2-Wheelers Feeling 4-Wheel Sales Woes
Sport bikes, cruisers taking the worst hit
After 14 years of steady growth (ending in 2006, but not precipitously so that year or the following), sales of 2-wheel vehicles have been in free fall. Second-quarter sales fell 53.5 percent year-over-year, followed by a 37.3 percent drop in the third quarter of this year. Harley-Davidson reported an astonishing 84 percent decline in quarterly earnings, recently shuttered its Buell sport-bike line and is looking to sell the high-end Italian MV Augusta line it bought last year. Victory is down 56 percent from July to September; Ducati 30 percent. Scooter sales are down 62 percent through the first three quarters.
An interesting take-away from all this, though, is that -- like the automobile industry -- the scooter and motorcycle companies are working very, very hard to attract new customers. If you're in the market, it's a great time to take advantage of recent deals; for example:
- Ducati is now giving its customers a full year of free scheduled maintenance.
- Victory upped its warranty to five years to show "significant confidence" to buyers.
- Twice in the past year, Harley-Davidson offered an incentive program in which buyers of the new Sportster model could get the full retail price credit if trading in for a more expensive model.
- Piaggio Group Americas, which sells Vespa scooters, is offering a 7.9 percent, 36-month loan.
- A federal stimulus program is in place that lets new buyers write off the sales tax of a motorcycle.
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