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The British Motorcycle Industry – Waiting on the Levy!

June 18, 2009

 

Coventry, England – With motorcycle and scooter sales down nearly 20% in May, compared with 2008 figures, the UK motorcycle and scooter industry is beginning to feel the cold wind of economic decline blowing around its plush Rye Hill, Coventry, Headquarters.

Hit by the double whammy of market contraction and the introduction of a new European style motorcycle test the outlook, sales wise, in the UK is grim. There is, however, a glimmer of light at the end of the UK biking tunnel, no, not as the more cynical industry watchers would have us believe the vanguard of the Chinese motorcycle industry approaching but a new well funded Join-In campaign from the industries public face, the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA).

Funded by a voluntary levy, importers pay £20 per bike over 125cc and £10 per bike under 125cc while Join-In participating dealers pay £10 and £5 on the same basis, Join-In is another MCIA attempt, there have been two others in the past 10 years, to increase motorcycle and scooter sales and in general get biking onto the UK transport map. With 25 companies participating, including all the Japanese majors and, by default, there dealers the Join-In kitty currently rounds out at £1.4 million, a large sum by UK standards. Yet for reasons best known to themselves Triumph, Ducati and KTM have refused to take part. Why?

Perhaps they believe, as I do, that a despite Steve Kenwards MCIA’s Chief Executives sermon from the Rye Hill mount that Join-In is not just another campaign relying on “old methods” but a “communications exercise” to bring people in and make UK motorcycling “modern, hip, happening, wired in and hooked up”. But that in fact what we will get is at an attempt at Facebook or Twitter for bikers with a few extra widgets and a viral promo campaign tacked on. As a web design insider, an admitted cynic, said to me “looks like another t*ts and a**e site for the UK biking punters then. Perhaps Mr Kenward should look at a few Italian bike mags and see how to do it will style, panache and intelligence and give British bikers something they deserve, dum it up, not down”. She’s got a point!!

Prove me wrong please!! I wish Join-In success, anything’s better than nothing. But wish, I’m allowed two, that for once someone actually asks bikers what they want and please invest some of the Join-In cash in the future. A good age relevant campaign aimed at young people to draw them into scooter riding and motorcycle is whats needed. It’s called investing in the future a long term plan, something that the grab the profits and run British motorcycle industry has never excelled at.

© Back Roads Rider 2009

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