Ducati North America on Thursday announced record sales for 2012 -- the company's best year in the market, with a 21% increase over 2011 in total sales of motorcycles and a 42% jump in its apparel division.
[For the Record, 7:20 a.m., Jan. 17: An earlier version of this post stated that Ducati North America showed a 42% increase in total sales of motorcycles in 2012. The increase was 21%]
Tipping his hat to the American "Ducatisti," Chief Executive Cristiano Silei thanked passionate Ducati fans for driving 2012 U.S. sales up 21% over 2011. The region is, for the second year in a row, the Italian motorcycle company's biggest market.
"One out of every four Ducati motorcycles sold [worldwide] is sold in North America," Silei said. "It's a love story."
Silei said he was guardedly optimistic that 2012 might have been the last bad year in the motorcycle sales slump that began with the economic crash of 2008.
"Maybe this is the bottom," he said. "I certainly hope so. The market has been stable for the last two years, so maybe we have reached a plateau. For us, we are posting record numbers now."PHOTO GALLERY: Ducati 2013Line-up
Silei credited Ducati's broadened line of models -- 15 new products going onto the market in 2013, including the all-new Hyperstrada and Multistrada Granturismo -- with serving Ducati veterans and attracting new Ducati customers.
"Not all of the new models are geared to the traditional customer," he said. "We are expanding our footprint, and will continue to attract new riders to the brand."
Silei is a 17-year Ducati employee who insists he is as passionate a rider -- though not as fast a rider -- as any retail customer. "I am not the fastest rider out there," he said. "I enjoy the twisty and windy roads more than the track."
He is pictured in a company photo embracing Ducati's flagship superbike, the Panigale. But that isn't necessarily his No. 1 bike.
Pressed to name a favorite model, Silei resisted before saying, "Really, I am a Multistrada guy, in my soul." He said he's eagerly waiting now for delivery of the company's 2013 Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Special Edition.