EICMA seminars offer trade tips – December 4, 2006

The Italian Association of Motorbike and Accessory Manufacturers (ANCMA) sponsored a number of seminars at the 64th EICMA International Milan Motorbike Show (EICMA 2006).
A seminar titled “Brand and Design as Drivers for Development for the Motorcycle Industry” brought together a number of industry leaders to discuss how a brand is formed and maintained. Speakers included futurist Glenn Hiemstra, branding specialist Lars Wallentin, designer Rob Brady, BMW’s Herbert Diess, Ducati’s Federico Minoli, Alberto Bombassei of Brembo and MV Agusta President Claudio Castiglioni.
A second seminar, titled “Focus USA”, was designed to offer a general panorama of the U.S. market for companies seeking to begin commercial relationships or increase marketshare Stateside.
Tim Buche, president of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), and Vince Marazita, market analyst and U.S. ANCMA representative, gave an overview of the North American powersports industry.
While Buche described the MIC and its mission, Marazita spent time explaining the structure of the U.S. powersports industry.
“The United States is without a doubt the most lucrative motorcycle market in the world,” Marazita told attending industry professionals. “However, while the demand for top-quality products as delivered by legendary Italian brands most certainly exists, this market is very different than that of Europe. Carving out a market niche against well-established competition can be extremely difficult, as Italian companies like Aprilia, Cagiva and Ducati have found on the OEM side and Alpinestars, Danese, ProGrip, Sito, Spidi and Sidi, among others, have found on the aftermarket accessory side.”
Marazita explained how product distribution in the U.S. differs from distribution in Europe. Whereas numerous distributors in Europe do business specializing in only a few items, a small number of large U.S. distributors control the majority of goods necessary to run a retail business in North America, he said.
“So attempting to reach the U.S. marketplace with apparel, performance parts or other motorcycle-related accessories has boiled down to a choice of setting up a U.S. arm, putting a sales force in the field and attempting to service 17,000 dealers on your own, or doing business with one of the larger distributors,” Marazita explained.
“The 30 percent or so that the big distributors want for their service may be a more affordable route in the long run for some companies. However, that is provided that you can get one of them to accept your product line in the first place,” he told assembled manufacturers.

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