Merican Motorcycle Meltdown
American industry magazine Powersports Business has painted a dim picture of US first quarter sales for the Japanese manufacturers.
On-road motorcycle sales also dipped more than 27 percent below 2008 first-quarter levels.
Honda leads the charts with a massive 52% drop in North American sales overall, with Suzuki ringing in a 34% drop over the same period, or a drop of over 30,000 machines.
Yamaha had a 28% dip, and while Kawasaki wasn’t quoted, they are currently offering a buyout package to 320 workers at a plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, which produces ATVs and PWC, citing “rapidly declining sales” of recreational and utility products.
Overall, new unit sales plummeted to 197,249 for the first quarter, a 31.7 percent drop compared to the previous-year period, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. ATV sales and off-road sales were each down more than 33 percent. Road motorcycle sales also dipped more than 27 percent below 2008 first-quarter levels.
This compares to a much smaller drop in Australia where the drop was a comparatively healthy 15% .