Distributors plan big outing at Expo
February 10, 2003
Filed under Features
The big guys plan to make major statements at this year’s Dealer Expo with new, bigger exhibits and lots of new products.
Parts Unlimited, Tucker-Rocky and Global Motorsports will have the largest spaces at the Expo. Tucker and Global will have flashy new exhibits to reflect changing organizations and product lines. Parts, and its sister company, Drag Specialties, will again have its huge allocation of floor space that will include three semi-tractor trucks.
While Parts Unlimited may have the most space, set up across several areas, Tucker-Rocky is claiming the largest single exhibit. At 7,700 sq. ft. (110 x 70 feet), it’s the largest single booth space at the Expo, says Bill Carter, Tucker’s marketing vice president. Last year, Tucker had 6,000 sq. ft., spread across four areas that were allocated to private offices, Tucker-Rocky, Biker’s Choice and Answer/MSR products.
The exhibit is all new, says Carter, and will be unveiled at the show. It’s booth # 700, near the main entrance of the show floor.
Tucker-Rocky will have a unique demonstration during the three-day event that could draw plenty of attention.
Tucker offers a bike-in-a-box package under the its brand name Big Easy. The distributor will completely assemble one of these packages from scratch during the show.
“We’ll have a finished one, completely chromed and accessorized in one corner,” said Carter, “and we’ll be building another one in the same area. It’ll be finished by the time the show ends. It’s just one of the fun things we’ll be doing there.”
Tucker also will be showing off many new house brands and products from several new lines it has recently acquired — which include Pro-Tek accessories for sport bikes, Twin Aire filters, and Excel rims.
Tucker also is expanding its line-up of in-house brands, as well, says Carter. These include CoverMax bike covers, Bully motorcycle locks, and new products in the Biker’s Choice and River Road lines. There also will be several products carrying the Big Easy brand.
“We’re not stopping there. We’re revamping our entire product portfolio,” says Carter.
Meanwhile, perhaps one of the most notable changes among distributor presentations at the show may be at the Custom Chrome exhibit, booth # 625 and #635. Chrome’s parent company, Global Motorsports Group, has combined the operations of Custom Chrome and a sister
company, Chrome Specialties, into one opera-
tion under the Custom Chrome banner. The new, combined exhibit, will cover about 5,000 sq. ft. Global’s third company, Motorcycle Stuff, will have a separate exhibit, but will be located across the aisle from the Chrome exhibit at booth #834.
Each exhibit will have its own identity and the staffs will dress differently. “The two companies will have uniquely separate messages,” notes Esposito.
“This will be the first time we present the two companies (Custom Chrome and Chrome Specialties) as one,” said Frank Esposito, Global president. “It reflects a new direction for the company, combining all the resources and people into one product on the Harley-Davidson side of the business.”
The completely new Custom Chrome exhibit will feature a “techie, garage-type of feel with plenty of chrome and glitter” and will cover about 5,000 sq. ft, says Kip Woodring, Global’s marketing manager.
One of the notable signs of the combination will be Custom Chrome’s new catalog that combines, for the first time, products from both Custom Chrome and Chrome Specialities. In the book’ s 1,450 pages are close to 25,000 products, including 3,000 new items.
“This was a huge effort — bringing the two product lines together, combining catalogs and warehouse facilities, giving dealers one ID number, and realigning reps,” says Esposito. “But we’ve completed the transition and set up our distribution centers and we’re ready to go for spring.” The distribution changes include closing facilities in Des Moines, Iowa, Houston, Texas, and Chesapeake, Va., and expanding the Harrisburg, Penn., warehouse.
Global also has built a new management team in the past year, many of whom will be on hand at Indianapolis. The group is headed by David Sadler, chairman and CEO, and includes Esposito, formerly president of Tucker-Rocky, and Maurice Murray, vice president of marketing, who joins Global from S&S Cycle.
Esposito also told Powersports Business that Global is now the exclusive North American distributor for Ferodo brake pads, Teknic apparel and KBC helmets.
Although Parts Unlimited and its associated ventures — Thor and Drag Specialties — will be represented in a number of booths throughout the Indianapolis Convention Center and RCA Dome, Parts Unlimited’s Greg Blackwell says the firm’s main areas will be around the Parts, Thor and Drag semi-tractor trailer trucks.
“Our booth is pretty much in the same spot it has been during the last couple of years,” Blackwell told Powersports Business. “It’s a little bit bigger, and people will notice that it has a different shape to it in an effort to add a little more space.”
Space is always an issue at the Dealer Expo, and Parts is looking for as much space as it can get in an effort to show off its product, programs and Web-based purchasing systems. New Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited street catalogs with updated product also will be available at the Expo.
“The number one thing I think dealers should look for from Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties is our Indy Specials. That’s the way we celebrate Indy and the biggest show of the year,” Blackwell said. “What we do is have specials, which are discounts on most of our product lines, over and above what you would get out of any of our normal programs; so dealers definitely need to get to the booth to find out what those are.”
“We really do have mountains of new products,” Blackwell continued. “Certainly, if you look at the Drag side, we have a new exhaust called Rinehart by BUB that will likely be a homerun, we have new wheels that will be introduced; and just a lot of new Harley products presented in partnership with name-brands like Arlen Ness, Performance Machine, etc.
“On the Parts Unlimited side, we have a lot of new house-brand products — new products for our Icon line; new products for our Z1-R helmet line; and certainly new riding apparel, hard parts and casual gear from Moose and Thor.”
New AGV helmet models; new apparel and boots from Alpinestars, and new Ohlins shocks for Harley-Davidson Softail models also plan to be introduced, and will join new applications from firms like SBS and DP.
Parts also plans to reintroduce the Arctiva line — nine adult jackets, eight bib styles, plus kids’ gear and gloves — at the Expo.
“But perhaps the most interesting thing for dealers to see will be our demonstrations of the partsnetweb.com and dragnetweb.com Internet programs,” Blackwell said. “That’s something that continues to evolve, and something dealers should really come and take a look at it.
“We will be demonstrating the systems — showing dealers how they can look at their sales history, check orders, print invoices, look at what they bought, find out what our latest close-outs are, what our specials are, what new programs may be, etc. Literally anything our company does is up on the partsnet or dragnet Web.”
Blackwell said several PCs will be set up to allow dealers a hands-on experience, “and we plan on sending a bunch of people from our IT department to answer questions, help dealers, and even get them signed up,” he said.
Beyond the Dealer Expo and throughout 2003, Blackwell says, “dealers can expect the same consistent programs and fill-rates that they’ve come to expect from us. We haven’t backed off the throttle, and we’re continuing to move forward like we have for the past eight to 10 years.”