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FOCUS – Scooters

While the largest scooter markets in the United States continue to be located in urban environments and within the Sunbelt states, industry sources tell Powersports Business that new product offerings may have finally cemented the acceptability of the scooter in powersports dealerships throughout the nation.
Scooters ranging in size from 50cc to 600cc are now being sold in the U.S. by a record number of manufacturers.
The Motorcycle Industry Council, Inc. (MIC) reports statistical abstracts for its member companies. According to MIC figures, 15,393 scooters were sold in 1999, when Honda and Yamaha each marketed only four models. Scooter sales by MIC companies reached 20,690 units in 2000; followed by 24,713 units in 2001 with the addition of Aprilia; 38,973 units in 2002 with the addition of Piaggio; and 46,680 units in 2003 with the addition of Suzuki.
MIC member companies retailing scooters during 2004 include Aprilia, Honda, Piaggio, Suzuki and Yamaha. The MIC says scooter sales through the first nine months of 2004 are estimated to be 6% above sales during the same period in 2003. Analysis shows the majority of sales growth was realized in January, February, May and June.
Dave Crocker, a senior partner for Power Products Marketing, a market research firm based in Minneapolis, says MIC member companies may account for approximately half of what he believes will be 100,000 scooters sold in the U.S. this year.
The remainder of the scooters likely to be sold in the U.S. come from dozens of non-MIC members — Bajaj, Derbi, Genuine, Kymco, Malaguti, TN’G, TGB and Vento, among others.
In this Powersports Business, we investigate and report on factors shaping the U.S. scooter market, from low-priced imports to the rise of the “Maxi”; speak with a number of leading suppliers; and provide a run-down of new models.

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