stay at low figures for the foreseeable future, it will be interesting to see how this affects motorbike sales in 2015, especially in the scooter segments.

Lower gas prices typically mean more consumer spending, but they have the added effect of removing commuters’ desires for higher MPG vehicles, such as a motorcycle, or even more so, a scooter.

2014  2013 Δ %
DUAL 34,497 33,296 1201 3.6%
OFF-HWY 81,013 73,058 7955 10.9%
ON-HWY 334,488 324,684 9801 3.0%
SCOOTER 33,528 34,742 -1214 -3.5%
TOTAL 483,526 465,783 17,743 3.8%
ATV 229,552 228,305 1247 0.5%

Source: Motorcycle Industry Council; Photo: EBR

  • Piglet2010

    The obvious result of marketing to land pirates and squids, which drives away the larger potential market of people who might ride for transportation if the social negatives did not exist.

  • Desmonico

    Who are the participating manufacturers?

  • Smitchell

    Come now, Piglet…pirates and squids are ON ROAD, which accounts for the smallest portion of the growth. More like pipe and slipper ADV wannabes.

  • paulus

    The big growth is pure off-road… personally, I belong to this group. Less and less tarmac riding, more and more dirt, sand and adventure. Less insurance hassles, relatively lower speeds, equally (or more) excitement… off-road is a really great way to get your 2 wheeled kicks!

  • Elton Alwine

    Working in the industry (Suzuki/Yamaha/Kawasaki/KTM dealership) I can see the changes all around. The past few industry shows (Intl. M/C show in DC, Timonium M/C show locally) have been nicely attended. Though down from the heydays, this is the first large increase I can remember since the ’08 collapse.
    I am usually optimistic just before the season hits, but I’m more so this year. Even our Parts Dept. is up, which has been steadily seeing decrease in revenue close to 20%, has been on the upswing.
    And like paulus, we’re seeing a large leap in off-road interest in our area (Mid-Atlantic). Even with our own employees…
    I personally feel that MotoAmerica is kind of a barometer to gauge health in our industry. I’m really excited for this new series. After losing interest in AMA road racing around 2007 I’m desperate for this revival. I’m still not quite on board internet-only viewing, so I’d still love to see TV deals happen, as I’m missing a ton of racing. But I suppose it’s time I get with the times…and start purchasing online passes to MotoGP (which I use monthly passes and catch up on racing) and WSBK passes (which I also purchased monthly, then let lapse). Hopefully MotoAmerica is doing the same?

  • Walter

    It would be interesting to see the bike models that are in the various segments. For example, are the Adventure-tourer bikes in the “dual” or “on-hway” category?

  • I swear they used to list the members. It’s basically all the large OEMs: Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Harley-Davidson, EBR (I think), Ducati, Aprilia, Triumph, KTM, etc.

  • ADV bikes are on-highway. I wish the MIC broke things down by model though, several of the European councils do so, and it makes for interesting analysis.

  • Piglet2010

    BRP, even though they only make trikes?

  • Piglet2010

    Only if one has time for it, plus a truck or trailer to haul the bikes. etc. Hardly the growth potential of on-road.

  • Piglet2010

    Over 16 million cages were sold last year in the US – if the motorcycle
    manufacturers could take away 10% of that number, overall sales would
    quadruple.

    But this is not going to happen by selling ever more bloated retro-cruisers to pretend 1%MC members, or selling 190-HP Superbikes to replace 170-HP Superbikes. Yet that is where the marketing effort is going.

  • Jw

    I like facts and figures for the industry, thanks

  • crshnbrn

    Is BMW only part of “etc.”?

  • BobasBounty

    Actually, assuming adventure bikes fall into “dual” both road bikes and dual purpose bikes technically bring down the overall increase since they’re both under 3.8%. The story here is really that people are slowly regaining confidence in the economy and are finally buying more toys, AKA dirt bikes, which is the largest growth segment.

    Also, dual sports account for like 7% of overall sales. It’s still the sons of anarchy and speed racers that account for the VAST majority of sales. Adventure riding is a tough transition for motorcyclists in the US. You actually have to wear some safety equipment to not be laughed out of the local watering hole, which is a bridge too far for most “freedom murica” types.

  • Tom

    Actually, a lot of squids are IN ROAD.