Nifty 50 gets 2014 started on the right foot

By Dave McMahon

It’s a new look for the Nifty 50, and it’s a new year that obviously has industry companies ready for big business in 2014.

As most of you know, in the past we’ve presented the Nifty 50 in two editions leading up to the Indy show. Now that Indy is no longer in February, it was time for the well-nurtured Nifty 50 contest to stand on its own. And we couldn’t be prouder to see what the contest has become in Year 15.

The record-setting number of entrants exceeded our expectations, thanks mostly to the hard work of many of the folks in your marketing or product development departments. Dealers will be wise to investigate the Nifty 50 thoroughly, as we’ve selected the products that we believe will be most beneficial for your business in 2014. Editors from Powersports Business and our sister consumer magazines in the powersports industry (Rider, Snow Goer and Thunder Press) select the products and services you’ll see in the Nifty 50 section (click here to see the list). Our picks are based on information that is submitted by companies; no testing of the products is done. Products must be new or substantially improved from previous years, and be ready for delivery in calendar 2014.

Managing editor Liz Keener gets extra plaudits for her work on the Nifty 50 once again this year. It’s her dedication to the project that already has us looking forward to seeing the new products in the 2015 version.

Power 50 application ready for you

It’s also time for you to get involved with another of our projects aimed at celebrating dealerships who make the powersports experience a part of their customers’ livelihood.

The Power 50 Dealer application is now online and can be completed at The survey is extensive in nature, but that’s why Year 1 of the program was such a success — it’s meant to be an educational tool for your dealership as much as anything we use it for. The application deadline is Aug. 1, but we wanted to give you ample time to complete the application, as we know what your spring and summer months have in store on the selling front. And after what is pointing toward a successful 2014 selling season, we can celebrate together in Orlando on Oct. 16 during the Power 50 Awards Dinner as part of AIMExpo. It’s a night that the inaugural members of the Power 50 won’t soon forget. Simply put, it’s an event meant to celebrate the success of your dealership as well as those of your peers. Be sure to find a person today who can be responsible for completing the application. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss in 2014.

Speaking of Orlando…

While we’re on the topic of Orlando, I checked in with Larry Little and Mike Webster of Marketplace Events to get an update on the decision to switch AIMExpo to four days in 2014. The dates will be Oct. 16-19, Thursday through Sunday. The Powersports Business Institute will be held Oct. 16-17, during the trade and media days. And with the Power 50 Awards Dinner set for the night of Oct. 16, your first day at AIMExpo should be plenty full! The consumer days will be Oct. 18-19.

Post-event surveys of exhibitors, dealers and consumers who attended the inaugural AIMExpo led the show to cut back from five days to four. “I think it’s the right length,” Little said of the new four-day format. “The first year we learned a ton, and we learned that our attendees can just as efficiently and effectively do all the business they want in four days.”

Little also said the show floor has already been increased by one-third, from 30,000 to 40,000 square feet. Nearly half of the exhibitors in 2013 had renewed for 2014 within 30 days after the event’s close, and nearly all of them have increased their space.

“The exhibitors are very much embracing the show and taking ownership. They want to do more things, and they want to do what needs to be done to bring in more attendees, both dealers and consumers,” Webster said.

Those aforementioned surveys gave Webster reason to be looking forward to Year 2 of AIMExpo.

“I’ve been doing show surveys for a long time, but I’ve never seen the type of passionate response that we got from these surveys,” he said.

That’s another sure sign of progress heading into 2014. In my conversations with several executives from distributorships, the year is already off to a solid buying start. In fact, with just a little bit of help from Mother Nature, one referenced being “bullish” on 2014.

Call for speakers in Orlando

We’re already in the planning stages for the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo. If you or someone you know is interested in being a presenter during the two days of dealer training seminars, apply online at The inaugural event in 2013 was an overwhelming success, and we’re looking to build on it for an even better showing in 2014.

Moving onward

Congratulations to Peter Jones, a columnist and longtime friend of Powersports Business. He recently accepted a position as DSM of northern Florida and Georgia for BRP. As part of the move, Jones, whose F&I and compliance expertise landed him as a presenter at events like Profit Xcelerator and the Powersports Business Institute @ AIMExpo, will no longer be writing the F&I Solutions column. Instead, we’ve added Brian Gallmeier, a trainer who works with several dealerships on enhancing their F&I departments. You’ll find his first column on Page 10. He welcomes your comments about topics you’d like to see covered in the F&I Solutions column.

A look ahead

Another sign of the industry’s upward trend is our winter travel schedules. My trip to Triumph North America’s headquarters is chronicled in this issue, and we’ll have plenty more from there. Liz graciously accepted a trip to California in January to attend a Bell Helmets event, and her debut in the Bell suite at the Oakland Supercross was a blast to be sure. She’ll have a full report from the powersports mecca of Scotts Valley, Calif., in the upcoming edition.

We’ll also take a look behind the launch of the new Polaris Sportsman ACE. Similar to the launch of Sea-Doo’s Spark, it somehow was a well kept industry secret. So there were some audible gasps in the office when we received word of the funky new half-ATV, half-side-by-side-with-only-one seat that will likely turn the off-road world on its ear. We’ll have interviews with a range of Polaris execs, from VPs to
product managers, about the Sportsman ACE.

Dave McMahon is editor in chief of Powersports Business. Contact him at 763/383-4411 or


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