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What has been the impact of COVID-19 to the global motorcycle industry?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Just over a year ago, WHO declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic. While public health is the chief concern, the health pandemic has become an economic crisis of epic proportions and continues to have an immense impact on nearly all economies and sectors including the motorcycle industry.

Governments in most nations ordered society to stay at home and businesses to halt their operations. The crisis significantly affected our lives: how we interact, how we work, access to food and goods, education, how we move and travel and many other essential aspects of life.

The health pandemic has a huge impact in the transport and mobility sector significantly restricting and limiting the movement of people and goods and changing mobility patterns. Since the pandemic, all movement of people involves the practicing social distancing, complying with wearing personal protective equipment and procedures and equipment to limit spread of the virus.

On the Pandemic and its consequences, IMMA President, Mr Rakesh Sharma said during the IMMA General Assembly 21 April 2021: “Motorcycles and scooters demonstrated their resilience as a safe, convenient and affordable mobility and delivery tool during this health pandemic. IMMA members, national and regional associations continue to be engaged in a constructive dialogue with their respective authorities and partners in in the regions in order to support businesses and mobilists to move and contribute to a swift recovery of the economy".

After more than one year, the pandemic continues to persist in all regions of the world and mutations of the virus cause attention and concern. Societies continue to be confronted with diverse ‘waves’ while the vaccination campaigns have already begun.

Impact to Motorcycle Manufacturing and Distribution

As the COVID-19 virus spread progressively across the globe early 2020, a sharp decline of global motorcycle production and delivery was observed due to a full or partly closing of manufacturing and distribution facilities.

Disruptions in logistics distribution in almost all countries continued also in the second half of the year with, in some cases, additional lockdowns.

As the motorcycle industry involves numerous small and medium enterprises that manufacture components, the production continued to be significantly affected, also after the peak (March-April 2020) lockdown period.

Manufacturers quickly installed in company hygiene and sanitation protocols to support enable reactivation and support the demand. Practice of these protocols continues in most production and distribution facilities and goes forward in 2021. During the shutdown periods, in some regions, employees were obliged to take partially paid leave and in some cases contract workers were laid off. Disruption in motorcycle distribution continued in the second half of 2020, while in some countries, some recovery could be observed.

In Low- and Medium-Income Countries, it proved particularly challenging to recover from the pandemic by year end in 2020 back to pre-COVID levels: Indonesia (-44%), The Philippines (-29%), India (-23%), Thailand and Argentina (-17%), Brazil (-16%).

In the countries where the Coronavirus was better contained, such as Republic of China (Taiwan), recovery of the market could be more important.

Some high-income countries, where PTW-owners mostly also have a personal car in the household at their disposal such as Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, could recover by the end of 2020.

Considering the overall global trend in production and distribution in 2020, markets continue to recover slowly while in most cases the demand for powered two wheelers remains well below pre-COVID levels.

In all regions, motorcycle manufacturers have been contributing to or undertaking local voluntary relief support actions with local government, humanitarian organizations and society. Examples of such initiatives are donations of personal protective equipment, ventilator components and other health equipment, distribution of water and food in community kitchens and other support actions.

As the countries continue to battle with COVID-19, medical workers and other essential personnel rely often on motorcycles to ferry them to and from their workplace.

To keep business going, all regions saw a significant increase in delivery services, especially of food. In most LMIC, we could associate an increased professional use of motorcycles for these services, recognising the intrinsic benefits of Powered Two Wheelers: flexible, economical, requiring little parking space.

Some Governments (e.g., the Philippines) publicly recognized these intrinsic advantages of motorcycle citing motorcycle taxi operations as the safer mode of transportation. Other countries declared motorcycle dealership employees as essential (e.g., USA).

Lastly, some regional and national governments offered relief to the motorcycle industry to the sell-out stock of vehicles not sold due the temporary halt in the markets, (EU) or offered some lead time to meet updates in vehicle lighting requirements (Japan).

Outlook

Government support actions proved critical in the recovery of the industry during the first waves of the pandemic. Timely intervention and focused initiatives aimed at reducing pressure can help the industries resilience. Examples of good practices from the regions are

- relief support actions to sell out vehicle stock
- recognizing motorcycle servicing, distribution and food delivery as essential sector
- promote accessible, affordable and efficient motorcycle rider training

The pandemic is expected to have a profound and continued impact on the transportation sector in the decade 2021-2030.

Society and with it the transport and mobility sector is adapting on the fly to the developments while the same time aligning policies with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. This includes shifting mobility to active modes of transport such as walking and cycling under the ‘new normal in mobility’ together with a shift to public transport.

The pandemic demonstrated that many individual travelers and delivery service businesses owners favor using powered two wheelers. However, the benefits and sustainable role of powered two wheelers are still not recognized by the urban policy makers. Motorcycle mobility deserves positive attention, policy support and research. The most beneficial solutions require careful consideration of the local situation and context.

IMMA updates its Vision and Mission statement

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The IMMA General Assembly, held by teleconference on 21 April 2021, adopted the following updated vision and mission statement:

Vision:

IMMA as the global voice of the Motorcycle Industry, will promote solutions for safe, sustainable, socially responsible, and economically viable motorcycle mobility

Mission:

IMMA advocates and engages in the development and progressive harmonization of vehicle requirements within global regulatory forums
IMMA promotes motorcycling as effective, affordable and sustainable mobility solutions
IMMA supports the industry by addressing common challenges and opportunities

The update to the Vision and Mission had been in context of the challenging global pandemic affecting also the global motorcycle industry.

The Vision/Mission amendment implies a widening of IMMA’s scope of collaboration between the manufacturing industries in the regions on issues of common interest and references the global sustainable mobility agenda while highlighting importance of affordability of mobility solutions.

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IMMA President, Mr Rakesh Sharma said: “Motorcycles and scooters demonstrated their resilience as a safe, convenient and affordable mobility and delivery option during this health pandemic. IMMA members, national and regional associations continue to be engaged in a constructive dialogue with their respective authorities and partners in the regions to facilitate a swift recovery of the economy. Government support has proved critical in the recovery of the industry during the first waves of the pandemic. Timely intervention and focused initiatives aimed at resolving issues will immensely assist the industry to stage a comeback.”

The General Assembly took place during IMMA Spring Congress, 19 to 22 April 2021. This year’ Spring Congress edition was held again as a series of meetings by conference call due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

IMMA General Assembly appoints new Vice President

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Edward J. Moreland
Edward J. Moreland

The General Assembly, held by teleconference on 21 April 2021, elected Mr Moreland as Vice President of IMMA.

Affiliated to and president of the IMMA-member USMMA, Mr. Moreland brings a wealth of experience in his new role in IMMA.

Mr. Moreland is currently holding the position of Vice President Government Affairs with Harley-Davidson, Inc., As a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, Mr. Moreland has been leading the Company’s global government affairs team and served on the Steering Committee of IMMA for the past nine years. He also served as Senior Vice President, Government Relations for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and as Vice-President of the Commission on Mobility, Transport, Road Safety and Public Policy of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

Mr. Moreland stated after his election “I am excited to continue my service within the motorcycle community in this new capacity to advance the important work of IMMA. As a lifelong motorcyclist I know firsthand the advantages of riding as well as the challenges facing our industry. I look forward to working with industry, riders, and government to expand opportunities for riding around the world.”

​​​​​​​IMMA President, Mr. Rakesh Sharma said: “My sincere congratulations to Mr. Moreland on his appointment as Vice President. I look forward to working closely with Ed recognizing also his contributions made in IMMA during the last 9 years in IMMA’s Steering Committee. His appointment comes at a time of great challenges to our industry and Ed’s enormous experience will be a great asset for IMMA”.

The General Assembly took place during IMMA Spring Congress, 19 to 22 April 2021. This year’ Spring Congress edition was held again as a series of meetings by conference call due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More information:

USMMA – United States Motorcycle Manufacturers Association

USMMA is the association of motorcycle manufacturers headquartered in the United States of America. As founding member of IMMA, USMMA sits on the steering committee of IMMA. USMMA’s technical specialists contribute and offer leadership to diverse technical expert groups in IMMA.

Harley-Davidson, Inc.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Harley-Davidson Financial Services. Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has stood for more than building machines, we stand for the timeless pursuit of adventure. Freedom for the soul.
For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s Web site at

Real-world sound emission testing is becoming a reality for motorcycles

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Preparation for Noise test by IDIADA, Spain
Preparation for Noise test by IDIADA, Spain

The United Nations World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) has adopted in March 2021 an important amendment to the UN Regulation No. 41 concerning the approval of motorcycles with regards to vehicle noise emissions in order to introduce broader and more stringent testing. Coming on top of the regular pass-by noise test, the revised Additional Sound Emission Provisions (ASEP) reinforce the criteria for type-approval of motorcycles.

Committed to effectively limit the noise emitted by new motorcycles, IMMA have closely collaborated with regulators to improve the sound emission test procedure.

IMMA’s Technical Director Daniela Leveratto said "Motorcycles require test criteria specifically dedicated to their category to consider their characteristic road behavior, considering also that motorcycles are usually not covered by bodywork or fairings and they have, therefore, less space for sound dampening measures compared to cars. As from 1 September 2023, new types of motorcycles will have to undergo a more stringent methodology of testing their sound emissions in the Countries applying the updated UN Regulation No. 41, in conditions addressing their real use on the roads".

Working in a group of noise experts under the aegis of UNECE, the industry has proposed to widen the range of vehicle operating conditions for Additional Sound Emission Provisions (ASEP), presenting it in a new form called RD-ASEP, with a view to measuring real-driving (RD) conditions.

The improvements in the ASEP test procedure include among others:

- Widening the range of vehicle operations (vehicle speed, engine rpm);
- Introducing a non-constant speed approach to the measurement area;
- Allowing any constant throttle position within the measurement area;
- Covering any gear and any acceleration;
- Extending the sound measurement period, to include the deceleration of the vehicle
- Increasing the number of test points up to 18 instead of 4 currently, during type approval verification;
- Updating conformity of production and market surveillance provisions.

ASEP were first introduced into UN Regulation No. 41 in 2012 to reflect real-world motorcycle riding, by including additional test runs within a wider range of speeds - in several gear ratios - and ensuring that the results correlate with those obtained during the pass-by test.

About GRBP and WP.29
In existence for more than 50 years, and with participants coming from all over the world, especially the main motor vehicle producing countries, the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP 29) offers a unique framework for globally harmonized regulations on vehicles.
The Working Party on Noise and Tyres (Groupe Rapporteur Bruit et Pneumatiques - GRBP) is a subsidiary body of the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) that prepares regulatory proposals on vehicle noise and tyres for consideration and adoption by WP.29. To develop those requirements, GRBP conducts research and analysis.

UNECE Inland Transport Committee (ITC) round table on road safety

Friday, February 26, 2021
UNECE Inland Transport Committee
UNECE Inland Transport Committee

IMMA President Mr. Rakesh Sharma participated in the virtually held Round table “Road safety at a crossroads at the dawn of the new Decade of Action” of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC) of the UNECE.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ "Road safety is an existential issue for motor-vehicle manufacturers, not only as a societal obligation but also from a business point of view" ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ said Mr. Rakesh Sharma during the closing panel. Mr Sharma additionally confirmed the manufacturers’ willingness to be co-opted in building road safety solutions.

Ms. Luciana Iorio, Chair of WP.1 Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety, as moderator of the panel discussions stated her appreciation on IMMA’s contributions made over the years to activities of WP.1.

The Roundtable aimed to bring together key stakeholders for a strategic discussion on the new course of action to address the continuing crisis on global road safety since the international community was not able to achieve by 2020 the target 3.6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

Some of the speakers, including Mr. Jean Todt, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety and Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the UNECE, the Minister of Transport of the Netherlands Ms Cora van Nieuwenhuizen and Mr. Dmitry Mitroshin, Russian Federation referred to the ongoing shift in mobility patterns especially to individual modes of transport due to the health pandemic, posing new challenges.

Dr. Etienne Krug and Dr. Nhan Tran of the World Health Organization announced a global UN event by the end of 2022 to promote the new global plan for action 2021-2030 currently under development and expected for publication in September 2021. This plan will emphasize the need for a patchwork of local solutions tailored to local issues and promote progressive iterative improvements leading to a significant reduction in road accidents, injuries and fatalities.

Other contributions were made by Mr. Matthew Baldwin (EU Coordinator for Road Safety), Mr. Rob McInerney (CEO of IRAP), Mr. Yuwei Li - Director of UNECE Sustainable Transport Division and representatives of ESCWA Mr. Moctar El Hacene, Division Director and Mr. Weimin Ren, Director of the Transport Division of UN ESCAP.

The Round Table ‘s key note speakers also noted that the changed mobility and the safety and sustainability challenges resulting from the pandemic should also be considered as an opportunity for a new perspective on improving road safety worldwide.

83rd session of the Inland Transport Committee

With the subsidiary bodies as WP.1 and WP.29, the ITC provides global intergovernmental forum, where United Nations Member States and international Organizations and transport sector stakeholders come together to forge tools for economic cooperation and negotiate and adopt international legal instruments on inland transport.

The Inland Transport is attended by policy makers, including Ministers, deputy Ministers and Heads of delegations of Contracting Parties to the 59 United Nations Transport Conventions under the purview of the ITC. Seven of the 59 Conventions are closely linked to road safety.