The Excelsior-Henderson Intellectual Property sale will be the highlight of the 27th annual Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction at the South Point Hotel and Casino from January 23 to 27, with the premier lot going to auction on Saturday, January 27.
The sale comes at an interesting juncture in the history of the motorcycle, with the recent Future Market Insights (FMI) Report on the Global Motorcycle Industry forecasting that the world motorcycle market would grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.6 percent from 2017 to 2027.
The FMI report sees a bright future for motorcycles in the next decade due to growing urban congestion and the advantages of the motorcycle as a convenient and cost-efficient means of urban transport.
With particular reference to the logical market segment for any future Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles, the FMI report forecast that the cruiser motorcycle segment was expected to grow by 47 percent during the next decade and makes specific mention that the rise of "motorcycling clubs of cruiser motorcycles symbolized by the iconic American giant Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles has spurred the growth of the global conventional motorcycles market."
With India, China and to a lesser extent Indonesia now the main drivers of growth in world two-wheeled sales, and both markets thirsty for brands with a strong heritage, there is every likelihood that the name that was once a pillar of America's "Big 3" motorcycle manufacturers (Excelsior-Henderson, Harley-Davidson and Indian), may be sold overseas.
Our recent feature article on the Indian motorcycle marketplace highlighted the identifiable trend towards heritage brands, and how Royal Enfield (established 1901) now dominates global motorcycle sales for motorcycles over 250 cc.
Royal Enfield's success and status as one of the world's oldest motorcycle marques is the main reason that other long standing brand names have all partnered with, or been acquired by an Indian motorcycle maker in the last few years: Peugeot (since 1901), Triumph (since 1902), BSA (since 1903) and Husqvarna (since 1903) being the main ones.
Excelsior-Henderson is the amalgamation of two original brands that were founded in 1912 and 1907 respectively, and became one of the symbols of America's manufacturing and engineering prowess during the Roaring Twenties before becoming a victim of the Great Depression and closing shop in 1933.
The Excelsior-Henderson name was resurrected in 1993 with $100 million invested and around 2000 motorcycles produced in 1997 and 1998, before the company failed to secure additional investment in 1999 and was partially sold off.
Whilst Harley-Davidson production has endured continuously since it was founded in 1903, the third member of the "Big 3", Indian, has had an even more tumultuous history since the original company closed shop in 1953, with no less than eight attempts to revive the brand before its current owner, Polaris Industries, gave the name the corporate substance and support it needed for a full resuscitation.
Indian Motorcycles recently returned to professional flat track racing after more than 60 years away from the sport, sweeping the 2017 American Flat Track Championship and powering Jared Mees to the 2017 AMA Grand National Championship. With numerous promotional racing efforts underway across the globe, the Indian motorcycle profile looks to have been restored to its glory years and the company looks to have now built the momentum required for long term profitability.
The immediate future of Excelsior-Henderson is now set, and it will be sold in a very public spectacle, streamed live on the internet from Las Vegas on January 27, 2018.