An innovation boost in Indy
New products in abundance at Dealer Expo
From the Motorcycle Industry Council’s annual meeting keynote targeted at Gen Y consumers to Audio Formz blasting out its tricked-out ATV and side-by-side sound systems that shook the convention center walls, the future was top of mind in February at Dealer Expo in Indianapolis.
With the MIC having reported a slight increase in overall motorcycle sales in 2011 and more than 700 exhibitors on hand, there was plenty of reason for those in Indy to be bullish on 2012.
And for manufacturers that carried innovative product at a price point that attracted dealers, optimism was being doled out in even greater proportions.
River Road, for instance, saw its Grateful Dead-branded line of jackets and helmets get rave reviews from dealers, according to Tucker Rocky vice president of marketing Hank Desjardins. Tucker Rocky’s licensing agreement with the band, a rarity in itself, seemed to hit the mark with dealers.
“We’re really excited about it,” Desjardins said. “The helmets are sick, and we think the Grateful Dead line is something that’s going to be a winner. We’ve killed it with this intro.”
There’s no place like Indy to launch a buzz-worthy product. That’s what Parts Unlimited chose to do with its new 1000 line of apparel from Icon Motorsports.
Justin Knauer, Icon operations managers, described the new line, which will be arriving at dealerships in April, thusly: “Motorcycle-specific, high-end fashion. I like to call it motorcycle apparel for grown-ups.”
Its $600 suggested retail price comes after extensive leatherwork and other elements that are more often seen on apparel inside fashion retailers.
“All are highly detailed pieces that let you see the skin of the leather garment,” he said. “That element comes from the fashion industry, but they’re also armored and designed to take a hit and take a crash. You can wear this jacket around and not look like you’re wearing an armored jacket.”
The Icon 1000 Shorty is a short-sleeved leather jacket that has a market, Knauer says.
“The 1000 line has allowed us to branch out and do different pieces that we’ve always talked about doing,” Knauer said. “The guy that knows what this is is going to love it. Guys in hot-weather climates are taking their leather jackets and cutting the sleeves off. So we said, ‘Alright, if you guys are going to do that, let’s make something that looks a little better than that.’ We offer armor you can wear underneath it, also.”
Dealers who took a stroll through the tire section had endless options for stocking up for 2012. Continental’s Conti Motion is the brand’s top-seller in the U.S., and it saw more than 50 percent growth in the U.S. in 2011.
“It’s an entry-level product with superb quality for a competitive price,” Continental’s Greg Reich said. “Our wholesale partners have been absolutely important to our success. They don’t treat us as customers; they treat us as partners.”
Attendance reported up
Show producer Advanstar reported a 6 percent increase in retail/buyer attendance compared to last year’s event. The growth in attendees was greatest from franchised dealerships, specialty retailers, online retailers and big box scores, including Costco and Amazon.com.
Dealers spent $1.28 million in two hours at a live pre-owned auction by National Powersport Auctions. The auction featured a mix of 152 Harley-Davidson and metric motorcycles, along with a few other powersports vehicles.