April 2, 2007 – Layout changes coming to Expo

This year’s Dealer Expo is nearly in the books and organizers are already planning big changes for the show’s future.
At the 2007 Expo in February, the number of exhibitors was virtually unchanged from last year. This year, there were 1,104. Last year there were 1,102. The makeup of the exhibitors shifted substantially, though, said Trevor Trumbo, Dealer Expo show manager.
“The vehicle companies had a very big increase this year,” Trumbo said. “I haven’t calculated what the percentage of their floor space was yet, but there were a lot more vehicle representatives. We saw an increase in the number of distributors/importers.”
For 2008, there will be two major changes in floor layout. Organizers are planning to introduce an international exhibit hall and a new company pavilion.
The international exhibit hall is set to be in the RCA Dome. There, companies will be divided into country pavilions. So far, Expo organizers are looking at Chinese, European, Taiwanese, Canadian and Pakistani pavilions and might add others. Italian companies will stay in their current location, for the time being, Trumbo said.
“We’re taking a lot of the [international] companies that have U.S. offices and are looking for dealers to be carrying their products, and we’re going to be placing them in a vehicle pavilion within the international pavilion,” Trumbo said.
Trumbo expects the Chinese Pavilion in particular to grow significantly once the international exhibit hall is established.
“There’s still a lot of demand from Chinese manufacturers to break into the U.S. market, and not just vehicle manufacturers, but parts and accessories guys as well,” Trumbo said.
The new company pavilion will be available for new companies or new products. It will be located in the Marriott.
Looking further ahead, plans are in place to replace the RCA Dome. A new stadium is scheduled to be completed for the 2009 Indianapolis Colts football season. The old dome’s demolition should take place in the fourth quarter of 2008. When the RCA Dome is gone, plans are to expand the current convention center. Attendees should expect the new facility to be used for the 2009 Dealer Expo and the additional convention center space will be used in 2011, Trumbo said. Part of the new football stadium’s design is a set of bleachers that can be pushed back, to give shows like Dealer Expo more floor space.
“When the new portion of the convention center opens, our usable space is going to expand to around 800,000 square feet [counting] the convention center and the new stadium,” Trumbo said. “We’re currently at 336,000 square feet with the RCA Dome, convention center, the Westin and the Marriott.”
Organizers are aiming to stop using the hotels for exhibit space in the future, but will utilize them for Dealer Expo 2008.
Dealer Expo organizers plan to segment the show starting in 2011 and will be fielding a survey this summer to attendees and exhibitors to get an idea of how they would like to see the show segmented. Attendees will likely want to see similar products placed together, Trumbo said. psb

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