Fast Dates Calendar News
2011 Fast Dates News
The Making of the
Devastating Motorcycle Industry Statistics!
Those are two of the findings of J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information Study, which includes responses from close to 8,500 owners who purchased a new 2009 or 2010 model-year on-road or dual-sport motorcycle between September 2009 and May 2010.The study, now in its 13th year, measures owner satisfaction with new motorcycles by examining six major factors of the overall ownership experience: product, build quality, cost of ownership, sales, service and warranty.
This is a devastating statistic for the world motorcycle industry, and America in particular. With the median age of motorcycle buyers (and hence riders) going up by 1 year of age, in each of the last 9 years. That essentially means no young new riders are coming into the sport, and sales are dropping at a devastating rate of 5-10% per year, no matter what the economy does to improve. If this trend continues, in just 10-20 years when the median rider age reaches 60-70 years old and riders die off/stopping buying motorcycles, there will be effectively no new motorcycles sold in America.
New motorcycle sales in America have dropped some 70-30% among manufacturers in the last 3 years because of the economic collapse in America. Motorcycles are a luxury recreational toy for most Americans, not a transportation necessity as in Europe and Asia. So the American motorcycle market was probably hit harder than any other recreational sport in our country when the down turned economy caused people to stop spending on non -essential big ticket items. This new riders Median Age statistic report means that even if the U.S. economy improves 5-10% per year in the coming years, new motorcycle and product sales will never increase from where they have fallen today.
We don't see that happening with TV shows like Stunt Rider on The Speed Channel serving as the only street bike role model for kids, and with the statistic that motorcyclists are 7-times more likely to killed in a road accident compared to automobile drivers.
That and the fact many teens don't care about owning their own motorcycles or car any more, and working an after school job like we did as kids to help pay for them. Today's kids would rather stay home, and spend their time and what money they have on electronic gadgetry, games, cell phones and computers. If they need to get somewhere they can hitch a ride with friends or their parents.
We have all helped to kill off the entry level motorcycle market. It's all our fault and the industry is coming down around us because of it.
Not since the "You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda" ad campaign of the 1960's has a motorcycle manufacturer really targeted the entry level / new rider market.
And all of us in the Motorcycle Media our guilty of perpetuating this decline in new riders, because we only feature high end and middleweight motorcycles that only affluent older riders can afford to buy. When is the last time a U.S. Motorcycle Publication ran a cover feature story on motor scooters and practical 125cc street bikes that a high school/college kid could afford to buy? Never.
The only way to turn this around is to sell affordably priced, financed, and insured entry level motorcycles and scooters to teen angers with their parent's blessing. Motorcycle and scooters that are as cheap and easy to purchase, insure and operate as $2,000 used car.
Like many of you I was at the annual International Motorcycle Show, my local venue being in Long Beach Show, CA,this past month. I think I remember seeing about (5) twenty something year olds the day i was there. No one under 20 years. Mostly everyone was 35 years and older.
Teen riders can no longer afford, or qualify to finance and insure a motorcycle in the pubic banking and insurance markets.
The only solution I might suggest at this point is, the major motorcycle manufacturers and distributors in America must pool together to form their own banking institutions or credit unions, and an insurance company to finance and insure the motorcycles they sell. Perhaps if they eliminate the profit margins earned by big banks and insurance companies, and their stock holders, the finance and insurance rates would come down for first time, young motorcycle buyers.
And speaking of insurance companies - particularly those big names like GEIKO and Progressive Insurance that are targeting the motorcycle market. They're the ones sponsoring the Progressive Insurance International Motorcycle Show, the GEICO motorcycle racing team, and the only paid ads left to support our streetbike magazines like Cycle World and Motorcyclist. They are the ones running expensive non stop prime time TV ads on every station we watch at a cost of Millions of dollar a day, Billions of dollars a year! How much do you think those insurance agencies have to increase their insurance prices rate to pay for that adverting to reach us, the motorcyclists?
Well friends and teens, the insurance rates of GEIKO and Progressive Insurance are about 1/3rd more than the insurance companies who don't advertise heavily or have independent agents to support. Low profit insurance agencies like AAA are where you need to go. Rates at AAA can be 50% less if you insure your motorcycle with your family's car and home policy. I also finance my motorcycle purchases on low interest rate Credit Union charge cards and Checks. That way you don't have to buy damage/loss/collision insurance for your bike if you can't afford it, since the credit card purchase is a cash loan that does gives you the title of the bike, not the bank or finance company which requires full replacement insurance.
If I crash my bike I fix it myself for the cost of parts. Whereas the insurance company might write off downed bike a toal loss, uppring your rates even more. I have not had collission / loss insurance on any of my motorcycles, ever. These are two great ways to reduce motorcycle insurance costs most people don't think of. - Jim Gianatsis, Editor
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