Sales for all motorcycles fell 15.8 percent in the US last year, according to figures released by the Motorcycle Industry Council. Just 439,678 on- and off-highway motorcycles were sold in this country in 2010. While that may sound like the decline is slowing from 2009’s dismal 40.8 percent fall, the big picture looks bleak — in 2005 motorcycle sales peaked at nearly 1.1 million, this year’s results return us to 1998 levels.
Various manufacturers are releasing claims of increased market shares or announcing Q4 sales totals that increased year-on-year. All that seems to be a case of putting positive spin on what remain extremely negative results. A bigger piece of a smaller pie is still less dessert.
The only established manufacture we know of to post an increase in 2010 was Ural — up 39 percent — but even that is still down compared to 2008 sales levels and represents only a tiny drop in even a 440,000 sale bucket.
Where will the decline end? Maybe this summer’s predicted record high fuel prices will help reverse the trend, but it’s likely going to take a long time to see sales return to even 2008 levels, much less see them recover to the 1 million + numbers seen in the middle of last decade.