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Euro motorcycle industry reports grim sales results halfway through 2020

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2020-Ducati-Multistrada-1260-GT.jpg

The numbers are in, and they aren’t good. The Euro motorcycle manufacturers have mostly released their financial reports at the end of 2020’s second quarter, and everybody has seen a double-digit slide in sales (with one exception, maybe).

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is the reason for all the doom and gloom. Manufacturers across Europe were forced to close factories and dealerships because of the coronavirus, and also faced supply chain issues. If you can’t build motorcycles, and you can’t put them in showrooms, then you can’t sell them.

Ducati is the latest company issuing its numbers at the end of Q2; the Italian manufacturer says its motorcycle sales dropped 24 percent year-over-year in 2020’s second quarter, when compared to 2019’s numbers. Surprisingly, the company’s supermoto/adventure bike category saw the biggest slide, dropping 38.14 percent from the year before. The best performer? Ducati’s naked bike category, which only dropped 7.87 percent, says Asphalt & Rubber.

Ducati follows a pattern set by KTM and BMW, which also released Q2 follow-up reports recently. As Asphalt & Rubber reports, KTM says it’s only had an 8 percent drop in sales for the first half in 2020, compared to 2019. However, when you compare the number of KTM/Husqvarna/GasGas motorcycles sold in 2020 versus the number of KTM/Husqvarna motorcycles sold in the first half of 2019, there’s actually a 33 percent drop. KTM’s managers achieved their rosier numbers by including e-bike sales in their figures.

What about BMW? The German manufacturer reported a 17.7 percent drop in year-over-year sales for the first half of 2020, but says sales are picking up quickly now that pandemic fears are losing strength.

We have not seen any numbers from Triumph so far, as its ownership structure makes it less interested in sharing those sorts of details. However, if everyone else is seeing a double-digit slump, it would be reasonable to assume Hinkley is seeing the same, especially when you consider the company’s layoffs.

Overall, it’s hard to say how the rest of the year will go; some markets have plenty of riding season left (California) and some are approaching fall, and a traditional seasonal lull in sales (New York). The word on the street from North American dealers is, dirt bike sales are red-hot this year, with mixed results for street bikes. Considering the difficulty some dealers are having with their supply chain, it might be hard for sales numbers to recover, if they’re not being sent motorcycles to sell. The good news is, manufacturers do seem to be moving new models forward now, and that will go a long way towards rekindling interest in motorcycling as we sort out the solutions to the coronavirus pandemic.

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