By direct emails and also via the comments section of this Blog, many of you ask me my opinion about what’s going to happen in 2009 in the motorcycle industry. I reproduce below a short summary of what I think and already wrote to answer the question of one of these readers.
“Regarding the motorcycle industry, I think that the level of activity is going to stay the same than this year. Not worse because the automotive industry degradation was faster and deeper than in other sectors (except Real Estate and Finance). The fact that a very large percentage of bikers work for the car manufacturers and their vendors, and that the car industry is going to maintain most of its jobs is a rare + for us, or at least a factor of stabilization.
Psychology of consumers is extremely important. Whatever you think of our new elect President, he is a huge boost of confidence for Americans and the rest of the world. Obama can be trusted on his will and ability to tackle our problems one per one. Even if it takes 4 to 8 years to accomplish what has to be done, Obama is going to be in 2009 a big psychological boost for consumer confidence. It should help a lot.
I follow closely all what’s happening in Europe. Except England & Spain (doing as bad as the US), all other european countries are living a quite mild recession (a recession exported by American banks). European credit card debt is extremely low because consumers use only or mainly debit cards and most of them are buying real estate with at least a 20% down payment and after a stringent income verification. It’s towards these countries that new marketing efforts must be directed (Harley is doing pretty good in Europe). The fact that the dollar remains so low and will probably go even lower versus the Euro (because the US continues to lower its rates to help credit), is a huge added + to justify selling in Europe.
I am so convinced of the European potential , as a complement of my activities (and because my background) is in marketing/advertising/pr, that I restarted to consult for companies wanting to market their motorcycle products & services to the old continent.