Motorcycle Sales up in 2002

Total motorcycle sales up 9.4%. BMW and Harley report continued record sales of new bikes.

Total Sales Up 9.4%; BMW, Harley Report Record Years

In February, the Motorcycle Industry Council, which tracks the sales of 16 brands, reported that motorcycle sales were up 9.4 percent. That marks the tenth straight year of growth (in units sold) for the American motorcycle industry. BMW, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2003, posted its sixth consecutive year of record motorcycle sales. For Harley-Davidson, which turns 100 in 2003, it was the 17th straight year of record sales, revenue and income.

The continuing health and vitality of the American motorcycle industry was signaled by the January announcements of record 2002 sales by BMW of North America and Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

Running Code 3

BMW sold 13,507 motorcycles in the U.S. during 2002, a four percent increase over 2001. "The United State continues to the world's largest export market for BMW motorcycles," Thomas J. Plucinsky, General Manager of BMW NA's motorcycle division. BMW's best-selling model for '02 was the R1150RT. The company launched four new models during 2002, the F650CSR, the R1150GS Adventure, the K1200GT, and the new cruiser-styled touring bike, the R1200CL. The also sees continuing success with "authority motorcycle," mostly police bikes based on the R1150RT-P, which saw an increase of almost 70 percent over 2001.

BMW has high hopes for its recently announced Certified Pre-Owned Motorcycle Program. Though other manufacturers have pondered such programs, BMW was the first to get one up and running "to offer value-conscious motorcycle buyers the same opportunities we offer value-conscious automobile shoppers--the opportunity to purchase a premium vehicle with the latest safety and technological features at an affordable price."

Centennial Celebration

Harley reported across-the-board increases in sales volume and revenue for 2002. Compared to 2001, the firm sold 16 percent more motorcycles worldwide and 18 percent more in the U.S. The unit numbers are 212,833 motorcycles sold in the U.S. in 2002, compared to 186,915 in 2001. Harley's worldwide unit sales topped a quarter-million for the first time, with 263,653 motorcycles built and sold in 2002, compared to 234,461 in 2001. Total revenue grew from $3.4 billion to $4.1billion, and net income jumped from $437.7 million to $580.2 million. On the accessory side, Harley enjoyed increases of 11.7. One interesting note in its year-end report was that Harley contributed $154 million to its various pension plans, compared to $19 million in 2001.

Harley-Davidson extended its 2003 production run to come closer to meeting demand for 2003 100th-Anniversary model motorcycles, and anticipates production figures of 289,000 units. It also expects growth from Parts and Accessories to be somewhat greater than sales of its motorcycles. Harley-Davidson Financial Services saw an increase of 70 percent for 2002 and the company projects an additional 20 growth in 2003. Harley 100th anniversary celebration culminates this summer with The Ride Home in August, which among other things is expected to raise $5 million for Harley-Davidson's pet charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. That even runs from August 17 to 26 and will see organized rides streaming into Milwaukee from 26 cities.

America is not alone. Many other companies in other countries are also reporting banner years for new-bike sales.

There should be plenty of anniversary-painted Harleys by the end of the year.
The newest BMW is the R1200CL cruiser-based touring bike.
Lots of Harleys will be headed for Milwaukee in August.