The American International Motorcycle Expo took a major step forward when it announced that a “Tier I Japanese motorcycle OEM” has committed to the inaugural AIMExpo, set for Oct. 16-20 in Orlando. The OEM will participate via exhibit space, product launch and demo rides.
AIMExpo vice president and general manager Larry Little made the announcement in front of more than a dozen aftermarket and OEM officials at the AIMExpo VIP Preview Jan. 24-25 in Orlando.
Expect an official announcement from the first OEM to offer its support of AIMExpo with a couple of weeks.
Little also announced that the AIMExpo had recently chalked up its most successful week yet of booth sales. Nearly 100 U.S.-based companies have already signed on to exhibit at the event, which is modeled after EICMA in Italy and targets both dealers and consumers as attendees.
The Hilton Orlando was home for the two-day affair, which brought together representatives from companies such as Erik Buell Racing, Givi, Held, Indian Motorcycle, LeoVince USA, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, National Cycle, Saddlemen, Twisted Throttle, Vee Rubber and others.
The group received an up-close look at the area from local hospitality officials, as well as the exhibit hall itself from officials from the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
“Overwhelmingly positive,” is how AIMExpo marketing director Kerry Graeber described the reaction from those in attendance. “What we’re seeing happening is what we want to see happening, which is that people are getting creative about what’s possible, with both the outdoor space and indoor space that other locations don’t have. People are realizing their companies can do things that they’ve never been able to do before.”
The group toured the exhibit halls, public space, the Valencia Ballroom and the Chapin Theater at the OCCC before departing for a look at the nearby off-road demo ride space.
“It’s a new event and a new location. We wanted to show our exhibitors and potential exhibitors what we know about the location, the venue and surrounding space,” Graeber added.
A meet & greet at booth contractor Brede Expositions created the most buzz of the event, prior to the announcement of the Japanese OEM commitment. At Brede, exhibitors were able to see samples of what their company’s booths might look like in October.
Rather than pipe-and-drape booths to which U.S. trade show goers have been accustomed for years, AIMExpo will offer only hardwall booths.
“It’s very high-end fixturing,” said Tim Calhoun, an attendee and executive vice president of LeoVince USA. “ It makes for well-presented booths with a lot more vertical advertising space, even for a guy in a 10-by-10 [foot booth]. You can create a real image of what you’re company’s about. It was a major investment for them to do, but I think it’s going to make all the difference in the feel of the venue when you walk through the doors. I’m excited about what we can do with the space.”