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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 manufacturers.

          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 established.

          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 ones. 

          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 retailers.

Our Mission As Written In Our Bylaws:

To be a resource for all state dealer associations.

To promote the welfare of state dealer associations.

To strengthen existing state motorcycle dealers associations.

To assist in the reactivation of dormant state dealer associations.

To promote and assist in the formation of new state motorcycle dealer associations.

To develop a basis for forward planning of new state motorcycle dealer associations with respect to state and federal legislation.

To facilitate and promote the sharing of information among all state motorcycle dealer associations with respect to state and federal legislation.

To facilitate and promote sharing of information with respect to recruitment of membership, retention of experienced and effective association management, selection of qualified legal counsel and advisors, and the development of revenue sources.

To cooperate wholeheartedly with all state motorcycle dealers and automobile associations.

To promote and support state and federal legislation beneficial to motorcycle dealers.

National Council of Motorcycle Dealer Associations
P.O. Box 399 Lake Elsinore CA 92531
Phone: (951) 471-1500 Fax: (951) 471-1577