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Why You Shouldn’t Rejoice at 2021 Motorcycle Sales Figures

You Have To Read Between The Lines

LISTEN 03:08

Manufacturers around the world are posting impressive sales gains in 2021 over the same period in 2020. These can be slightly misleading, however, due to the enormous differences in trading conditions from last year to this but the increases could be seen as a return of consumer confidence and a desire to just get on with life once again.

The figures are impressive until you read between the lines

Why You Shouldn't Rejoice at 2021 Motorcycle Sales Figures
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KTM
A massive 95% increase worldwide in 2021, with an increase of 160% in the US!

Many motorcycle manufacturers are posting enormous sales figure increases over the same period of 2020. But these have to be taken with a pinch of salt and do not necessarily represent real increases.

Harley Davidson, KTM and Ducati have all posted significant increases in Q1 and Q2 of 2021 compared to the same periods in 2020. But, of course they would: do they think we have forgotten what happened at the beginning of 2020?

Just in case you might have short-term memory loss, world trading in every single sector you can think of was decimated as the world effectively shut down as the Corona Virus spread quicker than a wildfire through a drought-stricken forest.

However, while these ‘increases’ might be misrepresentative, they do underscore the fact that consumer confidence is returning, or maybe we’re all just bored of sitting at home doing nothing and desperately want things to return to ‘normal’.

Why You Shouldn't Rejoice at 2021 Motorcycle Sales Figures
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Ducati
Sales up 33% in 2021 over 2020 but real figure is a 2% increase over 2019

Ducati posted a 33% increase in global sales over Q1 in 2020. More significant is the 2% increase over the same period of 2019, the last year of normal trading and which was a period of growth for the Italian company.

KTM similarly posted remarkable growth figures this year, up 95% over last year! It should be borne in mind that these figures now include GasGas, part of the KTM portfolio.

Nonetheless, selling 176,045 new bikes in the first 6 months is quite an achievement. And that figure doesn’t include the 53,378 e-bikes from Husqvarna, GasGas and Raymon.

In the US, KTM sales were up 160%, to 30,149 units, while India and Australasia grew at 52% and 25% respectively.

Why You Shouldn't Rejoice at 2021 Motorcycle Sales Figures
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Harley Davidson
Sales up in the US more than the rest of the world, partly due to axing the Sportster and Street models outside of the US. New Sportster S should reverse that trend

Harley Davidson has now got in on the act, posting a 24% increase in Q2 2021 over Q2 2020. This growth has been driven in the main by a resurgence of the local market, pegged at +43% for Q2 and +38% for the first six months. Growth in the rest of the world hasn’t been so buoyant, largely due, according to H-D, to taking the Sportster and Street models out of the catalogue due to not meeting emissions regulations.

Harley Davidson expect this trend to reverse as the Pan America and Sportster S come online in the second half of the year.

So, maybe things aren’t as clear cut as they seem at first, but, hey, any good news is welcome at the moment.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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