Tag Archive for 'aftermarket'

AIMExpo Says Goodbye to Orlando

You Say Goodbye And I Say…

AIMExpo says goodbye to Orlando

After last year’s buyout of the American International Motorcycle Exposition (AIMExpo) from the original owner MarketPlace Events by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), most market watchers assumed that a) the OEMs that form the backbone of MIC would offer ongoing stability for the still young show, and that b) the event would make the jump across Orlando’s International Drive to the more appropriate, and much larger, North Hall, consolidating the outdoor activities while adding a more expansive venue.

Pack Your Bags. Again.

A month out, AIME dropped the first bombshell, announcing that 2016 would be the last show in Orlando as 2017’s event would hit the road for — the Columbus, Ohio, convention center. Which until now has been best known for hosting Arnold Schwartzeneger’s long-running series of body building championships.

That news hadn’t even completed the first lap when it was announced right before Thursday’s show opening that Columbus was a one and done, and that Las Vegas would welcome dealers in 2018 to a Mandalay Bay event, also in October.

A few select exhibitors hadn’t even finished their chorus of reliable quotes on why Columbus’ “500-mile radius” was key to attracting dealers in order to grow the event (it isn’t, given Peoples Exhibit A, DealerExpo) when the Vegas jump came out of the blue. If there was any question that MIC’s OEMs were wielding their muscle, this relocation eliminated any doubts.

Why It Matters

Why this matters involves pure marketing decisions by the show’s owners, and, like every realtor says, it’s about location, location, location. Powersports (read aftermarket) expos have been tried in Vegas before, and they’ve died in Vegas, even during the red-hot 2000s. OEM dealer meetings, on the other hand, thrive in the desert.

The move has all the earmarks of a purely strategic decision by Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki to consolidate their dealer programs closer to home and away from the proximate distraction of Daytona’s Biketoberfest.

I can’t say I’m not disappointed. Orlando remains a major international destination, and both venue and weather remain well suited to the outdoor activities which can’t be offered in a resort hotel facility.

Still, H-D was never a participant, and Kawasaki was a big hole in the lineup this year, after drawing plenty of attention with last year’s massive booth. Ducati was another no-show. Ditto BMW. And so it went.

This year’s swan song seemed almost a little melancholy, like the guy who came alone to the dance and stayed too late. Compared to the previous decade, many of the booths looked like they traveled as overhead luggage.

Warn, Pirelli, S&S, and Avon, among others, didn’t bring the A game of years previous. And speaking of others, Western Powersports, Parts Unlimited, Chrome Specialties, Tucker-Rocky, and Drag Specialties were among the major distributors whose absence, in favor of their own one-off shows for the past several years, severely hurts in the buzz building.

The Magic 8-Ball Says

It could be that the appeal of an aftermarket accessories driven trade show has passed its sell by date. Without support from manufacturers, dealers aren’t likely to make the investment in time and money to visit when much of what they’re selling is already on offer at the afore mentioned distributor sponsored shows. And without dealer support, manufacturers can’t be expected to continue their investment without a decent ROI. And this year’s announced dealer registration figure of just over 2,000 falls, to me, far short of fulfilling that expectation.

AIMExpo will in the future become a new model year bike show by the major manufacturers with some slots occupied by non-OEMs who either lack a distributor hookup, are doing okay with their own dealer direct and consumer direct programs, or just don’t want one.

Nostalgia for the way things were is notable, but unsupportable. Columbus ’17 looks to be the last real expression of the independent powersports aftermarket event.

ubm shuts down dealernews

ubm-advanstar-2015-12-18-at-9.02.51-AM.png

Five Decades of Dealernews Now History

In a stunning announcement that dropped December 16, Jim Savas, VP/GM of automotive at media conglomerate UBM Advanstar, announced the immediate end of Dealernews as of December 23, 2015.

After initially making the case for a robust online presence, well supported by more than respectable metrics, Mr. Savas then set January 1, 2016, as the cessation of Dealernews in print, on the web, and across all digital channels.

As of December 18, there was no mention on either Twitter or Facebook of the decision to shut down what many in the powersports industry considered the Gray Lady of motorcycle aftermarket B2B publishing. Continue reading ‘ubm shuts down dealernews’

orlando (really) likes powersports

Ducati joins growing list of OEMs to display

photo ©2014 john siebenthaler

Powersports Market On Road To Recovery

It’s been nearly a decade since the economic meltdown of the mid-’00s dealt a way harsh wakeup call to a party the powersports community thought would never stop.

The Everest-like growth curve many believed/hoped/wished would go on forever collapsed like a 3-pack a day smoker on an Ironman swim-bike-run.

It’s against that backdrop that last week’s second annual AIMExpo¬†powersports trade and consumer show in Orlando, in just its second year, seems to have planted their flag firmly atop the carcass of the once invincible Dealernews Dealer Expo, whose looming Chicago in December winter wonderland reincarnation of the event brand they once owned outright, seems now officially and forever dead in the court of public opinion. Continue reading ‘orlando (really) likes powersports’

pri to sema move signals big change

pri announces sale of event to motorsports giant sema

The Performance Racing Industry racing aftermarket manufacturers event announced the sale of their popular mid-winter event, held in recent years in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, to event competitor Specialty Equipment Market Association, known internationally for their hugely entertaining Las Vegas mega-show.

For event background and photos read my coverage of SEMA here, and my PRI experiences here. Both shows offer numerous educational and motivational opportunities.

According to the press release, PRI staff will remain in Laguna Beach, while the long-running event will remain in Orlando.

Both venues are extremely popular with their respective audiences, and enjoy a fair amount of crossover attendance from other segments, including powersports. SEMA’s profile skews more towards automotive and, by extension, motorcycle customizing, with emphasis on paint, accessories, and electronics.

PRI, on the other hand, is a big tent. This cross channel, hard core racing and performance venue aters to racing organizations, their fans and members. Representing everything from entry level karting to NASCAR Cup competition to ALMS to NHRA, if it uses an engine – whether tractor pulling, boat racing, a road circuit or speedway event – PRI is the marketplace for manufacturers. Notably absent: powersports, although this is prime territory for exploitation and well worth the investment.

What this might mean in the long run is unknown. At the very least, I’d expect SEMA to leverage the PRI venue as some kind of enhanced exhibitor bonus. Having attended SEMA seminars at PRI in the past, they’re no strangers to the racing market profile specific to PRI.

wal-mart’s brand marketing blunder

wal-mart rethinks choice, risks loyalty

Larry Silvey’s the editorial director at Advanstar’s Aftermarket Business, and a favorite target is retailing giant Wal-Mart. In a recent column he called them out on two fronts: their new, and puzzling, supplier relationship strategy in which they took over delivery duties of goods from supplier to store, and a marketing decision pitting store against name brand that apparantly backfired. Our interest lies mainly in the marketing side so we’ll leave logistics aside and look at what happened after Wal-Mart marketing decided less is more when it came to consumer choices in the shopping aisles. Continue reading ‘wal-mart’s brand marketing blunder’




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