Tag Archive for 'motorcycle'

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.

mij powersports job board updates site

web site introduces new user convenience

Who says job boards have to look like crap? Alex Baylon’s popular Motorcycle Industry Jobs web site gets a fresh coat of paint and polish with a relaunch that features simpler, faster search and an easy-on-the-eyes UI overhaul.

Improvements include the ability of registered (free – woot!) job seekers to create and manage their resumes online, with the added convenience of accessing their social media channels, specifically LinkedIn, for content.

Interested? Scoot on over to motorcycleindustryjobs.com and plant your flag.

m-b to sell smart ev scooter in 2014

mb’s smart ev scooter is set to sell

I take last week’s news of Daimler’s entry into the green scooter market come 2014 as more of a solidification of their alt transport low-zero emissions SMART brand than any sudden two-wheeled epiphany. Miniscule financial risk, max pr value, and a lot of genuine utilitarian functionality backed by diamond plated quality control, first class marketing, global distribution, and built-in market affinity even though Smart car sales haven’t exactly soared as first envisioned.

The news accompanied the announcement by Reuters of this summer’s Smart ForTwo four-wheeled ev launch.

How tough will it be to convince yacht sailing, pied-á-terre dwelling, polo pony riding ‘Benz owners to swipe their debit card and pick one up – I see a discreet POS gift card offering by the cashier’s window – on the way out of the dealership? Answer: not too. You’ll look in vain, by the bye, for these same folks at a local indie scooter store.

Not everyone’s convinced. This Automotive News critique after the initial 2010 announcement pans not just M-B, but the entire scooter riding universe. Oh well. For Daimler it’s almost all about reputation: expecting however many scooter sales to add significantly to the bottom line is hallucinatory. Much easier to boost profits selling Dyson cordless vacs as P&A. A rolling ev test bed, on the other hand, is not, and that’s scaleable.

For in-depth analysis of M-B’s 2-wheeled move, Martin Racing Performance’s blog goes on at length and in great detail on Daimler’s decision, with insider perspective on what it means for the nascent EV scooter/mc channel overall.

Magic 8 Ball: if this does work out, might the technology be licensed to existing badges? One might well imagine.

what’s it like? don’t ask – just watch

 if you have to ask…

Next to “What came first?” the most difficult question asked by non-riders is what’s it like to ride a motorcycle. It’s a question that’s given rise to countless variations of the same t-shirt, all to the point that if you have to ask you’ll never understand.

Which brings me to this wonderfully expressive short by motojournalism. Two guys, reflecting on a lifetime of deep friendship and mutual respect, made possible by a jointly shared love of offroad riding.

I’m still not sure if it explains what riding’s like to someone who doesn’t. But it sure worked to raise my pulse a couple of notches.

powersports pays price for poor pr

 

the slippery slope to silliness

Several years ago I put together an easy to follow guide that offers solutions for three of the most common errors made by DIY publicists. Since then I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of powersports announcements distributed under the hi-jacked heading of FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE! So poorly constructed they’re cause to wonder if a Kazakhstan goat herder isn’t ghost writing for the crowd source marketplace, they neither inform nor promote. No offense to my herder friends.

There’s a phrase common enough to pr practitioners (hack) that’s either a label of shame or badge of some distinction, if only among peers. Without naming names – and, sadly, you probably don’t know who you are – I’m gobsmacked at what the aftermarket seems willing to accept under the guise of published, presumed to be positive, information about products, services, and events by the former.

This isn’t about the errant comma, occasional misplaced modifier, or missing apostrophe. I’m raising the alarm over the wholesale abandonment of fundamental principles of grammar, any notion of style, and the essentials of literacy. Who needs complete sentences when an odd lot assortment of disjointed words strung randomly together into incoherent phrases passes as sense.

“air quotes” run amok amid out of control malaprops

I’m usually not a hard-core stickler for AP style, but. The increasingly sloppy gibberish masquerading as product praise not only offends my professional eye, but to the point does serious damage to a manufacturer’s online reputation and in-store brand. Unless, that is, the brands footing the bill think LOL ridicule is a desirable goal.

And it’s permanent. Once published to the web, these unintentional examples of no-talent hilarity circle the internet forever, ghost ships of puff piece silliness showing up on Google search “doh!” in perpetuity.

If you can’t hire a pro – and by that I mean someone possessed of a) basic writing skills and, b) a fundamental understanding that English, not Farsi, is North America’s marketing lingua franca – please take advantage of my basic tips for improving reputation and readership.

product design hits and misses

Fast Company Cries Foul

since you put it that way, what was erik thinking?

Who says you can’t beat that dead horse? Fast Company compares Ulysses to Barcolounger! Whoop! Buell gets a posthumous dressing down over on Fast Company’s Design channel. Their current pictorial serves up a night and day visual of the role design plays in the consumer acceptance cycle. Message? I guess you know it when you see it. Screw around too much and you’ll pay the price: see iPod vs. (M.C.) Hammer clown pants over on the United States of Design for rock solid proof of usually avoidable consequences based on (bad) taste alone. Which is why the t.v. audience for Boise State home games will never exceed friends and family.

us highland execs die in plane crash

US Highland Motorcycles COO Chase Bales, company President Mats Malmberg and CFO Damian Riddoch died in a plane wreck Saturday, July 10. According to initial news reports, their twin-engine aircraft, registered to and piloted by Mr. Bales, apparantly ran out of fuel and crashed short of the runway while attempting to land at Tulsa International Airport as they returned from a Pontiac, Michigan business trip.

us highland is an american motorcycle manufacturer

US Highland had just opened a new manufacturing facility in Tulsa for their critically acclaimed build-to-order motocross, supermoto, quad, enduro and dual sport high performance motorcycles. The May 30th open house drew international coverage, much of it focused on the innovative stainless frame and engine combinations offered by the Husqvarna inspired effort originally launched in Sweden.

US Highland is a genuine American manufacturer of high performance street and offroad motorcycles. Their proprietary four-stroke multi-valve engine design, available in either single or v-twin versions with displacements ranging from 250cc to an on the drawing board 1050cc, captured the attention of the trade in large part because of the significant advancement in EFI development by the Oklahoma startup.




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