It’s smiles all round at Ducati at the moment, as it’s just come out that 2021 was their best year ever, as far as motorcycle sales go. Worldwide, they sold 59,447 motorcycles. And that’s in the same year they won the MotoGP Constructors title. Double whammy. But does this mean anything for the motorcycling industry as a whole? And what conclusions can we draw from Ducati having their best year ever in 2021?
First of all, let’s see what Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali had to say about it,
“2021 was a magical year for Ducati. We delivered over 59,000 motorcycles, a number never achieved before in 95 years of the company’s history. We also won the title of MotoGP Constructors’ World Champion for the second consecutive year, and we started the electric era of our company with the V21L prototype, which foresees the bike that will race in the MotoE championship from 2023.”
Nice one. Apart from the fact that the only people in the world who actually care who won the Constructors Championship are the people that actually won it. But that’s besides the point. They can be proud of selling that many bikes though.
As it happens, 9,957 of those bikes were the new Ducati Multistrada V4. I thought they’d sell well, after having ridden one about a year ago, but the fact that they made up almost 17% of Ducati sales, in their best year ever, says a lot about the direction motorcycling is going, globally.
We already had a good idea that adventure bikes were taking over the world, and this new news only goes to support that notion. Is it because the motorcycling population are aging, and they don’t want to put their back out on a superbike? Or is it because the adventure bikes today are as fast and as capable as the sportsbikes of yesterday were? Perhaps it’s a fashion thing. Or maybe a mixture of reasons. But there’s no denying it, adventure bikes are on the up.
But I think the news that Ducati have had their best year of sales in 2021 tells us something else. I think it tells us that although we all complain about how expensive motorcycles have become, and that no one can actually afford to buy a new one, there are obviously still plenty of people that can. My point is this; Ducati are seen as a premium brand, and their products are priced accordingly. They don’t sell cheap motorbikes, they sell expensive ones (for the most part). I hate to use a cliché like ‘you pay for the badge’, but you do. That’s not to say they aren’t worth the money; they make very, very, very good bikes, some of the best in the world in fact. But they’re not cheap. For Ducati to have their best year ever, would suggest that more people are prepared to pay even more for a motorbike.
Or perhaps finance deals are so attractive these days that more people feel like they can spend £20k on a bike. Maybe they’re just selling more bikes to high flying company executives, as the rich get richer and the poor struggle more and more to put bread on the table.
Or I could be missing the point entirely, and the bumper year in 2021 was just making up for the slower, coronavirus-impacted 2020. I suppose time will tell, and if the upward trend continues, we’ll all be wanting to buy shares in Audi. Because Audi own Volkswagen, who own Lamborghini, who own Ducati (very weird set up, I know).
So what do you think? Will Ducati keep selling bikes like hotcakes? Or was 2021 just a flash in the pan?