History of the National Council of
Motorcycle Dealer Associations
The history of the National Council of Motorcycle
Dealer Associations (NCMDA) begins forty years ago, when motorcycling in America
became mainstream in the sense that new, non-traditional riders started buying
motorcycles in sharply increasing numbers.
With the massive influx of new, exciting motorcycles
from the Far East to America's shores to compete with established brands like
Harley-Davidson, Norton, Triumph and BSA, domestic motorcycle sales quadrupled
from 1960 to 1970. With that deluge of new motorcycle sales, came an explosion
in the number of motorcycle dealerships. They ranged from single brand,
standalone glitzy (for the time) major single-line stores to farm implement
outlets that also happened to sell motorcycles.
With this veritable industry explosion, came
increasing calls from federal and state regulators, law enforcement officials
and lawmakers to regulate the noise, emissions, use and safety of this
previously mostly unregulated transportation choice.
In response to these growing calls for industry
regulation, the motorcycle manufacturers decided to partner with their dealers
to form a solid lobbying power that would employ all of the elements of this
fledgling industry - enthusiasts who became dealers, retailers and the
In 1971, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), a
trade association for the motorcycle manufacturers, opened an arm of their
organization that included establishing separate dealer associations in every
state and it was funded by the umbrella group.
By the mid-1970s, the number of motorcycle sales
almost doubled in five years, and with similar sales increases, the automobile
dealers began to insist on new franchise law protections in state legislatures
across the country. These gains were noticed by motorcycle dealers, who began to
agitate for similar protections from their manufacturers.
By 1974, recognizing the divergent interests between
dealers and manufacturers, the industry dissolved its dealer associations in
every state, and the groups were left on their own. Some states prospered, with
dealer activists and previous experience in passing laws and regulations in
their state. In many states, however, their associations languished and many
even failed to survive, leaving their dealers exposed to manufacturer mischief.
So, in 1975, activists from California, Oregon and
some 30 other states created a national motorcycle dealers association that
lasted about four years. It was headed and inspired by a young, aggressive
dealer association President from Oregon, Ed Lemco.
By 1980, however, dealers across America were more
consumed with selling motorcycles than dealing with legislation, regulations or
franchise issues because, once again, motorcycle sales had increased to their
highest level ever.
Some states' dealers, often in concert with their
automobile dealer cousins, enacted strong dealer franchise protections and dealt
effectively with safety issues like rider training, emissions regulations and
helmet laws. Twice more, attempts at building a national association were tried,
but were not successful in the long run. State motorcycle trade association
executives continued to network, however, in these decades before the internet,
e-mail and cellphones.
In August, 2000 Lemco convened a meeting at his
headquarters in Denver, Colorado, to explore another attempt at establishing a
national dealer association. What evolved was a networking group of 15 state
motorcycle dealer association directors that took the name of "Motorcycle Trade
Association Executives" or MTAE. This group met annually until 2005. This
federation's expressed intention was to share information among themselves on
all aspects of motorcycle dealer association management.
In 2005, Lemco, by this time the MTAE's Executive
Director, felt that it was necessary to expand it to a more effective
organization calling it the "National Council of Motorcycle Dealer Associations"
(NCMDA). So that year, the charter members incorporated in Florida, and their
members have been networking and meeting annually since then.
In 2011, Lemco passed away after a short illness,
and at its annual meeting in October, the NCMDA Executive Board reaffirmed its
commitment to attract as many motorcycle, motorsport and powersport dealer
associations, as possible.
A new Executive Director was selected to handle the
day-to-day business of running the association, and a website has been
The NCMDA welcomes each state's motorcycle dealer
association, organization or dealer group to join. Its declared purpose is to be
a resource for all state dealer associations, strengthen existing state
associations, and assist in opening new state associations or reactivate dormant
The NCMDA facilitates and promotes information
sharing among all state associations, and will support state legislative actions
when asked. It explores worthwhile revenue sources and programs for state
associations to be able to better represent their members.
The NCMDA promotes state and federal legislation
beneficial to dealers, and is committed to working with all state motorcycle and
automobile dealer associations.
The NCMDA also sincerely welcomes the opportunity to
work cooperatively with motorcycle manufacturers and their trade association
representatives on issues important to them and to America's motorcycle