Over the last month, many of the motorcycle manufacturers have released their 1st quarter figures with much showing downward sales trend for the over 500ccc motorcycles in particular and even more so for the larger displacement engine bikes.
It is no surprise that in the northern hemisphere that this is represented as the motorcycle riding season still had not come alive, however a year on year comparison is not so charitable.
Various countries have echoed reducing sales figures for the same time period with only the smaller cc bike manufacturers having any kind of positive sales but even those are not as they would have hoped.
Still ongoing issues with supply chains which saw Suzuki having to temporarily shut down both motorcycle and car assembly plant in Pakistan, is just one example of how manufacturers are stumbling due to rising costs and inconsistent source providers.
Whilst some companies such as Harley-Davidson appear to be quite satisfied with themselves to pass on extra costs to the customer as outlined in their report, thus keeping profits higher…it also keeps the prices on higher end products out of reach of most motorcycling consumers.
So if the prices have gone up across the board because of the various contributing factors, people have less disposable income and the cost of borrowing is increasing…is it any wonder that 2023 1st quarter results are appearing as they are?
In autumn of 2022 when many of the manufacturers were releasing details of 2023 motorcycles, they appeared positive that it would be a ground breaking year. Indeed in January a few of the premium brands were reporting record sales figures for 2022. But that was last year! A lot can change in a few months and perhaps now we are starting to see what some industry commentators have been muttering for some time.
It would be unrealistic for prices to keep on rising, especially for higher end leisure vehicles without this hitting sales figures. For some brands a reduction in numbers does not necessarily mean reduced profits…from from it. As per unit profits have increased due to higher unit prices, but the balloon has been filled with so much hot air that it is about to let go with an almighty pop!
there were some financial analysts that were predicting this last year but also wager that the situation might start to improve by the end of the 3rd quarter which will be little solace for motorcycle manufacturers as the riding season comes to an end.
Do these diminishing sales figures mean that the industry cannot recover? Well of course it doesn’t, but what it does mean is that it will have to outperform in the next few months in order to gain ground. Can it be done though?
Some brands will weather the storm better than others, whilst there will undoubtedly be casualties of fiscal conflicts…and some may not return. Some will grow in certain markets, which others will diminish in scale. The big question remains unanswered though…by how much by the end of the year?