Consumer motorcycle show grows 9%

The twenty-third annual Cycle World International Motorcycle Show presented by Toyota Trucks (IMS) finished its five-month, 13-city sweep in Minneapolis on March 28 with what organizers declared as a 9% increase in total tour attendance compared to the year prior.
Kicked off Nov. 7, 2003, in San Francisco, the consumer-orientated event produced by The Powersports Group, a unit of Advanstar, also visited Dallas, Seattle, Long Beach, Calif., Denver, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and Daytona, Fla.
Among the OEMs showing product were Aprilia, BMW, Buell, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Moto Guzzi, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory, Yamaha and, for its first full tour, Kymco, furnished by STR Motorsports. With representatives from local dealerships standing by available to answer questions and further interest, the OEMs often showed their entire product line — sport bikes, cruisers, scooters, dual-sport machines, off-road and motocross bikes, ATVs, and even a few watercraft and snowmobiles.
Side attractions included stunt riders, special demonstrations, interactive features, vintage displays, and an all-new Club House designed to serve motorcycle clubs, while “The Factory” showcased some of the latest aftermarket parts and riding gear.
“A total of 617,553 people attended the 13-city 2004 tour,” Tracy Harris, general manager of The Powersports Group, told Powersports Business. But IMS also visited St. Louis during its 2003 tour, a venue which didn’t occur this time around. “So, show to show, we count 566,357 attendees during the 2003 tour, 51,200 less than attended during this tour.”
Harris said top venues include New York, Chicago and Ohio. San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Long Beach, she said, each attracted an average of 40,000 to 50,000 attendees during three-day stops.
IMS started as a simple series of shows supported by only six major vehicle manufacturers aiming at a few of the major markets. Now, it’s recognized as an attractive venue for a variety of OEMs, the aftermarket and dealers.
“I would say it was in the early 1990s that we started to receive interest from a number of the other manufacturers,” Harris said, “Along with more OEMs came more product lines needing more space, and more vendors, dealers and independent companies.
“Of course, while any vehicle manufacturer can participate in the shows, and we can and do customize programs to each of them, it’s not an insignificant investment for them, and many look to their franchise retailers to help out by working the displays.”
As for the aftermarket: First implemented at IMS 14 years ago, The Factory exhibit takes up a separate area of the show and is described as a turn-key program through which aftermarket product, supplied by the manufacturer, is displayed and transported show-to-show by Advanstar.
Said Harris: “We do have staff who become experts and work with consumers, but we encourage companies to send representatives. Above all else, it’s impromptu market research, allowing the companies to get in with consumers and the local retail population.”
Brands participating during the 2004 tour were Arai Helmets, Autocom, Avon Tyres, Bell Powersports, Inc., Chatterbox, Cobra Engineering, Desser Tire & Rubber Co., Dowco, Inc., Dunlop North America, HJC America, K&N Engineering, Kendon Industries Metzeler Motorcycle Tire, Progressive Suspension, Shoei Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Team Simpson Racing, Top Gear Accessories, Ltd., Travelcade, Yuasa Battery, Inc., and Wiseco Piston.
Harris, involved in IMS since 1984, said the show has the best local influence on franchise retailers who are able to plan ahead, budgeting funds for booth space and manpower.
“It’s tricky, I know,” she said. “The show’s have to occur between November and March. With the exception of most states, most dealerships downsize staff for winter, still have to keep the store open, but really want to participate in the show.
“We try to work with the local retailer on an individualized basis depending on what they may want to do. And, if they’re a franchised dealer, they have the responsibility, and can take the opportunity, to work the manufacturer’s display, as well. They can’t sell on-site, but it’s a great place to gather leads.” psb

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