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Industry amped for AIMExpo

Liz Keener, Managing Editor
September 23, 2013
Filed under Features

Show prepares for October debut by launching dealer marketing campaign

With about a month to go until the inaugural American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), the Motorcycle Group of Marketplace Events is in full gear, preparing for what is already shaping up to be a crowd-gathering event.

First announced more than a year and a half ago, the show has gained recognition, within and outside of the industry. That’s evident not only in the buzz, but also in the numbers. By late August, AIMExpo was pushing 340 exhibitors, a number that’s expected to increase as the show grows closer.

Among its list of well-known industry names are OEMs Yamaha and Suzuki and distributor Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice. Also exhibiting will be KYMCO, Massimo, Wolf Brand Scooters, Arai, Bell, ADP Lightspeed, ARI, GE, K&N, LeoVince and a variety of companies offering a range of products and services to the industry. German-made Rewaco Trikes will be showcasing its new U.S. operations as well.

And though major marketing to dealers, including an email, direct mail and telemarketing campaign, didn’t begin until August, the list of those already registered by then was swelling.

“The U.S. dealers that have registered so far, they’re not just from the Florida area, or they’re not just from the Upper Midwest, or Indy or Cincinnati or Chicago area. They are all over the country, and it’s a relatively even spread.

I mean, California, Oregon, it’s all over the map, which is really good,” Mike Webster, president of Marketplace Events’ Trade Show Division, told Powersports Business.

AIMExpo’s goal is to shape its show much like EICMA or INTERMOT, which draw exhibitors, industry members, consumers and media from across the world. In that vein, the expo is already making its mark globally.

“We have buyers coming from — I’m literally just looking down the list — Morocco, Pakistan, Denmark, France, Brazil, Japan, Venezuela, Canada … Costa Rica, the U.K., Panama, Sri Lanka, Belgium, China,” said Larry Little, vice president and general manager of the Motorcycle Group. “It’s just international, and that’s what we always had as part of our vision that we would be an international platform, that’s why it’s the American International Motorcycle Expo.”

Among the draws to the show is the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo, which will host both dealer and consumer seminars. The dealer portion features well-known industry leaders and other speakers focused on educating dealers. The education is being managed by Powersports Business and its sister publications Rider magazine and Thunder Press.

“It’s always, ‘What’s in it for me as a dealer? What can I take home and use right away?’ And I think top of the list is the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo seminars because that’s all actionable stuff,” Little said. “[Dealers] could almost come to the show and only go to the seminars and get full value for what they spent to come to the show, and the fact that they can demo ride at AIMExpo Outdoors, they can talk to aftermarket manufacturers and some key OEMs at the show as well, it makes the experience so much more uplifting and energetic than anything they’ve been accustomed to in recent years.”

At AIMExpo Outdoors, Yamaha will offer demo rides on its new FZ-09 motorcycle and Viking side-by-side. Suzuki and KYMCO will also offer test rides, and Massimo may as well. Dealers and consumers will be encouraged to take part in the test rides.

In part, the demo area has opened up new opportunities for AIMExpo. Though the show has the word “motorcycle” in it, it’s focused on the entire powersports industry. In fact, about half of the demo activity will involve ATVs and side-by-sides, and more off-road suppliers have been signing on as exhibitors as the show nears.

AIMExpo is set for Oct. 16-20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Oct. 16-18 is set aside for trade and media members, while the show opens to the public starting the afternoon of Oct. 18. Dealer registration is available online and is free through Sept. 27; after Sept. 27 registration is $35 payable at the door.

 

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