MILAN, Italy — EICMA, the Milan International Bicycle and Motorbike Exhibition held here Sept. 16-21 is the largest motorcycle show in the world this year. Motorcycles and scooters were the most prominent products, followed by bicycles and accessories. There was a sprinking of other powersports products, ATVs, PWC and snowmobiles, but not many.
It was interesting, though, to watch Asians crowding around snowmobiles at the Polaris Industries exhibit. Will we be seeing sleds from the far east?
EICMA officials said a record 1,842 exhibitors participated, of which nearly 39% were from 37 foreign countries. The show covered the equivalent of approximately 785,000 sq. ft. in 14 buildings. Close to 750,000 persons attended the the six-day event. The showfloor was open only to the industry and journalists Tuesday and Wednesday; consumers were admitted Thursday through Sunday.
By comparison, the Dealer Expo in Indiapolis this year attracted some 16,000 visitors; there were 923 exhibitors occupying 595,000 sq.ft.
Representatives of the Italian Trade Commission, based in Los Angeles, Calif., did a good job of assisting U.S. reporters covering the event—there were more than 2,000 journalists from around the world working the event. But lanquage was a problem, especially in some of the major OEM exhibits where it was often difficult to find a knowledgable representative who spoke English.
And many of the OEMs quickly ran out of prepared materials designed for reporters earlier in the show. And often, available marketing materials were not in English.
Generally, consumers were upbeat about motorcycle and scooter products and accessories, said exhibitors.
“I would use three words to describe the show,” says Filippo Muzzo, marketing manager for Honda Italy: People, interest and optimisim.”
Claudio Castigioni, president of MV Agusta. “The (traffic) and the interest in new models was much higher than expected,”
One of the trends identified by exhibitors and others associated with the Show is the growing number of women visitors.
Comments byRoberto Brovazzo, general director of Moto Guzzi, were typical: “People seem more interested in motorbikes, especially women. I’ve never seen so many.”
Not everything was perfect, however. Italian executives discussed potential problems for the industry as China’s powersports manufacturing capability continues to grow.
Ivano Beggio, president of EICMA and ANCMA (The national motorcycle association similar to this country’s MIC) took a shot at China’s aggressive tactics during a press conference at the show’s opening ceremonies.
“Competition without rules by Asian countries represents a danger not only to the bike industry but for all component sector(s) including the producers of helmets. The stance taken by ANCMA … is clear: without asking for the introduction of duties, the Italian companies ask for a determined effort against anything which changes the basis of competition, from the illegal copying , dumping and the fixing of unsustainable exchange rates.”
Claudio de Viti, ANCMA’s man in charge of the motorcycle and scooter segment voiced these same concerns in an interview with Powersports Business later in the show. (See Page 5.)
Several U.S. companies exhibited at the show, led by Harley-Davidson and Polaris Industries. Several aftermaket suppliers, Parts Unlimited and the MIC also participated. “We just wanted to see what the reaction (to the Victory) would be,” said Mark Blackwell, Victory general manager.
Just as concept vehicles draw lots of attention at major auto shows, concept bikes were popular at EICMA, especially Kawasaki’s flashy ZZR-X.
EICMA’s not to be covered in one visit and that’s understandable. Afterall, Italy is second only to Japan in motorcycle production and is a world leader in motorcycle parts, accessories and apparel.
Copyright 2003 Powersports Business