The Motorcycle Industry Council reported a 2.6% increase in motorcycle sales in the U.S. market for 2012. According to the industry group’s figures, American consumers purchased 452,386 motorcycles in 2012 compared to 440,899 motorcycles in 2011. The news was a bit of a surprise, considering the MIC had previously forecast a slight decline for 2012.

The 2012 sales results marks the second consecutive year of growth for the U.S. market and a larger increase than the 0.3% year-over-year increase reported in 2011. Growth is always good but the industry remains well behind the peak period in the middle of the last decade that saw four consecutive years with sales topping the 1 million mark.

As in the previous few years, scooters and dual-sports saw the most growth in 2012, with both segments experiencing better than 7% growth. Streetbike sales were up 1.8% in 2012, just as they were the year prior.

Perhaps the best news is a 2.1% increase in off-road motorcycles, with consumers buying 71,535 units in 2012. While the other segments saw some growth in the last two years, off-road motorcycle sales continued to decline.

Off-road motorcycles saw a sales boost in the last six months of 2012. In the MIC’s report for the first six months of 2012, off-road motorcycle sales were actually down 2.2%. Sales rebounded in the second half of 2012, with the industry selling 35,232 units compared to 32,929 off-road motorcycles sold in the second half of 2011. ATV sales were also up 1.4% to 225,244 units compared to 222,032 ATVs sold in 2011, reversing another downward trend, suggesting the overall off-road market may finally be stabilizing.

The MIC’s figures represent sales of its member brands including  BMW, Can-Am, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, the Piaggio Group (including Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa), Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha. Non-reporting brands are not included. UTV and side-by-side sales are also not included in the ATV sales.

2012 US Motorcycle Sales Figures from the Motorcycle Industry Council
Type 2011 2012 Change % Change
Dual Sport 26,483 28,452 +1,969 +7.4%
Off-Hwy 70,046 71,535 +1,489 +2.1%
On-Hwy 312,520 318,105 +5,585 +1.8%
Scooter 31,850 34,294 +2,444 +7.7%
Total 440,899 452,386 +11,487 +2.6%

[Source: MIC; Photo by Freeman G.]