An Expert's View about Motorcycles in Italy

Last updated: 25 Apr 2011

Italy is the largest European market for motorized two-wheelers, with almost 400,000 new, 2- wheel vehicle registrations in 2010. This report provides an overview of the market and information about valuable trade opportunities available to U.S. companies; in particular about the exciting USA Pavilion at the EICMA trade show, the major European motorcycle/moped exposition that will again be held November 8-13, 2011, in Milan, Italy.

The Italian motorcycle/scooter/moped industry has always been one of the world leaders. Since the early decades of the 20th century, historical brands such as Gilera, Benelli, Guzzi, Morini, Ducati, Laverda, MV Agusta and then Piaggio, Aprilia, Mondial, etc., were established in Italy. Most of them are still in the market and remain symbols of top quality and design.

Many other Italian companies developed, both as suppliers of mechanical components and as manufacturers of non-mechanical accessories (helmets, apparel, safety devices, etc.). Companies such as AGV, Nolan, and Dainese, obtained leadership roles in their sub-sectors, and are still able to face low price/low quality competition.

As a result of the high-tech focus and the availability of products imported from everywhere, the Italian market is highly competitive. Nevertheless, it offers interesting opportunities to those U.S. companies able to provide high-tech motorbikes, accessories and safety devices. The same is true for companies that produce hybrid and zero emission vehicles, a sector that has increased its importance in the last few years. In particular, the products that combine respect for the environment with features attractive for the demanding consumers hold the key to success.

Market Data
Italy is the largest European manufacturer of 2-wheel vehicles. In 2010 production was 477,000 vehicles (more than half of the European production. As a comparison, Spain manufactured slightly more than 115,000, France almost 110,000, Germany around 82,400 vehicles. (ref: ACEM, is the European Motorcycle Association,

Italy has the largest number of motorcycles on the road in Europe, with just shy of 9.5 million vehicles in 2009 (3.3 million mopeds < 50cc and 6.1 million motorcycles > 50cc). Again comparing with other European countries, Germany’s number of bikes on the road was 5.7 million (2.2 million mopeds and 3.6 million motorcycles), Spain had 4.96 million (2.35 million mopeds and 2.6 million motorcycles), and the French had 3.5 million (1.75 million mopeds and 1.8 million motorcycles).

As concerns new vehicles sales, a decrease in 2010 did not prevent Italy from keeping its rank as the largest market in Europe with almost 400,000 new, 2-wheel vehicle registrations in 2010 (around 307,000 motorcycles and scooters over 50 cc), and around 89,000 mopeds (< 50 cc).

Sales were 343,000 units in France (205,000 motorcycles and 138,000 mopeds), 190,000 units in Germany (125,000 motorcycles and 65,000 mopeds) and 169,000 in Spain (135,000 motorcycles and 34,000 mopeds).

Breaking down the over 50cc category further, there were almost 94,000 motorcycles and over 213,000 scooters were sold in Italy in 2010. As concerns mopeds (under 50cc), 88% of them were scooters; Sources: ANCMA, and C&P Group (Moto Dealer News – Jan.-Feb. 2011). ANCMA is the ItalianTrade association of manufacturers of two- and three-wheeled vehicles and companies producing parts and accessories for these vehicles,

To support the motorcycle sector and reduce pollution, in 2009 and 2010 the Italian federal Government granted some financial support to motivate customers to buy less polluting motorcycles. In 2009 the Government subsidized 111,000 vehicles, while in 2010 the support was only available for 33,000 units. Expectations are for some subsidies also in 2011.
Although total new motorcycles registrations declined from 2009 to 2010, they increased for motorcycles over 751cc. (see chart #1 below, and also see more detail about motorcycle registrations in Italy at:

Considering motorcycle registrations by category, Sport Tourers, Customs and Street Enduros achieved the best performances. In detail, Sport Tourers were up 18.5%, Customs by 10.3% and Street Enduros by 8.2%. The winning strategy in these segments is a mix between iconic models, innovation and marketing.

Read the full market research report

Posted: 24 April 2011, last updated 25 April 2011

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