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Motorcycle Sales Continue to Increase for the Seventh Straight Year

11 November 1999

Motorcycle Sales Continue to Increase for the Seventh Straight Year
    IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 10 -- Perhaps it's because they're the
ultimate convertibles.  Or it may be because motorcycles double as
transportation and recreation.  And then again, it may be because motorcycles
come complete with an enviable attitude.
    Whatever the reasons and perceived added value, motorcycle sales -- and
sales of the motorcycle aftermarket -- are up and rolling.
    According to the Motorcycle Industry Council's third-quarter, year-to-date
Retail Sales Report, on-highway, new unit motorcycle sales are up 25% over the
same period of 1998.  Total new unit motorcycle sales, including scooters,
on-highway, dual and off-highway motorcycles have increased 23 percent over
the same period in 1998, making 1999 the seventh consecutive year of new unit
motorcycle sales increases overall.  For all of 1998, sales of on-highway, new
unit motorcycles increased 19 percent over 1997 and more than 66 percent from
    Don J. Brown, an independent industry analyst and frequent contributor to
industry publications, attributes the sales increase to both lifestyle and
economic factors.  "Motorcycling is affordable as transportation and as
recreation and it's loaded with added value," said Brown.  "Not only can you
get where you need to go on a motorcycle, you can get there feeling a sense of
freedom, adventure and escape from day-to-day demands."
    Current sales trends for motorcycle apparel and accessories are also at
record levels.  According to data from the 1998 Motorcycle Owner Survey,
commissioned by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and conducted by Irwin
Broh & Associates (IB&A), projected aftermarket sales were $3.9 billion in
1998.  Apparel sales made up $1.2 billion and accessory sales were $1.2
billion, and over $1.5 billion were spent on routine repairs and maintenance,
including replacement parts.
    "What we're witnessing is a renewed interest in motorcycling - among a
broad and diverse market - for a lot of different reasons," said Beverly St.
Clair, managing director of Discover Today's Motorcycling.  "Rider
demographics show us that today's motorcyclist is not the stereotypical
Hollywood 'bad boy.'  Motorcycling is mainstream and it appeals to 'the guy
next door' from an emotional, economic, performance and even fashion

    Meet the Influential American
    The MIC Motorcycle Owner Survey sheds more light on the demographics of
today's rider.  In 1998, the person underneath the helmet is likely to be 38
years old, to have attended college, and to be a well-established, family man.
    What's more, today's motorcyclist earns more than the average American
($44,250 per year vs. $36,250*), while more than 33 percent of today's owners
earn at least $50,000 per year compared to 20 percent of owners in 1990.
    Although the 1998 study found that the typical motorcycle rider is male,
recent trends reveal that women are joining the motorcycle ownership ranks in
record numbers.  Women now represent 8.2 percent of total motorcycle riders,
up from 6.4 percent in 1990.  One-third of Motorcycle Safety Foundation class
graduates are women.  According to the survey, 58 women versus 59 percent men
are married.  Interestingly, women out spent men on riding apparel ($317
versus $255) in 1998.
    "Today's rider is the guy or gal next door, an influential American who
finds that the end of the road is just as likely to be a board room as a
burger place," said St. Clair.

    Mimicking the Motorcycle Mystique
    Even people who don't ride a motorcycle seem increasingly eager to look as
if they do.  The motorcycling influence has become more and more persuasive as
seen in store window displays, fashion advertisements, catalogs and music
    "Without question, motorcycling fashion has become hip," said Denis
Labonge, president of Intersports Fashions West, Inc.  "The sales of
motorcycle fashions and motorcycles go hand-in-hand.  Both have been gaining
in popularity."

    The Well-Dressed Motorcycle
    Motorcycles themselves are also making a fashion statement.  Owners
interested in making a personal statement with their bikes are buying
accessories at a record pace.  This year, the best dressed motorcycles are
sporting a variety of accessories ranging from aerodynamically designed tank
bags and leather saddle bags to chrome pipes and custom painted fairings.

    Value Beyond Its Parts
    More and more people are finding the motorcycle that fits their
personality and the kind of riding they want to do.  There are approximately
2.5 motorcycles in use for every 100 persons in the United States, according
to MIC.  An estimated 6.5 million motorcycles were in use in the United States
in 1997.  California, Texas, New York, Florida and Ohio represented over one-
third (35 percent) of the motorcycles in use in 1997.  The South had the
highest motorcycle population in 1997 with 28 percent on and off road use.
The West showed the highest motorcycle penetration, at 2.9 vehicles per 100
    "Motorcycling has never been about something as simple as getting from
point A to point B," said St. Clair.  "It's much more than that -- it is a
sense of freedom and adventure that is almost impossible to capture any other
way.  With the increased emotional and financial stress we're experiencing
these days, it's no wonder more Americans are discovering the allure of
motorcycling -- it's affordable, it's  accessible and it makes you feel like
the world awaits you."

    Cruising Escape
    Today cruiser motorcycles comprise 55 percent of on-highway motorcycle
sales, with an estimated 153,000 cruisers sold in 1998 compared to 60,000 in
1991.  Celebrities, executives, and the "couple next door" are all part of
this rapidly expanding group of owners who want to escape and enjoy the
adventure and exhilaration of riding.

    Thriving Used Market
    Another indication of the sustained enthusiasm for motorcycle riding is
sales of used motorcycles are estimated to be rising, too.  The number of
previously owned motorcycles sold in 1998 is estimated at 1.3 million, based
on 67 percent of MIC owner survey respondents who said they purchased a used
motorcycle last year.

    About Discover Today's Motorcycling
    Discover Today's Motorcycling, the communications service bureau of the
Motorcycle Industry Council, is a source of information about motorcycling to
the media and to the general public.  Discover Today's Motorcycling operates a
toll-free number (1-800-833-3995) that provides free "Straight Facts"
brochures about motorcycling, as well as information about Motorcycle Safety
Foundation RiderCourses(R).

    The Motorcycle Industry Council is a nonprofit national trade association
representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, motorcycle parts
and accessories, and members of allied trades.

    * According to 1996 U.S. Census Bureau statistics

    Contact:  Nancy Kumamoto of Discover Today's Motorcycling,
949-727-4211, ext. 3027.