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NCOM Biker News Bytes for April 2020

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Convention Rescheduled Pandemic, Motorcycle Market, Essential Workers and More…
By Bill Bish

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists 35th annual NCOM Convention has been rescheduled for the middle of October at the Marriott Indianapolis East (7202 East 21st Street), the same location in Indiana as previously planned.

“At this time, the NCOM board urges you and your families to follow the advice of the health departments and keep yourselves safe,” said James “Doc” Reichenbach II, Chairman of the NCOM Board of Directors, adding that “Losing one person is one too many.”

Stay tuned for further details as NCOM continues to monitor this deadly global outbreak and its impact on the motorcycling community.

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Wary of public transport, coronavirus-hit Americans turn to bikes

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from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States, according to a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers interviewed by Reuters.

“I’m 51 and healthy, but I don’t want to get on the subway,” said John Donohue, a Brooklyn-based artist who bought a bike two weeks ago. Donohue, who doesn’t own a car, says he’s not sure when he’ll be comfortable on mass transit again.

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States, according to a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers interviewed by Reuters.

Many of the purchases are by people looking for a way to get outside at a time of sweeping shutdowns and stay-at-home orders aimed at containing the virus: Even the worst affected states are allowing people out to exercise.

Still, a portion of the sales, especially in urban areas, are to people like Donohue who also want to avoid the risk of contagion on buses or subways.

He plans to use his new 24-gear hybrid for journeys such as regular visits to a printing shop across town that he normally travels to by subway. A key feature, he said, was the bright red panniers he added to carry his artwork.

To be sure, bikes remain well down the list of U.S. commuting preferences.

About 870,000 Americans, on average, commuted to work by bicycle in the five years through 2017, or about 0.6% of all workers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate was higher in urban areas, at about 1.1%, and about 20 cities with at least 60,000 residents had rates of about 5% or more.

A more recent survey, though, showed a higher percentage of U.S. workers using a bike to get to work. Private research firm Statista Inc.’s 2019 survey showed 5% rode their own bike, while another 1% used a bike share service, an increasingly common option in larger cities.

Running Out Of Stock

The government has declared bicycles an essential transportation item, so many bike shops remain open despite the widespread business shutdown. Many, though, have modified how they operate, no longer letting buyers test bikes and handing them over on the curb rather than inside the store.

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, roughly three-quarters of U.S. bike sales are through big box stores. While many of the outlets of large specialty sporting goods chains are closed, general merchandisers like WalMart Stores Inc, the largest seller of bikes, remain open. Walmart did not respond to a request for comment.

Kent International Inc., which imports bikes from China and also makes them at a plant in South Carolina, said sales of its low-priced bikes had surged over the past month.

Kent is already out of stock on five of its top 20 models and expects that to rise to 10 by the end of the month, chief executive and chairman Arnold Kamler said. He noted supplies were flowing in from China, which has reopened much of its manufacturing base over the past month.

Kamler said sales at most of the major retailers he supplies were up 30% last month and are up over 50% so far in April, with the surge in demand forcing him to change shipping arrangements.

He normally imports bikes to ports on both the East and West Coasts. But with many retailers asking for more bikes, he’s now directing all shipments into West Coast ports, then transporting them across the country. That adds to freight costs, he said, but can cut weeks off delivery times.

Low Prices

Mark Vautour, who manages a bike store near the Boston University campus, said he had sold bikes to anxious commuters – including at least one medical worker who wanted an alternative to using the subway.

“We’ve joked for years that trains are like a petri dish,” Vautour said.

Mostly, though, his sales have been children’s bikes, “because parents don’t know what to do with their kids.”

One indication that people are buying bikes for more utilitarian uses like commuting is that many of the purchases are low-priced bikes, several bike retailers said.

Joe Nocella, owner of 718 Cyclery & Outdoors in Brooklyn, said his normal “sweet spot” was bikes that sell for $1,500 to $2,000, used by city dwellers for touring.

“Now the average bike has turned to $500 to $800,” he said.

Those lower prices are one reason many bike retailers are struggling, despite strong sales.

Andrew Crooks, chief executive of NYC Velo, a three-store chain in the New York area, said the drop in average selling prices meant revenues had fallen at a time when he was still paying rents, salaries and other costs.

“So we could keep our doors open and still end up with a business that’s not viable,” he said.

Still, some new buyers say they are switching to bikes for the long term.

Having been stuck at home in Baltimore, Kaitlyn Lee bought a $550 bike this weekend so she could get outdoors safely and avoid public transport when she gets a job.

Lee will finish a graduate degree in public health at the University of Maryland this spring and has applied for jobs at the Centers for Disease Control and the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her plan is to commute by bike to a future job, if possible.

“I mean, it’ll never completely vanish,” she said of the coronavirus. “Rather we will learn how to live alongside of it, just like with other viruses.”

Global Motorcycle Sales In Free Fall Due To COVID-19

By | General Posts

by Dustin Wheelen from https://www.rideapart.com

Even before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, many financial experts were speculating on the impact of the global crisis. Once motorcycle manufacturers and dealerships closed their doors to observe social distancing orders and promote public safety, we knew that the market could undergo a massive reduction in productivity and sales.

Now that economic reports for the month of March are available, we’re able to assess the impact on the industry—and it isn’t good. We all knew that global motorcycle sales stumbled in 2019, but with the advent of the novel coronavirus, we could see a further decline for markets like India and a contraction of previously growing sectors in Europe.

In India, the world’s largest motorcycle market, domestic manufacturers saw steep downturns in March. Year-over-year sales figures declined for Hero MotoCorp (-43 percent), Royal Enfield (-44 percent), Bajaj (-55 percent), and TVS Motor Company (-62 percent) during the third month of 2020.

Foreign makes weren’t immune to the economic slowdown with Suzuki India selling 42% less units during the period as well. Not all the news was bad though, as Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India managed to increase sales by 10 percent. Despite the bleak numbers, Suzuki India Managing Director Koichiro Hirao emphasized the company’s responsibilities during the global pandemic.

“At present, our first and foremost priority is to ensure the health and safety of the employees and all stakeholders,” said Hirao. “As the industry fights the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing shutdowns and taking precautionary measures, we believe that industry will overcome this difficult time and bounce back with positive growth in the coming months.”

Though Suzuki India is enduring its own woes during this time, the company still reported a 5.7-percent increase in sales during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

“We are pleased to close this financial year on a positive note with 5.7 percent growth amid the precautionary measures taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Hirao.

In Europe, Italy’s motorcycle market crumbled with sales numbers plummeting by 66 percent. Scooter and moped purchases fell by 62 percent while motorcycle sales collapsed with a 69-percent reduction. However, the country’s motorcycle market also experienced growth in the first and second month of 2020.

Calculating the overall sales for the first quarter of 2020, Italy only dropped 24 percent compared to last year. Regardless of the meager returns, the BMW R 1250 GS sold the most units—presumably to those looking for an apocalypse-appropriate motorcycle.

With the majority of factories and dealerships still shuttered, who knows what April’s sales data has in store. Manufacturers are keeping an optimistic eye on the future with hopes that the industry will bounce back once closures and social distancing measures are rolled back. Until we reach that post-COVID-19 world, we’ll have to continue speculating about the future of the motorcycle industry.

Harley-Davidson to hold virtual annual meeting, acting CEO says More Roads plan is working

By | General Posts

by Margaret Naczek from https://www.bizjournals.com

Amid the instability of the COVID-19 pandemic, Harley-Davidson Inc.’s acting president and CEO Jochen Zeitz reflected back on the advancements made in the More Roads to Harley-Davidson strategy in 2019.

2020 already was a pivotal year in the company’s strategic plan to grow more riders and expand dealership reach, but the year became a lot more crucial as the Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) looks to also overcome the difficulties during a pandemic.

With concerns over public health and travel restrictions, Harley-Davidson organized its 2020 annual shareholders meeting to be conducted virtually via a live audio webcast on May 21, 2020. The annual meeting will elect nine directors to the board, approve the compensation of the company’s executive officers, approve amendments to the company’s restated articles of incorporation, approve the company’s 2020 incentive stock plan and ratify the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as Harley-Davidson’s independent registered public accounting firm.

“As we embark on our next chapter and seek new leadership, we are steadfast in our belief that we have both much to be proud of and much to look forward to,” Zeitz said in his letter to shareholders.

On Feb. 28, Harley-Davidson announced former CEO Matt Levatich had stepped down and Zeitz would assume the role of acting president and CEO. The company is currently engaged in a search for new CEO.

In his letter to shareholders, Zeitz shared some of the company’s accomplishments in 2019. While U.S. motorcycle sales continue to decline over consecutive quarters, Zeitz noted that in 2019 the rate of decline significantly tempered.

“After four years of accelerating declines, such improvement was supported by our More Roads actions, notably in how we’re Amplifying our Brand and delivering on our New Products catalysts for growth,” Zeitz said in the letter.
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Some other company milestones included the launch of the first Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, the introduction of Reflex Defensive Rider System, the acquisition of StaCyc and the launch of the company’s IRONe two-wheelers for children.

In its efforts to continue to grow new riders, Zeitz noted that in 2019, 75% of people who purchased Harley-Davidson products on Amazon were new to the company. Harley-Davidson dealerships that participated in company consulting engagements also saw a nearly 6% increase in motorcycle retail sales compared with dealers not in the program, Zeitz said. Internationally, Harley-Davidson also added 27 new dealerships.

“In 2019, we also continued to manage our business to address current market conditions across the globe. We expanded our Thailand plant to serve the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) markets and increase customer access with more competitive prices, and we continued our work to mitigate the bulk of the impact of recent EU and China tariffs,” Zeitz said.

Zeitz said the company now expects the impact of tariffs to be significantly less in 2020 compared with 2019. According to its annual report filed in February, Harley-Davidson expects the impact of recent EU and China tariffs to be approximately $35 million, which is down significantly from the 2019 impact of $97.9 million.

Zeitz also stated that in 2019, Harley-Davidson finished with 3.1 million riders in the U.S., 55,000 more total riders than 2018. Throughout 2019, the company saw 527,000 new people join the brand.

“The number of people who continue to join Harley-Davidson each year is a testament to the power of our brand and our strengthened capabilities. We are becoming a company that excels at and exists to not only build great bikes, but to build riders,” Zeitz said in the letter.

Zeitz said that in 2020, the company will expand its focus from heavyweight motorcycle shipments to revenue from motorcycles and related products.

“This measure best reflects our comprehensive efforts to expand into new product segments and foster a customer-creation culture,” he said, “one that is laser-focused on our riders and fans who are passionate about our great brand.”

The Cure Bikernet Weekly News for March 26, 2020

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We Can Party Once More, Hopefully

We will continue to party until the end, whether they like it or not.

The Bikernet Weekly News is sponsored in part by companies who also dig Freedom including: Cycle Source Magazine, the MRF, Las Vegas Bikefest, Iron Trader News, ChopperTown, BorntoRide.com and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum. Most recently Quick Throttle Magazine came on board.

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Ducati sells over 53,000 bikes in 2019

By | General Posts

by Express Drives Desk from https://www.financialexpress.com

Panigale, Multistrada biggest contributors to growth

The Panigale and the Multistrada are said to have played an instrumental role in helping Ducati sell more than 53,000 motorcycles worldwide in 2019.

Ducati Motor Holding has announced that in 2019, the brand sold 53,186 motorcycles. Recoding a margin growth of 0.3% when assessing against 53,004 units sold in 2018. For the fifth consecutive year, Ducati has sold more than 50,000 units within a calendar year. Globally, the 500cc above segment for motorcycles has seen a growth of 1.4%.

However, while sales volume saw marginal growth, Ducati’s revenue saw further positive growth. The company’s turnover at the end of 2019 stood at €716 million (~Rs 57.7 billion) with an operating profit of € 52 million which is higher than € 49 million it secured in 2018. Ducati says that it recorded a turnover per bike figure which with about € 13,500 / motorcycle shows the highest value in the history of the company.

The Italian superbike manufacturer claims that the Panigale superbike and the Multistrada adventure tourer motorcycles were instrumental in helping Ducati achieve these numbers. The Panigale has been the best selling super sports bike in the world for the second consecutive year and currently holds a massive market share of 25%. The Multistrada 950S and the 1260 Enduro being added to the range, the ADV family saw its best sales performance till date since it was first introduced back in 2003.

Currently, there are 1,655 employees that work directly under Ducati Motor Holding. The Italian superbike maker has its presence in over 90 countries one of which is in India. Ducati India sells multiple variations of the Panigale, Supersports, Multistrada, Monster, Diavel, Scrambler and the Hypermotard motorcycles.

NCOM Biker Newsbytes Feb 2020

By | General Posts

National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish

The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).

READ THE NCOM NEWS BY CLICKING HERE

Wild Adventure Bikernet Weekly News for February 13th 2020

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I now have a new morning workout. I shovel and sweep snow for an hour to clear the historic sidewalk in front of our house on Jackson Street. I discovered yesterday that Jason, who owned Deadwood Custom Cycles lives on Taylor, less than a block away.

I met with a contractor yesterday, Paul. He said this region is all cowboys and bikers. Sounds good to me. We need to watch out.

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Will 2020 mark a turnaround for motorcycle powerhouse Harley-Davidson?

By | General Posts

Matt Levatich is CEO of Harley-Davidson.

by Margaret Naczek from https://www.bizjournals.com

For 117 years Harley-Davidson Inc. has led the market in motorcycles and continues to hold a dominant market share in the U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market.

Despite its dominance in motorcycles, fewer people are buying bikes, and the number of U.S. riders are growing at a slow pace. For several consecutive quarters, the company faced declining sales, lower revenue and flat stock prices.

With falling sales numbers, 2020 is becoming a pivotal year for the company founded in 1903. Harley has plans to grow riders to 4 million by 2027, from 3.1 million now, and invest in new markets with its More Roads to Harley-Davidson initiative, which launched in 2018. Some analysts, however, are uncertain of Harley’s ability to achieve such goals.

“We are becoming a company that excels and exists to not only build great bikes, but to build riders,” Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said in the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

During the call, Levatich listed four target areas that the Harley plans to hit in 2020 to retain early riders, a category segment that the manufacturer has struggled with. The company plans using riders to recruit and coach new riders, allow early riders to experience riding opportunities on their own turn and on their own terms and solidifying rider commitment through experimental opportunities like overnight rides.

New motorcycles such as Harley’s first electric motorcycle LiveWire, released in September 2019, or the new Pan America adventure touring bike and Bronx Streetfighter bike, which are expected to release late in 2020, are also part of the company’s efforts to turn U.S. motorcycle sales around and build a strong ridership base.

At least one dealer is hopeful about the strategy.

“It’s brave if you think about it,” said Goran Zadrima, regional manager at Milwaukee and West Bend Harley-Davidson. “A lot of companies in the past have attempted to go after the Harley touring market, and everybody fell on their face trying to take Harley in the touring market. The fact that Harley is getting into the adventure and the streetfighter market, that’s a huge market. There’s a lot of good brands out there, but the one thing that Harley has that nobody has anywhere is the dealer network.”