Release Date: 10/28/2004
MOTORCYCLE SALES ROARING ALONG The U.S. motorcycle industry, spurred by the impressive success of Harley-Davidson, has grown steadily in each of the last 11 years, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. This year, it's booming. "Sales are at an all-time-record high, all brands, all styles," said John Wyckoff, a longtime industry consultant who regularly calls 60 dealers a week and says all are running 10 percent to 50 percent ahead of last year in sales. "It just took off like a flying goose," he told the Associated Press in a recent interview.
"I've been in the business all my life and I keep as close as I can to it," Wyckoff said. "It's a phenomenon I don't really understand. It's just amazing."
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, a not-for-profit national trade association based in California, sales of new motorcycles rose 6.4 percent to 996,000 in 2003. Overall, the association's latest estimates show the industry generating more than $20 billion in consumer sales and services, including around $7.5 billion in retail sales of new motorcycles.
"This is a generation that refuses to age. That's at the core of this. 'I'm not an old man or woman and here's the proof,'" said Chick Hancock, a Harley-Davidson dealer in Albuquerque, N.M., who initially feared an oversupply when Harley announced it would increase production 8 percent this year. "Even with horrendous weather in the East, things are looking good."
Even for motorcycles that haven't been ridden in a while, the resale value is going up in the used-bike market, according to Frank Wal, who works at trade shows for BMW. "People are looking for cheap transportation, fuel economy, that type of thing. You're seeing a lot more motorcycles being sold that probably sat in the garage the last two or three years. It's putting a lot more bikes on the road."
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