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Attracting the "Next Generation" of Motorcyclist

Where to Now???? The CEO’s of Harley Davidson & Indian both gave key note speeches at the September AIM show back in late September, here’s their views on where the “Next Generation” of Motorcycl;e Riders are coming from.

Indian & Polaris CEO Scott Wine described how much Polaris has achieved until now. He is , however, very realistic regarding current market condition: a very tough challenging environment, political polarization since the presidential campaign, weather-related disasters in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina.

More to the point he called for campaigns to attract new riders, increasing the number of dealers, and offering to bikers technological innovation.

He would like customers to be able to design their motorcycles online, offering basic design options via smartphones, tablets and computers at home or via screens installed in dealerships.

Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich stated it was HD’s mission to “build” two million new riders in the USA over the next 10 years to replace the core market baby boomers who are now rapidly pushing over the 60 year old average age & are riding less for obvious reasons

Levatich explained that if the hardware is the blood of the industry, the riding experience is what will motivate brand new riders to take to two wheels.

He said that his company and the industry must become very fast as good as building new riders as they are at building motorcycles.

                                          

Here in the UK the industry uses the Get on Campaign to attract new riders.

The Get On Campaign started in 2009, with the aim of encouraging the non riding UK population to try a motorcycle or scooter. The aim being to grow and maintain a healthy and sustainable future market.

The campaign is centred around the Get On web site www.geton.co.uk which provides a one stop portal for all the information a new rider would need - including bikes, licencing, styles of bikes,training and from kit. Get On is funded and owned by MCIA members and as such their products, services and dealer networks are promoted on the website.

Get On also provides 'free ride' opportunities in special events held at events and other public areas throughout the year, giving those interested a no obligation chance to try before they buy. 

                                      

Meanwhile, over in the US their Industry body is thinking along similar lines, but with a little bit more of that "style" we associate with our American Cousins.

They will fund a New Ride Initiative Experience at 11 Monster Jam Truck events in seven cities in partnership with event promoter Feld Entertainment.

Among other features, Ride Initiative will offer:

  • Dirt track rider training using off-road motorcycles and ATVs,
  • Non-motorized (two- and three-wheel) training for young children, and
  • Simulations providing virtual rides for adult participants.

The program will be an “immersion, hands-on experience ” said Tim Buche, MIC president, during opening ceremonies at AIMExpo in Columbus. “We’re talking about initially thousands of square feet in engagement areas and hundreds of participants each hour.”

Feld also organizes the Monster Energy Supercross and Amsoil Arenacross series. However, the goal for the MIC is to reach beyond the core motorcycling audience. Ride Initiative will be about “getting potential new riders, their parents and their kids, swinging legs over seats, grabbing handlebars — with professional guidance. This is the best way to knock down any perceived barrier to entry, and to inspire them to ride,” Buche said.

MIC Board Member Sarah Schilke, national marketing manager at BMW Motorrad, said.

"Participants will be able to register for the Ride Initiative and share their experiences with others via social media. Afterward, they will be provided with Dealer information for their market. The MIC said it wants to work with dealerships in the 11 markets to ensure follow-up".

MIC board member and NPA Chief Operating Officer Jim Woodruff noted that the program could eventually extend into other types of events and venues. “This is just the beginning,” he said.

“This is a major joint effort,” said Mike Doughty, general manager, motorcycle sales and marketing at Yamaha, who also is on the MIC board. “We want to get new butts on seats and get these new riders started in the right way.”


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