The MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) is reporting that total motorcycle sales through September 2010 are down 124,366 units from the same time period last year. Sales in all categories are down: On-Highway, Off-Highway, Scooters, and Dual-Sports.
The largest drop (-21%) is being experienced in the Off-Highway category, which comprises off-road motorcycles and dirt bikes. This is no surprise, as the bikes are largely recreational and therefore more subject to economic conditions. If you count ATVs as motorcycles, then the trend continues in this category. All-terrain vehicle sales are down nearly 24% from 2009. Another factor in decreased Off-Hwy sales may be the continued closure of more riding lands and properties. Many people have anxieties that the off-road motorcycle industry may not recover from the combined forces of government regulation and economic depression.
Interestingly, the category seeing the smallest decrease in sales is scooters (-11%). This may reflect the affordable cost of these machines, as well as their common use as a commuting and fuel-saving tool.
In total, motorcycle sales are down just over 18%. Another contributing factor is the increased difficulty in financing a bike. It is now much more difficult than ever to qualify for motorcycle financing, especially if you are a high-risk applicant. Luckily, most motorcycle insurance companies are still going strong, extending coverage to the vast majority of applicants.