Carolina Swagster Market Potential and Forecast

Market Potential and Forecast Analysis

Carolina Swagster Market Analysis

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The Carolina Swagster is an innovative, state-of-the-art hybrid and gas powered motorcycle with a 1500 cc engine, liquid cooled engine with dual overhead cams. It is designed to not only be energy efficient; it is also eco-friendly with a very low carbon footprint. What makes this motorcycle so unique is the power it has of cruising at 240 miles per hour combined with exceptional fuel efficiency of a 6-gallon fuel tank. The designers have concentrated on designing the Swagster to have the lowest level of weight possible as well. This hybrid motorcycle has an aluminum frame and alloy wheels. In total, the design of this hybrid motorcycle meets the three design objectives of having very high fuel efficiency, a low carbon footprint and an innovative design that saves on operating costs. Honda has created the Hybrid Motorcycle Prototype (HPM-I) that has many of the same features yet only can reach approximately 50 miles per hour (MPH) (Wall Street Journal, 2004). Studies indicate that consumers who purchase hybrid vehicles are from higher-income groups who average $100,000 or more in annual income, are more environmentally conscious, and purchase secondary vehicles to support their hobbies of road racing or touring (Murphy, Graber, Stewart, 2010). As a result, the market is often price-inelastic for hybrid vehicles (Diamond, 2008).

Forecasting Methodology

As the hybrid motorcycle market is an additive one that is based in large part on the market dynamics, distribution channels, and production processes of the traditional one, exponential smoothing is chosen as the means of forecasting this market. All aspects of the value chain between hybrid and traditional motorcycle production lead to forecasting assumptions based on the linearity of demand in the existing, broader market (Mahoney, 2007). Exponential smoothing is chosen as the forecasting technique, as this approach takes into account the longitudinal effects of demand and the influence of independent variables on the time series (Lapide, 2009). Exponential smoothing has also proven effective for defining production and sales forecasts that have upper and lower limits associated with them that more accurately reflect volume and variation bands in markets over time (Lapide, 2009).


The following are the key assumptions that have gone into the unit and revenue forecast for the Carolina Swagster. First, the industry is expected to have moderate to flat revenue growth, averaging 2.5% from 2010 to 2015 (Wall Street Journal, 2004). This growth will lead to the industry attaining $4.2B in revenue across new purchases, parts, and services (Diamond, 2008). Average price of a new motorcycle is approximately $7,000 with the Harley Davison models averaging $13,000 (Mahoney, 2007). It is anticipated that the average price point for the Carolina Swagster will be 30% above the median price point of the mainstream motorcycles, or $9,100. This figure is consistent with previous studies of the price premium paid for green or sustainability-based vehicles, where 30% is the median price uplift based on sustainability (Murphy, Graber, Stewart, 2010). Further assumptions include that the industry lifecycle stage will continue to be very mature (meaning slow to no growth), revenue volatility will be very high, capital intensity will be low and the concentration level of competitors continue to be very high (Murphy, Graber, Stewart, 2010). The assumptions of industry structure and pricing are based on the market shares of the leading competitors in the motorcycle market including Harley-Davidson with 65% and Honda with 12.9%. There are over 40 different manufacturers of motorcycles globally who comprise the remaining 22% of the worldwide market (Murphy, 2008). Gaining distribution for a new motorcycle model will be challenging given the concentration level of competitors in the market. As motorcycles are considered discretionary purchases, they are influenced by the consumer sentiment index, the level of per capita disposable income, the downstream demand for motorcycle dealership and repair, and the available time consumers have for using them (Diamond, 2008). All of these factors are taken into account in the factoring of both the baseline motorcycle industry forecast and the hybrid motorcycle forecast as well.

Sales and Unit Forecasts

Using exponential smoothing and an average sale price of $9,100, the forecast for the Carolina Swagster hybrid motorcycle has been completed. In 2011, it is projected there will be 6,544 total units that comprise the total available market of hybrid motorcycles, worth $59M in sales. The market will grow to 7.41 units in 2012, achieving a revenue level of $64M. In 2013, the total available market will drop in size slightly to 6,842 units and $62M in revenue. Based on the broader motorcycle market being influenced by broader economic factors, 2014 is expected to be lower in demand, generating 5,867 units in total for a market size of $53M in revenue overall. By 2015, the market will need innovation to continue to drive its growth, as the total market will be 5,605 units and total available market revenue will be $51M. Table 1, Market Analysis and Forecasts of the U.S. Motorcycle Market, provides an overview of these figures.

Table 1: Market Analysis and Forecasts of the U.S. Motorcycle Market

As Harley-Davidson and Honda dominate the market, leaving 40 other vendors compete for 22% of total sales, the odds of a new vendor gaining market share with a hybrid-based motorcycle will most likely yield 1% market share in the first year, followed by 5% in year 4 and 7% in 5. This would equate to 654 units in 2011, 704 in 2012, 684 in 2013, and 234 units in 2014 and 392 units in 2015. These forecasts show that distribution is critical for the success of the product and gaining dealers and distributors quickly is essential to gain market share.


Diamond, D.. (2008). Managing Incentives for Green Vehicles. Public Manager, 37(4), 15-18.

Lapide, L.. (2009). History of Demand-Driven Forecasting. The Journal of Business Forecasting, 28(2), 18-19.

Patrick Mahoney. (2007, March). Taking the roar out of the crowd: HYBRID MOTORCYCLES. Machine Design, 79(5), 98-100.

Murphy, R., Graber, M., & Stewart, a.. (2010). Green Marketing: A Study of the Impact of Green Marketing on Consumer Behavior in a Period of Recession. The Business Review, Cambridge, 16(1), 134-140.

John Murphy. (2008, January 31). Honda Raises Forecast; Fuel-Saving Cars Lift Net. Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition), p. a.11.

Rodney Tasker. (2000, August). Lean and green. Far Eastern Economic Review, 163(34), 45.

Honda Develops Hybrid Scooter. (2004, August 25). Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition), p. D.4.

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