American Industry Overview: Motorcycles, Bicycles and Parts

Industry Snapshot

The largest segment of this industry was motorcycles, which, after experiencing a downturn during the 1980s and early 1990s, roared back to consistently grow in popularity through the mid-2000s. Sales reached levels not seen since the motorcycle boom of the 1970s, topping the 1 million-unit mark in 2004, for example, as compared with 278,000 units sold in 1992. 2007 saw sales drop for the first time in 15 years, followed by another drop in 2008 to 880 million units sold.

Harley-Davidson is the dominant U.S. manufacturer of motorcycles, competing primarily with foreign-based companies that have final assembly operations in the United States. About 60 motorcycle and bicycle companies combined for over $7.3 billion in revenue in 2008. While Harley-Davidson upheld the motorcycle segment of the industry, U.S. bicycle manufacturers had not been rolling along. The U.S.-based bike manufacturers that manage to survive the brutal price competition, largely due to the surge of low-cost competition from China-made bicycles, do so primarily by marketing high-end performance and BMX bicycles.

Organization and Structure