New Cycle Sales Milestone Reached in 2006

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Industry growth continued its 14-year upward trend last year, the fourth year in which sales crested the million-unit mark, Motorcycle Industry Council President Tim Buche told a group of about 175 attending the MIC?s annual meeting here Friday.

"Once seen as the oddball pastime of street racers and wild ones, motorcycling is now largely viewed as a respectable form of recreation and, increasingly, transportation," Buche said. "For the industry, sales for the past five years have been at a great level. Rising fuel prices, increasing highway congestion and parking woes have given more people reason to trade four wheels for two, or dust off the old bike they haven?t touched in years."

The MIC?s preliminary estimate on new unit sales for all brands last year is 1,158,000 units, a slight increase from 1,149,000 in 2005.

"But our work isn?t done," Buche said. "It's more important than ever for the seasoned veterans of our industry to steer new riders toward making smart, responsible choices when it comes to motorcycling. A decade from now, the strength of our business will depend on an emerging generation of riders that we must nurture and develop right now."

The MIC lists 1973, when Americans bought more than 1.5 million bikes, as the pinnacle for annual motorcycle sales. Sales cooled in the 1980s and began to bounce back in 1993.

Domestic motorcycle sales figures in recent years:

1992 &#8212 278,000
1993 &#8212 293,000
1994 &#8212 306,000
1995 &#8212 309,000
1996 &#8212 330,000
1997 &#8212 356,000
1998 &#8212 432,000
1999 &#8212 546,000
2000 &#8212 710,000
2001 &#8212 850,000
2002 &#8212 936,000
2003 &#8212 1,001,000