US motorcycle dealers count down to 10K from 13K

In countries other than the U.S., an economic downturn is likely to translate into more motorcycle sales as consumers with less money opt for less-expensive vehicles.

Not so here. In this country motorcycles are not generally seen as general transportation options, but as recreational vehicles, and as such, an expense to be deferred until the household finances are in better shape.

The truth of that situation can be seen in the number of dealerships that have closed in the last few years. According to a new report from the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), there are now 10,428 retail outlets dealing in motorcycles, scooters, and ATVs. That compares to 13,973 in 2006 and 13,230 in 2009. (Note: the MIC’s sources for the report vary from year to year so the organization warns that year to year comparisons are subject to error.)

In related news, J.D. Power and Associates reported recently that the average age of those buying new motorcycles is increasing. Also, the percentage of buyers purchasing motorcycles for the first time is decreasing.

At the same time, the MotorcycleShows.com reported that in one of its earliest shows of the season, in Seattle, the number of first-time attendees was up, comprising 23 percent of those attending.