April 2 2009.

The UK motorcycle industry should be eligible for the same levels of support as those offered by the government to the car sector. The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) is backing the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM)'s call for similar measures to those devised for the car sector, to be applied to the powered two-wheeler industry in order to counter the economic crisis.

While the UK PTW market proved resilient throughout most of 2008, new registrations are beginning to decline. Given the importance of the motorcycle industry to jobs, wealth creation and the environment, the MCI is calling for the UK motorcycle industry to be given access to those government assistance packages which currently overlook or explicitly exclude the motorcycle industry.

Gathering for their annual General Assembly hosted by Ducati in Bologna, Italy, ACEM members noted that the European Commission recently announced initiatives and instruments to fight the downturn in the automotive sector, and resolved that, due to its similarities to the car sector, the PTW industry should be entitled to the same benefits. The PTW sector needs the same urgent and drastic measures aimed at preventing a prolonged period of recession, supporting manufacturing and continuing to drive forward the environmental goals that are shared by policy makers and manufacturers.

The communication on the European automotive industry, presented on February 25th by the European Commission, clearly shows the need for urgent action and lists various options and tools. Inclusion of PTWs in the scope of the European Commission's measures to respond to the crisis in the automotive sector would secure the future of an otherwise healthy and innovative industry.

Stefan Pierer, ACEM president and CEO of Austrian manufacturer KTM Sport Motorcycles, stated: "By identifying a series of tools and measures to support the automotive sector, the EU has shown its ability to act in times of crisis. Not unlike the car sector, the motorcycle industry is experiencing the same kind of problems and, despite our lesser size, we need the same kind of tools if we are to successfully overcome this downturn."

Steve Kenward, MCI chief executive, added "The environmental and congestion-busting benefits of motorcycling are unarguable and are worthy of the same support being offered to the four-wheel market, as is an industry which employs 15,000 people, predominantly in small and medium-sized businesses, and turns over more than £3 billion a year. The MCI has urged the chancellor to offer a VED holiday to all new PTWs to boost consumer confidence, and has called on the UK government to open the Automotive Assistance programme to the motorcycle sector."

According to ACEM, European member states must tackle the PTW industry's problems with the same determination applied to the car sector. Viable businesses and jobs are at stake in the motorcycle industry as well, which is being hit by the current economic crisis with new registrations down and poor forecasts for 2009.

Another pressing issue to be resolved is the limited access to credit due to the non-functioning of the financial market. Action must be taken now without further delay to lift bureaucratic barriers and speed up implementation at national level. A co-ordinated European policy would not only ensure more fairness and respect for EU competition rules but - more importantly - greater efficiency in a single, European market.