There are more than 100 businesses in Connecticut involved with motorsports; from franchised dealers and independent accessory shops, repair facilities, and used vehicle dealers to insurance agencies, distributors, manufacturers, and other interested parties. In addition, there are potential associate members outside the state, such as manufacturers, distributors, insurance companies, and others who service and sell to our members.
Past experience has shown that most businesses in our industry will not join this association of their own accord. Instead, we must mount an aggressive membership drive.
NOTE: The number of franchised dealers is shrinking by mergers and acquisitions. Future growth of membership will require attracting the independent shops.
One important trend is the hectic nature of our lives combined with increasing competitiveness in the marketplace, not just from our own industry, but from a wide range of products and services targeting our customers' dollars. In addition, mail order and Internet marketers also erode our market share.
A more positive trend is that new motorcycle and other powersports equipment sales seem to be increasing. Consumer confidence is up and so is consumer spending.
According to the D.J. Brown Composite Index in Dealernews magazine, the motorcycle industry is celebrating its seventh straight year of expansion. And it's not just cruisers and sportbikes, the report continues, it's also touring bikes and dirtbikes. Street motorcycles, including cruisers, sportbikes, tourers, and standards are up 17% through the end of 1998. Today's retail sales produce more than 3.5 times the dollars produced in 1983.
In addition, Powersports research, also reported in Dealernews, stated that "56% of motorsports customers turn to their friendly neighborhood dealer for all of their routine service work."
For the most part, our members and potential members are very small businesses with limited resources for training and marketing. We can help them improve their earnings and increase the value of their investments with sales and management training and well as marketing information and marketing aids.