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U.K.: Motorcycle industry economic impact study released

News release

The motorcycle industry contributes billions of pounds to the UK economy each year, according to a report published today. The Economic Benefits of the UK Motorcycle Industry 2014 calculates that:

  • £5.3billion is generated through net annual sales, with an added value of £2billion
  • The industry directly employs 58,500 people in 5,700 businesses, plus an additional 16,400 jobs through motorcycle businesses purchasing goods and services from other UK sectors
  • Pays over a £1billion in tax
  • Exports equal around £450 million each year
  • Tourism associated with motorcycling is estimated to support an additional 13,200 jobs

The report breaks down the industry by five sectors, which include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution and retail
  • Repair, servicing and maintenance
  • Sports and leisure
  • Support services, which include finance and insurance

It shows that the £2billion ‘added value’ generated by the motorcycle industry is more than the following industries:

  • Retailers of automotive fuels, lubricants and cooling products (£1.2billion)
  • Call centers (£1.4billion)
  • Performing arts (£1.5billion)
  • PR and communications activities (£1.3billion)

The number of jobs supported by the industry is more than:

  • Taxi driving (36,000)
  • Manufactures of pharmaceuticals (50,000)
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing activities (46.000)
  • Manufacture of textiles (47,000)

Social benefits:

  • Saves the NHS several million pounds a year through voluntary ‘blood biker’ services, couriering life saving products
  • Used by emergency services to cut through traffic
  • Addresses transport poverty through Wheels to Work schemes

About the report

The report was commissioned by the Motorcycle Industry Association as an update to a similar one published in 2010. It was produced by ICF Consulting Services Ltd and brings together some key data on the economic contribution made by the industry and identifies long term trends such as increased motorcycle use. It also assesses the impact of tourism expenditure and estimates the number of jobs supported as a result (see section 5).

The market

The report states that the motorcycle industry has ‘demonstrated resilience’, despite difficult economic conditions. Motorcycle retail and distribution was hit in line with other retail sectors during the economic downturn. Sales declined during this period, exports actually increased slightly.

After a period of bottoming out, new registrations have begun to climb. In 2014 they were up around 10%, with similar rates of growth in the first quarter of 2015.

UK Manufacturing

The report shows around 3,000 people in the UK are employed in the manufacture of high quality motorcycles, components, clothing, accessories and fuel. Triumph Motorcycles plays a major part in contributing to these figures, but the report also highlights the contribution of a number of smaller high value high performance manufacturers including Norton, CCM and Métisse. There are also UK businesses involved in the development and manufacture of electrical and other low carbon motorcycles. These include Agility Global, which makes a high performance electric sports bike and Intelligent Energy, which is working with Suzuki to develop the first commercial fuel cell vehicle.

CEO Steve Kenward says this document should be read by all those making policy decisions about transport:

“There are now nearly twice as many motorcycles licensed (and license exempt) for the road than there were 20 years ago and the general trajectory for motorcycle use is upwards. Around a third of all new registrations are for smaller motorcycles, likely to be used for commuting, and we see this as an increasing trend with motorcycles helping to tackle congestion as part of a low carbon future.”

The report is available online, via the resource section of the MCIA website:


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