2009 was a bad year for bikes. The Motorcycle Industry Council reported a 40.8% drop in sales from the 2008 season. The MIC reports that roughly 520,502 bikes were sold in 2009, as opposed to the 880,000 that were sold in 2008.
The MIC reports monthly sales of most major motorcycle manufacturers, including: BMW, Harley-Davidson, Buell, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Triumph, Yamaha, Suzuki, Victory, and the Piaggio Group. The MIC also creates estimates on all non-reporting manufacturers.
With non-reporting sales included, the total sales for 2008 was 1.1 million according to the MIC. The estimates for the 2009 season have not yet been formed, but if the 40% decrease is an indication for non-reporting manufacturers, the 2009 totals will be the lowest in a decade. The estimated bikes sold in 2009 will break a six-year streak of sales above the $1 million mark.
The biggest drop in sales occurred in the scooter category. Scooters boomed in 2008 as gas prices reached record highs.
As the economy begins to stabilize again, it is likely that motorcycle sales will begin to increase. But the damage has been done, as motorcycle lines like Buell were not able to make it through the 2009 season.