Bike sales rise, slowly

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"I could sell that." "Me too."

The Canadian loonie buffed up against the U.S. greenback in 2007 and demands for lower prices appeared to threaten the Canadian motorcycle industry, but new bike sales continued to climb last year.

According to statistics from the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council, sales of new bikes in Canada increased at a slower rate than in previous years, with total sales at 82,482 units, less than one per cent over the 2006 figure of 82,022.

The 2007 figure represents about $1.07 billion dollars in retail sales, says the MMIC.

The retail picture might be brighter, if a bit murkier, than it at first appears, however. MMIC president Bob Ramsay points out that sales figures gathered by the MMIC don’t include numbers from some small companies, new to Canada, that have not yet signed on with the MMIC. Given those additional sales, it’s possible that the total number of motorcycles sold in Canada increased more than the statistics show.

Ramsay thinks sales will continue to move upward in 2008 as the industry makes pricing adjustments to reflect the Canadian dollar’s rise in value against the U.S. dollar. "Overall the (Canadian) economy is still doing well," he says. "If interest rates remain low, we should have another good year and hopefully increase sales again in 2008."

For some perspective on recent sales activity, it’s worth noticing that 61,530 new motorcycles were sold in 2001, and 79,736 in 2004, according to MMIC reports.

In the U.S., sales dropped significantly in 2007, from 1,190,000 motorcycles sold in 2006 to a preliminary estimate of 1,105,000 in 2007, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.

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