UK motorcycles: a multi-billion pound industry

Posted on 15 Apr 2015 by Callum Bentley

The motorcycle industry contributes billions of pounds to the UK economy each year, according to a new report.

The report was commissioned by the Motorcycle Industry Association as an update to a similar one published in 2010, and brings together some key data on the economic contribution made by the industry and identifies long term trends such as increased motorcycle use.

The Economic Benefits of the UK Motorcycle Industry 2014 calculates that about £5.3 billion is generated through net annual sales, with an added value of £2 billion.

The UK motorcycle industry contributes billions to the UK economy according to a new report.
About 3,000 people in the UK are employed in the manufacture of high quality motorcycles, components, clothing, accessories and fuel.

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.

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.

About 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.

The report breaks down the industry by five sectors:

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

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.

Further to this, the report goes on to establish that the industry pays more than £1 billion in tax and exports about £450 million each year

Motorcycle Industry Association CEO Steve Kenward said: “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.”