MILAN, Italy — Rivalry from other major events, bad weather and transportation strikes weren’t enough to diminish attendance at the 64th EICMA International Milan Motorbike Show (EICMA 2006).
Held Nov. 14-19 in the new Milan/Rho Exhibition Center, EICMA 2006 featured nearly 1,100 motorcycle-related companies showing product within 1.33 million square feet of exhibition space. Organizers said approximately 530,000 consumer and trade visitors attended the six-day event, eclipsing last year’s record turnout by more than 30,000 attendees.
Historically a trade show held every two years in November and alternating with Germany’s Intermot in October, EICMA was switched to an annual event in 2005. As a result, EICMA 2006 marked the first time in five decades the show took place in a year ending in an even number. With Intermot scheduled so close to EICMA, EICMA organizers said they were not sure how the international powersports community would respond.
Visitors to both EICMA and Intermot were able to recognize differences between the two events. EICMA organizers said exhibitors came from 32 countries. Intermot organizers said exhibitors came from 120 countries. Intermot also featured a larger contingent of U.S. companies.
Nevertheless, Guidalberto Guidi, president of the Italian Association of Motorbike and Accessory Manufacturers (ANCMA) — EICMA’s owner — said he was “hugely satisfied” with the turnout.
EICMA Director Constantino Ruggiero concurred. “This amazing result is much more than we predicted,” he said. “We have to be thankful to the Italian motorbike industry who loyally supported the show and focused on Milan.”
Ruggiero said EICMA’s “success” was based on three offerings that each targeted a distinct group. He said one offering was a series of seminars dubbed The Forum, designed to appeal to manufacturers; a second offering, The Exhibition, or actual trade event, was designed for dealers and distributors; and a third offering, the 646,000 square foot MotoLive outdoor arena, was created to appeal to consumers.
“EICMA is not just a trade exhibition — although this is obviously its core business — but also a cultural reference point and an occasion to excite enthusiasts,” Ruggiero said.
‘A CULTURAL REFERENCE POINT’
As Ruggiero suggests when he calls EICMA a “cultural reference point,” motorcycling is deeply rooted in Italy, borne from a need for transportation and spurred by the international recognition commanded by brands such as Vespa and Ducati.
That worldwide brand recognition, and the money associated with it, also attracts politicians, which were in no short supply at EICMA.
Pierluigi Bersani, the Italian minister for economic development, and Roberto Formigoni, the governor of the Lombardy region, each spent time at the event talking about the “dominance” of the Italian motorcycle industry as well as the need to protect it in today’s global arena.
In Italy, where small displacement two-wheelers are considered the bread-and-butter of sales, there’s a growing call to stem the trade of low-quality imports, many of which masquerade as more well-known Italian brands.
Bersani, in a speech tinged in nationalism, said motorized two-wheelers will play a key role in future government transport issues, and said he believes “the Italian motorbike industry will overcome the problems of globalization and once again show its creativity.”
“Our brands are our lifeblood,” said Claudio Castiglioni, president MV Agusta Motor, “and we’re going to have to depend on each other as well as our politicians to save them. Otherwise, the Chinese with their numbers, will force us to succumb.”
ANCMA wanted vendors at EICMA to feel protected.
Massimo Casini is ANCMA’s legal counsel. Casini spent his time at the fair inspecting vehicles accused of being knock-offs, dangerous from a product liability standpoint, or otherwise deemed “unfit” for exhibition. Manufacturers found in violation of guidelines were asked to remove the offending product from display.
“Product protection — protection of the market — is of utmost importance to us,” Casini told Powersports Business. He said he had made about a half-dozen enforcement actions.
EICMA 2007 is scheduled to take place Nov. 6-11 and will feature the bicycle industry as well as the powersports industry.
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business