WORDS: Aaron Frank
PHOTOS: BMW, Ducati
At a time when the Japanese OEMs are just beginning to show signs of life after the recent economic downturn, their European rivals are posting record sales. Ducati leads the pack with a remarkable 43 percent increase in annual North American sales, while BMW and Triumph are up by 7 and 15 percent, respectively, in the USA alone.
Ducati attributes this growth to the ever-expanding product line, led by the sold-out Diavel. This was the sixth-consecutive quarter of growth for Ducati, and it makes North America the Italian company’s top market for for the first time ever. BMW Motorrad USA reported sales up 7.4 percent in 2011, double the gain of the previous year. BMW’s best-selling S1000RR superbike, and the new K1600GT and GTL tourers gave numbers a push near the end of the year. Triumph, meanwhile, boasted a 15 percent U.S. sales increase during the second half of 2011, primarily driven by the release of its Tiger 800 and 800 XC adventure-tourers.
These sales records are even more impressive since Triumph claims the over-500cc segment is down almost 50 percent from its peak four years ago. These results confirm that new products drive growth, and buyers will step up if manufacturers introduce desirable new motorcycles. This trend should continue as more innovative European motorcycles appear. BMW has new superscooters coming this summer, Ducati just dropped the fabulous 1199 Panigale superbike and Triumph is ready to re-enter the big-bore adventure-tourer market with its all-new Tiger Explorer.