Motorcycle sales rarely seem to be discussed online. Or at least not in as much detail as new auto sales, which are released each month.
Motorcycle enthusiasts -- and corporate shareholders -- are likely well aware of the industry leaders and how they are faring. But since the topic doesn't get as much publicity as new car sales, I figured I would shed some light on the subject.
While companies like Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha dominate the industry in terms of sheer volume, there are many other players in the industry, too.
Names like Ducati, Polaris (NYSE:PII), and Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) have also cemented their presence here in the motorcycle world. But there's one lesser-known Austrian company that has quietly taken market share over the past year: KTM Power Sports (NASDAQOTH:KTMPF).
KTM, which trades publicly on the Vienna stock exchange, has done well this year, with the stock up a whopping 68%.
How's the sales front looking?
KTM saw a large boost for fiscal 2013 (click here for the annual report) in unit sales growth. The company sold 123,859 units, which represented a 15.6% increase for the year. Revenues grew 17.1% as a result, while net income soared 44.2%.
But the company hasn't been a one-trick pony. In the first half of 2014, KTM has sold just over 70,000 motorcycles, a 27.8% increase year over year.
For comparison, in 2013, Harley-Davidson only saw revenues and units sales increase 6.4% and 4.4%, respectively. Polaris, which makes the Indian and Victory motorcycle lines, saw revenues jump 12% last year.
This year has been a little different, though. Harley-Davidson has seen unit sales climb 7.3% and 9% in the first and second quarters, respectively. However, for full-year 2014, management now expects to sell 270,000 to 275,000 units, representing growth between 3.5% and 5% from year-ago results. This is slightly below its previous guidance, which called for 279,000 to 284,000 units.
Polaris, on the other hand, continues to rev its engine. Motorcycle sales are up a whopping 79% in the first six months this year and perhaps could explain why Harley-Davidson -- while not doing poorly -- is not doing as well as management had hoped.
According to Harley-Davidson, the company controls 50.3% of the U.S. market share as of the most recent quarter. According to Polaris, they are No. 2 when it comes to market share here in the U.S.
Well, KTM is quite a ways away when it comes to market share in the U.S., securing just 4% at the end of its fiscal 2013. However, that's 8.5% higher than in the previous year. The U.S. is the smallest of the company's three geographic regions, the other two being Europe and the rest of the world.
In Europe, it secured a new record market share level of 8.5% in 2013, as sales increased for the company while the European motorcycle market declined as a whole year over year. Forty-six percent of the company's revenue comes from this region.
What can we expect going forward?
There's no doubt that the motorcycle industry is doing well; we do not need to analyze each company's sales data to draw that conclusion. Polaris nearly doubled sales in the first half of this year, while KTM has catapulted its sales nearly 30% in the same period.
KTM, while having a small presence in the U.S., is making strides in the market, as well as in Europe and India. The company continues to focus on its off-road bikes, which have been the primary driver for KTM for years. The segment represented 50% of the company's unit sales last year, which only grew 3.2% over the year prior.
However, its street bike segment unit sales grew roughly 38% in 2013 and made up roughly 40% of the company's unit sales. This is a high-growth area the company should focus on expanding going forward.
KTM isn't the top-selling brand, nor does it boast the most heralded lineup. But that doesn't mean things aren't starting to change. The company was unprofitable before Bajaj Auto took what started off as a 14.5% stake in KTM in 2007, before ending up with a 48% stake at present.
So far, that bet seems to be paying off, as KTM has been improving sales, revenue, and, most important, profitability. That's probably a large component of the stock's near-70% move higher this year alone.
Stay tuned for more coverage on this -- for now -- little-known Austrian motorcycle company.
Bret Kenwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Polaris Industries. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.