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Just picture it. You are BMW, and you made the S1000RR superbike, the machine that completely changed the game in the liter-bike market. And now, you are about to crank things to 11, with an all carbon fiber version of this wickedly popular motorcycle.

Perhaps the best track bike ever created, the BMW HP4 Race makes an honest 212hp at the crank, weighs 378 lbs…fully fueled at the curb, and it has all the top-shelf components you can dream of, all of which are bolted onto the carbon fiber frame, carbon fiber swingarm, and carbon fiber fairings.

A thoroughbred. A true race bike, by DNA. The astounding thing about the BMW HP4 Race is that it is more than the sum of its parts, which is saying something because the parts are simply the best that the motorcycle industry has to offer.

I know this because I got to spend a lucky five laps on the BMW HP4 Race at Laguna Seca, courtesy of BMW Motorrad USA, and while that duration is far too short to give any sort of meaningful feedback about this track-only superbike, the BMW HP4 Race is exactly what you think it is: an S1000RR taken to the next level.

So then, why has the BMW HP4 Race been a colossal failure in the United States? Because it most certainly is.

More doom and gloom for the motorcycle industry, as Ducati Motor Holdings sales are slumping for the 2018 model year. Selling 32,250 motorcycles so far this year, the Italian brand is short 7.4% the volume it sold this time last year. To translate unit sales into fiat currency, the 32,250 motorcycles sold equals €448 million in revenue going into Audi’s coffers. Of note, Ducati’s revenue contribution to Audi AG accounts for 1.4% of the automaker’s total revenue. For the second quarter of this year, Ducati sales were down 8.9% compared to Q2 2017. This means that 20,319 Ducati motorcycles were sold in Q2 2018, compared to the 22,300 sold in Q2 2017. All segments for Ducati are down, except for its “Sport” category (SuperSport and Superbike models), which is up 29%.

The second-quarter sales results from OEMs continue to roll in, and another brand is showing a decline, this time it is BMW Motorrad. Usually one of the stronger brands, in terms of yearly and quarterly growth, the Germans are reporting a 3.1% sales decline for Q2 2018.

In total, BMW Motorrad sold 51,117 units worldwide, compared to the 52,753 units it sold during the same time period last year. In terms of money, this sales drop means a corresponding 5.8% decline in revenue (€658 million) and a 6..8% decline in profits before tax (€174 million).

This is also translating into a 1.6% sales decline (by unit volume) for the first half of the year, with only 86,975 motorcycles and scooters sold to customers. This has resulted in a 10.1% revenue drop (€1,182 million), and a profit decrease of 23.7% (€196 million).

The American motorcycle industry continues to soften, as Harley-Davidson has reported its Q2 2018 sales were down 6.4% in the United States. That loss translated into a noticeable drop in Harley-Davidson’s total sales, which were down 3.6% for Q2, though it should be noted that international sales were in fact up, 0.7% over the same time period. This translates into 46,490 Harley-Davidson motorcycles sold in the USA for Q2, with 78,428 bikes sold in total around the world. For the first half of the year though, sales results for Harley-Davidson are looking even worse. For the first six months of 2018, Harley-Davidson sold 129,514 motorcycles worldwide, of which 75,799 were sold in the United States. This equates to a 5.1% drop in sales globally, with an 8.7% drop in USA sales for the first six months of 2018.

Energica Motor Company S.p.A is reporting record sales results for the first-half of 2018, though the Italian brand is mum when it comes to disclosing actual sales numbers.

Thus making this a nebulous announcement, Energica says that its revenues have increased five-fold in the first half of 2018, compared to the same time period last year.

Sales are so good in fact, Energica says that the first six months of 2018 have already grossed twice as much as 2017 in its entirety.

With many doubting the sales efficacy of Energica and its three-bike lineup though, this news might not carry considerable weight. To its credit though, Energica has been making a strong sales push in 2018, thanks largely to its involvement in the MotoGP Championship.

Episode 78 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and in it we talk about an omnibus list of topics.

As such, the show begins with some racing news, both for the Isle of Man TT and for the World Superbike Championship, with a conversation about Bosch’s safety thruster technology stuffed somewhere in-between those topics.

The conversation then turns to some timely news, namely the continued rumors that Honda is readying a V4 superbike, MV Agusta is building a Moto2 bike, Ducati will return to Pikes Peak, and Alta Motors entering the Erzberg Rodeo.

We then shift gears into a long conversation about the rising trend of motorcycle fatalities, when compared to total on-road vehicle deaths.

The show finishes with a look at how profitable halo superbikes can be for motorcycle manufacturers, and how that could be the future of sport bike sales.

You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: twoenthusiasts@gmail.com.

Here is a common joke that you will often hear: “How do you make a small fortune in the motorcycle industry? Start with a large one.” Well, the next time you hear the lead-up, here is a new punchline for you: “Sell a limited edition model.” Motorcycle manufacturers have been onto this gag for a while now, offering limited edition, numbered for collectors, pure unobtanium motorcycle models to the well-heeled masses. There may not be that many people that can afford a motorcycle that costs as much as a modest house, but there enough of these people in the world that selling a couple hundred expensive superbikes a year is a pretty trivial feat – it helps too that many of these enthusiasts are return-customers too.

Episode 77 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and in it we talk about our trip to Austin, Texas for the MotoGP race, as well as some news items we’ve missed in all our travels.

Most notably, we talk about the Krämer HKR EVO2 R track/race bike from Germany, which uses a 690cc single-cylinder engine from KTM inside a bespoke steel trellis frame.

The bike makes 80hp, inside a 280 lbs package, and has been quite the talk of our local road racing club. Once the drool has been mopped up, we change gears at look at what is going on inside the motorcycle industry.

As you can expect, it is not good news. But, the landscape is rapidly changing, and our conversation turns to how manufacturing is about to change dramatically for the motorcycle industry.

Somewhere along the way too, we talk about Erik Buell’s latest project. Overall though, the show is quite interesting and we think you will enjoy it.

You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: twoenthusiasts@gmail.com.

Motorcycle sales in the United States might be tanking, but things are looking fairly positive across the pond in Europe, as the ACEM reports a 4.7% increase in motorcycle sales for Q1 2018, for a total of 203,853 units sold in the first three months of this year. The increase in sales is due to key markets like France (+9.1%), Germany (+1.9%), and the UK (+7.4%) showing good growth, compared to Q1 2017. However, not all the European countries are showing increases in motorcycle sales, with the Czech Republic (-17.3%), Poland (-28.7%), and Austria (-18.9%) pulling the sales growth figure down considerably. Not all segments are growing too. While the big bikes are seeing sales increases, European sales for mopeds are down considerably for Q1 2018 (40.2%), to the tune of a 24,996 unit sales decline over last year.

After a dismal 2017, there was some hope at the start of 2018 that the US motorcycle industry would begin an upward climb. The industry seemed enthused and optimistic, though no one could pinpoint why they felt that way during our talks with executives and insiders. Now, it seems that positive energy was simply that…nothing tangible, as the first results from Q1 2018 are beginning to trickle out of OEM headquarters. First up, Harley-Davidson. Releasing its Q1 2018 report, Harley-Davidson is reporting a global decrease in sales to the tune of a 7.2% drop compared to its 2017 figures, which breaks down into a 12% drop for the US market, with the international market flat at 0.2% in positive growth.