For a while now I have been trying to figure out what exactly the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) does, because while the MIC “exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations…” the industry group does a pretty poor job of doing much of anything along the lines of its mission statement, if it does anything really at all. Showing signs of life though, the MIC is making headlines today after it disclosed Harley-Davidson’s Q1 2012 earnings, ahead of the publicly-traded company’s shareholder meeting. Nice.
The move caused a bit of a shuffle over in Milwaukee, as the Bar & Shield brand had to make an emergency filing with the SEC that it had in fact found a 25.5% sales gain in the first three months of the year (bravo to Harley, by the way). For those that aren’t as a familiar with the MIC, the nonprofit group is essentially comprised of representatives from the various motorcycle OEMs, aftermarket, and other industry businesses, and is the corporatation-focused counterpart to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), which supposedly has the best interests of motorcyclist at its heart.
“The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. As a not-for-profit, national industry association, the MIC seeks to support motorcyclists by representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts and accessories, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies and consultants.”
You should note the interesting progression in that statement, where the MIC claims that since its has the best interests of motorcycling’s corporate entities at heart, it therefore serves motorcyclists as well — I don’t even have the strength to address the colossal conflict of interest between those two parties, nor do we need to get into how the MIC fails to serve motorcyclists…not that the AMA really does either. Moving along, while the MIC was preserving and protecting whatever interests it actually does serve in its day-to-day tasks, Harley-Davidson dropped the following note off with the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC):
“On April 20, 2012, the Motorcycle Industry Council released to its members certain information regarding the motorcycle industry in the United States, including Harley-Davidson, Inc. (the “Company”), subject to terms of applicable restricted use agreements. The Company learned that one of the members of the Motorcycle Industry Council, in apparent violation of those terms, disclosed information in a research update, presumably based on the contents of the Motorcycle Industry Council report. While the Company will not confirm the contents of the research report, the Company is confirming that U.S. retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles by independent dealers were up 25.5% for the first quarter of 2012 compared to the first quarter of 2011. The Company must rely on information that its dealers supply concerning retail sales of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and this information is subject to revision.”
With the US motorcycle market up 6.7% in the Q1 of this year, Harley’s 25.5% increase is looking exceptionally strong — especially since it accounts for the lion’s share of that growth. In other news, be sure to check out the MIC’s latest campaign, where dealerships can download animated e-cards to help promote…oh hell, who am I kidding?