U.S. motorcycle sales were down 14.7% over the first quarter compared to the same period last year, reports the Motorcycle Industry Council.

The industry group, which collected data from 20 reporting manufacturers, says American consumers bought 93,375 motorcycles and scooters in the first three months of 2013, down from the 109,425 vehicles purchased in the same period of 2012.

Sales were up very slightly for off-road motorcycles, but dual sports, streetbikes and scooters all saw a double-digit percentage decrease. It is notable that there was an increase in off-road models, as that particular segment had been shrinking in recent years.

Q1 2013 US Motorcycle Sales Figures from the Motorcycle Industry Council
Type Q1 2012 Q1 2013 Change % Change
Dual Sport 7,465 6,350 -1,115 -14.9%
Off-Hwy 17,472 17,548 +76 +0.4%
On-Hwy 77,188 64,706 -12,482 -16.2%
Scooter 7,300 4,771 -2,529 -34.6%
Total 109,425 93,375 -16,050 -14.7%

The numbers line up with similar accounts of decreased motorcycle sales from Harley-Davidson‘s and Polaris’ first quarter sales results. Both cited a long winter season including some late cold snaps as recently as April for part of the decline. Remember too that last year’s spring was also unseasonably warm, helping to inflate sales in the first quarter of 2012, leading to a year-over-year  increase of 6.7%. Those numbers normalized to a modest 2.8% increase in the second quarter of 2012 so there is some credence to the spring weather theory.

The price of gasoline may also be a contributing factor. Higher prices at the pumps usually result in greater motorcycle and scooter sales, but when gas prices drop, motorcycle sales tend to decrease as well. According to AAA, gas prices are down 30 cents per gallon this spring compared to last spring, so consumers may be less inclined to look towards ditching their automobiles for two-wheeled transportation. This is heavily reflected in the 34.6% decrease in scooter sales, as scooters seem particularly affected by the price of gas.

[Source: MIC]