Jul. 21, 2008 – Industry Bright Spots

Ducati North America Hit All-Time Retail High

Ducati North America announced a record retail month in June, surpassing the previous all-time high set in May of 2007.
The record-setting month, 22 percent higher than June of 2007, keeps the company’s sales ahead for the year despite a challenging marketplace.
“I am pleased to report that sales were strong across the model range and have been exceptional for the newly introduced Monster 696,” said Jason Chinnock, national sales manager for Ducati North America. “The 696 demand outpaced our supply for the month otherwise the new record of 1,410 units would have been higher!
“We will be working hard to meet that demand in the coming months and with the motorcycle market reporting slower sales, we are excited to be bucking the trend.”
Ducati North America has been enjoying growth in the United States over the past five years and has nearly tripled sales since 2003.
“At a time when fuel costs are dominating the public’s attention, Ducati offers a perfect storm of style, performance and bikes, like the Monster 696 that can return over 50 mpg!” said Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America.

Piaggio USA Breaks Monthly Sales Record — Again

One month after breaking the company’s all-time monthly sales record, Piaggio USA announced its June sales were up 146 percent compared to the same month last year.
The company had just broken its monthly sales record in May, in which sales were up 105 percent compared to the previous period in 2007. Piaggio Group USA President and CEO Paolo Timoni believes consumers have finally been seriously affected financially by $4 per gallon gas prices.
“We believe that the ‘pain at the pump’ tipping point happened at the $4 per gallon mark. This is our second month of dramatic sales increases,” he said. “Virtually all our dealers are reporting tremendous consumer interest, increased showroom traffic and — most significantly — an active influx of first-time shoppers and buyers.”
Timoni says a common theme the company has noticed is the strong reaction from consumers to actively pursue the scooter lifestyle.
“The common ground for this increase in consideration is most certainly fuel-price related, but we are also looking forward to the long-term benefits of these new scooter customers,” he said. “Once a rider is licensed and really begins to appreciate all the benefits of owning a scooter, we have created a lifetime customer.”

Metric Update: Suzuki’s Bandit,Yamaha’s R6 Among Early 2008 Successes

Metric manufacturers are reporting retail sales success with a handful of new model year motorcycles and scooters.
For Suzuki, its standard offering, the Bandit and its fuel-injected 1255cc engine, is up roughly 50 percent over a year ago. The company’s higher-displacement scooter, the Burgman 400, also has done well this year, with retail sales up 30 percent over a year ago.
Yamaha is reporting similar retail success with its supersport bikes. Its YZF-R6S, a slightly less expensive version of its R6, is up 47 percent over the prior year. The significantly upgraded R6 also is faring well, with sales 23 percent above 2007’s results.
“I don’t think that’s really fuel-related,” Kevin Foley, Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.’s media relations manager for street motorcycles, said of the company’s success in the supersport category. “I think it’s our bike. Our new R6 is winning races. It’s leading the supersport championship right now. And it’s quite evolved technically.”
Kawasaki is faring well in the cruiser category, with its Vulcan 900 up approximately 20 percent over last year’s numbers.

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