Did Obama tell them to do it?Straight off the heels of the Presidental Administration’s request that General Motor Company CEO Rick Wagoner resign as part of a(nother) possible billion-dollar bailout, one of the nations most popular automotive shows is opening its doors to motorcycles, scooters and off-road vehicles.But why?
Because motorcycles are better than cars.
Well, at least the motorcycle business is better than the car business. Or maybe it’s just a smaller scale so we don’t look as bad.
“SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, is adding a new section to the 2009 SEMA Show dedicated to Powersports and Utility Vehicles. Located in the South Hall, this section will feature manufacturers of power-driven equipment, such as personal transporters; motorcycles; motor scooters; two-, three- and four-wheel ATVs; pocket bikes; specialty golf carts; mini-bikes; dirt bikes; and accessories and services that support these vehicles,” a press release issued by SEMA said today.
Yes, they said, “…two-, three and four-wheel ATVS…” What the heck? Are three wheelers making a comeback!? Sean Finley is so excited right now. Ok, I’m drifting…
Seriously, what does this say about motorcycles and the auto industry? Neither is very good right now. That’s for sure. If the motorcycle business was in a state of immense growth my magazine wouldn’t be shrinking every issue as the ad pages disappear. And bikes aren’t exactly flying off the shelves like they were a few years ago. But you wouldn’t believe that if you read this press release.
“We are constantly seeking new growth opportunities for our members and attendees of the SEMA Show,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president of communications and events. “The Powersports and Utility Vehicle marketplace is of growing importance to our core buyers. Manufacturers in this area will discover a slew of potential buyers. Meanwhile, the SEMA Show will serve as a convenient location for veteran attendees to discover all there is to know about this booming market,” it continues.
Booming market? I can see scooters and small displacement dual sport/street bikes looking solid after last summer’s gas prices took orbit. Heck, my roommates even bought a scooter and they’re not the motorcycle types unless I drag them to the desert or bring an electric bike home.
Surely the UTV craze that hit the sand dunes over the last two years looks great on paper. But hasn’t the bubble burst on those sales, too? Who’s got $10,000 for a hopped up Rhino right now?
So why is SEMA pumping up our industry? My guess is that the car business is so bad (If it was worth a hoot Obama wouldn’t be firing GM employees or scolding GM and Chrysler for failing big time with their rebuild efforts after that little $17 BILLION loan we gave them) that we biker types look good.
Basically, our sales, growing or shrinking, are tiny when compared to the auto industry. But we’re not booming.
Last year, scooter and dual sport sales were up by over 30,000 units according to webbikeworld.com. They were the only bright spot on our sales radar and even with their glow the whole industry dropped 7% in 2008. Numbers for 2009 aren’t going to be as pretty. Cars must really stink.
The good news is bike and ATV companies will have a chance to show their stuff at the SEMA show. That’s huge. Even if the car guys think we still have three wheelers having bike and bike parts on display for a 100,000 people is a good thing.
So, I guess I’ll see you in Vegas for the car/bike show. After all, hotel rooms haven’t been this cheap in a long time. It’s almost like they were expecting us.