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Open Letter to the Industry From Some of the Legends Who Helped Build It

Sponsored by Motorcycle Industry Council

Motorcycling has been good to us. We are fortunate to have built our careers in the best industry in the world. Collectively, we have more than 400 years in the industry. We’ve seen great innovation in new models bringing about tremendous performance enhancements and safety and convenience features. We’ve witnessed talented riders rise up through the ranks, dominate, and retire into roles helping to shape the future of our industry. And we worked to help the industry navigate tough times, especially during the Global Financial Crisis, which brought about a steep sales decline.

Every company worked hard to pull itself out of that decline. And while we are not fully back to pre-2008 levels, our industry has generated some great numbers, especially in the last 18 months.

We are on the right path, but we must continue to ensure we are building lasting connections with an ever-expanding group of potential riders. We must also acknowledge that the potential rider of today doesn’t necessarily resemble the potential rider of 10 years ago. The renegade “go it alone” approach won’t work now. Our competitors are not within the industry, but rather video games, autonomous vehicles, and travel, among others.

Thirty years ago our industry started MIC’s Discover Today’s Motorcycling (DTM) to influence mainstream media to positively portray motorcycling. This indirect approach worked to meet the needs of the time by integrating motorcycles into news coverage and into national advertising campaigns. We still see the benefits of this work in everything from Banana Republic ads to pharmaceutical commercials. But, as an industry we’ve lacked a unifying market expansion program that speaks directly to consumers, building interest, strengthening opportunities, and most importantly, increasing the number of consumers. Now is the time for a direct, unified market expansion effort.

Such a program must be welcoming to anyone interested in trying out life on a motorcycle. The new market expansion program launched by the Motorcycle Industry Council, Ride With Us, is what our industry needs now and for the future to reach potential riders and help us build a strong future together.

From the hands-on first-ride Moto Intros being deployed across the country, the new tools available online at RideWithUs.com, to the dealer tools helping make social connections easier and more productive, this program thoughtfully meets potential and returning riders where they are and helps guide them in their journey to becoming a rider. The messaging reaches across the digital and real-world communities, highlighting benefits of adding motorcycles to one’s lifestyle. And this is just the start.

How much time have we collectively spent talking to non-riding friends, beseeching them to “try it, try taking a class,” so they can go for a ride with us? Ride With Us amplifies this message across the nation, welcoming everyone to our community and breaking down the barriers associated with riding.

And the MIC is the right team to lead this effort. If you want to be part of our industry’s sustained renaissance, please reach out to Cinnamon Kernes ([email protected]), the MIC’s vice president of market expansion. She brings the perfect mix of marketing expertise and a passion for riding that will benefit the industry, current riders, and future riders.

Ride With Us is the right program, at the right time, led by the right team. We all need to rally behind the MIC’s efforts to grow our industry. Join the effort now.

Mark Blackwell
AMA HOF Legend, Consultant, Former Industry Executive & MIC Board Chair

Ray Blank
Former Executive, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Tim Buche
MIC President, 1996-2019

Jon-Erik Burleson
Managing Partner, Two- Wheel Group LLC

Silvio Carrara
Former Executive, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Gary Christopher
Former Executive, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Paul Golde
Former Executive, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.

Scot Harden
AMA Hall of Fame Off-Road Champion/ Powersports Industry Leader and Advocate

Larry Little
Former Executive, Cycle World & MIC Board Chair

Dennis McNeal
Former Executive, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. & MIC Board Chair

Bob Moffit
Retired Marketing & Sales Executive, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. & MIC Board Chair

Mark Pearlstein
Retired MC Division Executive, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Mike Peyton
Vice President – MINI of the Americas, BMW Group

Bob Starr
Corporate Communications Manager, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.

This article was sponsored by Motorcycle Industry Council. For more information, visit mic.org.

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