As we saw with the Ducati Motor Holding’s sales report from earlier today, 2020 was an obviously tough year for the motorcycle industry, and that trend continues with the BMW Motorrad’s results for the year.

In its preliminary report on the BMW Group’s annual sales, the German brand quotes that it sold 169,272 motorcycles and scooters to customers in 2020.

Despite BMW Motorrad spinning this as its second-best sales year ever, this number of bikes sold is a 3.6% drop compared to 2019’s sales volume, and it is the first time in nine years that sales for BMW Motorrad have not grown.

The beancounters are working hard to close the books on 2020, which means we are starting to see our first reports on the total economic situation from last year.

With factory closures, disrupted supply chains, and stay-at-home orders featuring heavily in the first-half of the year, the coronavirus decimated motorcycle sales worldwide.

Then, the second-half of the year saw a huge bump in two-wheel interest, buoyed by economic relief efforts, delayed sales trends, and a renewed interest in the ultimate social-distancing machine.

This makes for a grab bag of perspectives when it comes to motorcycles sales, and nothing could be more true than what Ducati Motor Holding is reporting today.

Episode 40 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and this one comes to us deep, deep within the Brap Talk vault of lost podcast episodes.

Recorded alllllll the way back on a trouble August afternoon, the show isn’t exactly talking about the latest and greatest news, but we thought it would be fun to listen to Jensen and Shahin prattle on, knowing full well the outcomes of some of their predictions and thoughts.

Harley-Davidson continues to hemorrhage motorcycle unit sales in 2020, with the Bar & Shield brand reporting an 8% loss worldwide on its third-quarter numbers.

This Q3 result means that Harley-Davidson is down 18% for the first nine months of the year, compared to the same point in time as last year.

The news isn’t all bad however, as Harley-Davidson is also reporting that the net income for the third-quarter was up 39% for a total of $120 million – the company’s highest Q3 income since 2015.

2020 continues to be a tough year for motorcycle sales, though it comes with the silver lining that brands have seen a strong summer and early fall in terms of customers buying bikes.

Today, we see early sales numbers from BMW Motorrad typifying that trend, as the German brand is reporting big gains for Q3 2020, to the tune of 20.9% (52,892 units sold to customers).

That good news is tempered by the bigger picture though, as BMW Motorrad is still off the mark for the year so far, having sold only 129,599 motorcycles in the first nine months of 2020 – a 5.4% drop compared to this time last year.

Motorcycle sales in the United States have had a tumultuous year so far, starting Q1 off with a 9% sales decline from 2019. That figure didn’t tell the whole story though, as not all segments were reacting similarly to the coronavirus lockdown.

While street bike sales were down 23%, off-road bikes were up an astounding 30% (dual-sport sales split the difference, and were down 5% for the first quarter).

That dichotomy has continued onward as 2020 marched on, with the MIC now reporting that dirt bike sales continued to impress this year with a 50.3% gain, when tallying the first six months of the year.

As more quarterly reports come in, we continue to see the trend that the global motorcycle industry is down by double digits for the year, and today’s numbers from Ducati Motor Holding continue to show that trend.

Reporting a 24.2% drop in sales worldwide for the first half of 2020, we also learn that Ducati sales were down 24.6% for Q2 2020.

While those numbers are nearly identical, diving into the model segments and quarterly results provides some intriguing data.

The second quarter sales results for Harley-Davidson are in, and once again the American brand is seen floundering with its sales, not only in the United States, but also abroad.

For Q2 2020, Harley- Davidson sees its American sales dropping by 27% compared to Q2 2019 – the same can be said of Harley-Davidson’s worldwide sales for the same time period, which fell by the same percentage.

Added to the already lackluster results from the first quarter of the year, Harley-Davidson sales have sunk 22% for the first-half of the year, with worldwide sales diving 23% so far this year, compared to last.

While the MIC and the motorcycle industry at large tries to spin a narrative where motorcycle sales are thriving throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the cold and hard numbers don’t lie, and they paint a different story. Today is a continuation of that trend.

Case in point, we have the mid-year sales report from Pierer Mobility, the company behind the KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas brands, and for the first six months of 2020, the Austrian group is touting only a modest (for the times) sales decline of 8% compared to last year.

That would be a decent and expected figure, considering the turbulent year with the coronavirus, if it wasn’t a complete fabrication and a contradiction to the company’s own reported sales numbers.

That motorcycle sales are down because of the coronavirus lockdown seems like an obvious thing to state. Just for clarity though, American motorcycle sales through the first four months of the year are down 9% compared to last year.

Truthfully, that number is far less than we were predicting here at Asphalt & Rubber, and there is a good reason for that. While the COVID-19 scare has decimate on-road sales (-23%) and scooter sales (-24%), this has not been the case for off-road motorcycles sales totals, which are up 30%.

Even dual-sports seem to be buoyed by having a tire in the dirt, with sales reported to be down only 5% during the same time period.

Looking deeper into the dual-sport numbers though appears to give an insight on this odd dichotomy between street and dirt sales in the motorcycle industry.

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