Corona crisis hits motorcycle industry hard

Retailers are closing their stores, manufacturers are cutting back production or closing down entire plants, and motorcycle meetings are out of the question for the time being: the Corona pandemic is hitting the motorcycle sector with full force.

At first hardly noticeable, then with ever greater force, the effects of the worldwide corona pandemic are also being felt in the motorcycle scene and industry. While only a few exhibitors were missing from the “Motorräder” trade fair in Dortmund at the beginning of the month, there are now a series of cancellations of complete trade fairs, motorcycle meetings and trips.

Manufacturers close their plants

While such cancellations are unfortunate, their economic impact is still painful, the first production stops by motorcycle manufacturers are showing a new dimension of the corona crisis.

As a precautionary measure, KTM in Mattighofen is sending its employees on forced leave from March 30 to April 10 because of the expected losses of Italian suppliers.

Yamaha has even completely stopped production at two European locations. In the engine factory Motori Minarelli in Calderara di Reno (Italy) as well as in the assembly plant MBK Industrie in Saint-Quentin (France), the production lines have been stopped with immediate effect. Yamaha is thus following the policy of “social distancing” as the best way to prevent the spread of the corona pandemic. The Japanese manufacturer’s European headquarters emphasises that the employees should not suffer any financial disadvantages as a result of the compulsory break.

Other manufacturers will certainly take similar measures.

Retail trade closed, workshops underutilised

Motorcycle dealers and workshops fear a sharp drop in turnover due to declining vehicle sales and lower workshop capacity utilisation as a result of the crisis. For this reason, the German Association of the Motor Trade (ZDK) has expressly welcomed the immediate measures adopted by the German government, such as bridging loans and short-time working allowances.

Tour operators also affected

Organisers of motorcycle tours are particularly affected by the current pandemic. Either planned tours are not feasible at all due to official travel restrictions or the customers are insecure and do not want to go on tours they have already booked. European market leader Edelweiss is therefore proactively approaching its customers and offering accommodating solutions. Depending on the destination and period of travel, rebooking without surcharge, bonuses and free cancellations are possible.

Collage using a photo © Yamaha Motor Europe