Manufacturers bracing unprecedented European sales slump in 2020

Italy, France and Spain are bracing for a huge decline in motorcycles sales for 2020 as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic begin to bite

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

Sales of motorcycles in Europe’s biggest markets could be facing slumps of greater than 50% year-on-year as a direct result of the restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to market analyst website Motorcycles Data, sales in Italy are predicted to slide by upwards of 60% by during the first half of this year due to the steady shutdown of both production and dealerships.

However, even this could be a modest estimate due to the fast-changing nature of the situation and the lack of clarity for when the situation will improve.

Italy is now the worst-affected nation having reported almost 5,500 deaths (as of writing) from nearly 60,000 cases. Only China has more cases of the virus, but Italy has suffered the most fatalities and the tally has been growing in the hundreds by the day.

As such, Italian authorities have imposed a strict lockdown across the country that has seen businesses forced to close and people urged against leaving home unless they need essentials.

With most motorcycle plants having ceased production – including Ducati, BMW and Yamaha – for the time being and dealerships across the country closed, Motorcycles Data reports that sales were already 25% down year-on-year during the first ten days of March, but since then not a single motorcycle has been registered.

With officials hoping to ‘flatten the curve’ of deaths and cases in the coming weeks, there are higher prospects that sales will be buoyant once the crisis is over, but with the world’s economy in flux it remains to be seen how companies will approach future investment and how potential buyers use their funds. However, governments have assured companies they will not fall by the wayside should they need recovery packages.

Though Italy’s forecast is dire, the picture is bleak elsewhere too with both France and Spain anticipated to lose a vast proportion of sales in 2020 that it is unlikely to recover from. Meanwhile, the UK could also be set for similarly drastic decline even though it hasn’t – as yet – initiated the same strict measures imposed by other countries.

The forecast – while not surprising – comes after a strong first two months of the year that saw sales in all major markets rise by the upwards of 10% year-on-year.