New-Unit Retail Sales Plunge 36 Percent in Q4

Publish Date: 
Jan 20, 2009
By Arlo Redwine

BESEIGED BY the economic crisis that began in mid-September, the powersports market high-sided in the fourth quarter.

Using reports issued by the Motorcycle Industry Council, Dealernews calculates that in the last three months of 2008, dealers retailed 36 percent fewer motorcycles, ATVs and scooters made by the 19 manufacturers that report numbers.

The MIC today announced a 16 percent decline in new-unit sales for the year (see table below for a full rundown). In comparison, new-unit sales were down only about 8 percent at midyear, thanks mostly to sales precipitated by high gas prices. The percentage decline jumped to 11 percent for the first nine months of the year, indicating things were getting worse even before the credit crunch.

This is the second year in a row that the MIC has reported a double-digit decline. Overall new-unit sales fell 10 percent in 2007. The decline was just 1 percent in 2006.

The MIC posts numbers on a quarterly basis. The data applies only to 19 reporting manufacturers: Aprilia, Arctic Cat, BMW, Buell, Can-Am, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Husaberg, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, Polaris, Suzuki, Triumph, Vespa, Victory and Yamaha.

ATV sales do not include side-by-sides.