While motorcycles sales in the United States continue to slip, sales in Europe continue to grow. I use that line almost every time I write about this subject – largely because it’s the truth.
The fact is that there is a fundamental difference about what is going on in the European markets versus what is going on here in the United States, and it shows in the sale data.
Reporting on the first half of the year so far, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM) says that the European motorcycle market is up 9.1%, compared to the first-half of 2018.
While the rest of the industry walks on pins and needles, the Piaggio Group is celebrating a strong first-half to the 2019 sales year, with overall unit sales up 9.2%.
That number isn’t just all Vespa scooters though (however, the Italian brand does sell quite a few of those), as Piaggio reports that its motorcycle sales saw a 14% bump in gross revenue.
The Italian conglomerate pegs the new Moto Guzzi V85 TT for the sales boom over last year, which is quite a feat since 2018 was a strong year for the Piaggio Group as well.
Sales continue to slip and fall for Harley-Davidson, as we see from the company’s second-quarter earnings report, which was was released today. Worldwide, the Bar & Shield brand saw an 8% drop in Q2 sales for 2019, when compared to Q2 2018.
This breaks down to an 8% drop in sales for the United States, with international sales showing a similar decline of 8.9%. For comparison, the relevant heavyweight motorcycle industry was down 4.9% in the USA during the same time periods.
On the dollar side of the equation, Harley-Davidson reported a net income of $195.6 million earned, from a consolidated revenue of $1.63 billion in Q2 2019.
This is nearly a 20% drop in net income, when compared to the $242.3 million that Harley-Davidson made on the $1.71 billion in consolidated revenue in Q2 2018.
This news continues an obvious trend for Harley-Davidson, as its sales continue to shrink each year, which is affecting the company’s bottom line earnings.
More sales news today, as we get word from MV Agusta that they have sold out their Brutale 1000 Serie Oro and Superveloce 800 Serie Oro motorcycles.
Both of the Serie Oro models were limited to a production run of just 300 units each, which is a pretty common way for the Italian brand to launch new models, and we can expect more obtainable “normal” versions of these two bikes to be ready for next year.
While the volume of 300 units isn’t a terribly large or surprising number, one should remember the substantial price tags that come attached to these machines. The MV Agusta Superveloce 800 Serie Oro goes for €28,000 MSRP, while the MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro astounds with its €43,000 MSRP.
Just last week, Yamaha unveiled the latest iteration of its YZF-R1 superbike, which sees a number of updates coming to the original liter-bike for the 2020 model year.
The machine is more evolution than revolution, and if we are really honest, the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 is really a refresh to keep the folks at Iwata relevant in the big-displacement sport bike category.
As such, we see changes coming to the bike’s cylinder head, airbox, and bodywork, along with updates to the software and suspension.
All of this is to ensure that the Yamaha YZF-R1 is inline with what is being offered by other brands in the superbike space.
The 2019 model year is looking good for Ducati, with the Italian brand reporting a 5% sales increase in the first quarter of this year, over the same time period in 2018.
In total, Ducati sold 12,541 motorcycles in Q1 2019, compared to the 11,949 units it moved in Q1 2018, with most segments from the Italian manufacturer showing growth.
That growth was highlighted with strong sales for Hypermotard 950, though it is bookended with the superbike segment, which saw a noticeable drop (13.5%) at the start of this year.
Harley-Davidson is reporting its first-quarter results for 2019, and as you might expect, the Bar & Shield brand continues to sink with its worldwide sales figures. As such, Harley-Davidson saw sales decrease worldwide by 3.8% in Q1 2019, with US sales down 4.2% compared to the same time last year (international sales were down 3.3%).
This news continues a trend for Harley-Davidson, as it continues to see its sales figure moving downward, which is following the overall trend in the US motorcycle industry, where sales are down 4.7% in Q1 2019.
From a relative point of view, this news is perhaps not so bad for Harley-Davidson, as it outperformed the market (though it owns a considerable size of the relevant segments), and in the process of that, the American brand picked up marketshare in its home market
This is of course the business equivalent of escaping being eaten by lion, by merely out-running the person fleeing next to you.
While motorcycle sales in the United States continue to slip, this is not the case across the pond (and in the world at large), with the European Union quoting a nearly 10% increase during 2018 in the number of motorcycles registered.
In total, 1,004,063 motorcycles were registered last year in the EU, according to the figures published by the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM). This represents an increase of 9.9% compared to the figures from 2017.
While new-bike sales in the United States continue to plummet, the Motorcycle Industry Council is reporting that overall motorcycle ownership is up in the USA.
This is because the MIC has found that 8% of the US households in 2018 had a motorcycle, according to their polling data – the most ever recorded by the MIC in decades.
The results are a modest bump from the 6.94% recorded in 2014 (the last time that the MIC did a full survey of motorcycle ownership), with 2018 showing that 10,124,400 households in the USA having a bike.
With the United States Census Bureau estimating the number of US households at 126,224,000, the MIC’s numbers come out to be 8.02% of the households.
When it comes to sales figures for 2018, it is a good news / bad news type of situation for Ducati Motor Holding.
This is because the Italian brand sold 53,004 motorcycles to customers last year, which is a 5% drop from 2017’s figures, and ends an eight-year growth streak for the brand. That’s the bad news.
The good news though is that Ducati claimed the title as the top superbike brand in the world, with 9,700 Panigale models sold in 2018. This marks a 70% increase over the 2017 figures, thanks largely to the new Panigale V4 model.
BMW Motorrad has released its yearly figures for 2018, and the report is mostly positive. Sales worldwide were up a very modest 0.9% for the year (165,566 in total unit sales), and this does mean that 2018 was the German company’s eighth year in row of growth.
The news was good for BMW Motorrad USA as well, with the American subsidiary showing a 2.2% bump in sales (13,842 units) compared to 2017, thanks primarily to the company’s introduction of the K1600 Grand America.