You know we are living in strange times when a headline crows about flat sales. But that is the reality and story of 2020’s motorcycle sales. The impact of COVID hit all motorcycle manufacturers, some more than others. And it’s becoming clear that powered two-wheel mobility will continue to increase until the pandemic is over.
So it is against this background that European motorcycle sales swung like an overweighted pendulum during 2020. In the early part of the year, before COVID made itself known, the European motorcycle industry looked like it would be in for a modest if not good sales gain. But by March, COVID’s impact began to be felt, and government shutdowns forced people inside. Powered two-wheelers sales plummeted.
Then between May and June, the sales pendulum made another about-face. Motorcycle sales once again began to climb and, in some cases, started to spike upward. According to Motorcycles Data, by the end of June, most of the previously lost sales had been recovered. And September’s year-over-year sales were only down by 0.6 percent.
The second wave of COVID struck Europe in Q4 2020. Nonetheless, sales of powered two-wheelers continued to be good. Motorcycles Data says that the impact of changing emission rules are on of the reasons for the continuing gains. Dealer discounting of motorcycles not meeting Europe’s latest emission helped to prop up sales.
Sales posted gains of 4 percent in October and 12.6 percent in November. With the incorporation of December’s results, motorcycle sales in Europe stayed flat. But considering the depths of the lows between March and May, it’s a significant accomplishment for the Euro market.
Powered two-wheeler sales
Sales in the larger European markets represent both sides of the pendulum’s swing. According to Motorcycles Data, below are the results of some of the larger European markets.
- France – down 6.7%
- Italy – down 4.6%
- Germany – up 18.6%
- Spain – down 14.9%
- UK – down 4.4%
- Netherlands – up 28.8%
The manufacturers leading European year over year unit sales were:
- Honda – 185,000 down -11.7%
- Piaggio – 162,000 – up 2.1%
- Yamaha – 157,000 – up up 1.6%
- BMW – 99,000 – down 4.3%
- Kymco – 70,000 – up 0.3%
- Kawasaki – 69,000 -up 2.1%
- SYM – 68.000 – up 6.3%
- KTM 67,500 – up 9.7%