V-Twin Expo brings industry momentum

Manufacturers, distributors upbeat, show manager says

As the V-Twin Expo embarks on its 14th edition in 2014 in Cincinnati, the two-day, industry-only trade show in February is taking steps forward with both dealer registrations and exhibit space.

Powersports Business editor in chief Dave McMahon sat down with show manager Jim Betlach in December to get a closer look at the 2014 V-Twin Expo.

PSB: How is the show shaping up for 2014?

JB: We are seeing significant increases in dealer registrations. From Nov. 1 through [the end of December], registrations are up. In some weeks, they have doubled over this time last year. Exhibitor sign-ups are up since November as well. My perception is that we are dealing with a much more upbeat, positive group of manufacturers and distributors versus how they seemed last season.

PSB: The show landscape in the motorcycle industry has changed dramatically in 2013-14. Why does V-Twin Expo continue to be a stronghold for exhibitors and dealers who reside in the V-twin world?

JB: The Cincinnati show has always represented the “standard” in the V-twin industry. Many other formats, locations and venues have been experimented with to attract attendance, but the V-Twin Expo has consistently drawn far more exhibitors and dealers during its 14-year run. The V-twin industry is a very business-, results-oriented group that is not easily moved to change by random ideas for trade shows. It’s my opinion that they seek security, like the rest of us.

PSB: What are some exciting things dealers can expect to see at the show?

Jim Betlach

Jim Betlach

JB: As always, dealers should come to see spectacular bikes and world-class paint work on those bikes. Additionally in 2014, we will display bikes and people that are record-holders; our exhibitors will present their newest products, designs and ideas. There will be many new product introductions held at the Expo in exhibitor booths and shown in our New Product Display area on the main show floor. In a nutshell, expect ALL of the latest product from the most intense sector of motorcycling: V-twin.

PSB: What type of response have you received from exhibitors? Etc.

JB: We are fortunate to work with such great exhibitors year after year. Because of their commitment, and ours to the industry and to the V-Twin Expo, many exhibitors stepped up to provide assistance to drive awareness for the show. The reason they do this is simple, we all want the same outcome — a great show attended by well-qualified dealers. These exhibitors used many tactics to drive awareness and dealer attendance by encouraging their dealer base to attend by offering attendee-only Show Specials, including their booth location information in their outbound shipments and communications, adding Expo info to their website and social media pages, etc. Every bit helps, and we appreciate every bit of help. In regards to show size, in 2014 our show will remain the same size as last year, with a few minor size adjustments. As in years past, many exhibitors increase their booth size and a small few reduced their footprint, but the most noticeable difference for the dealers will be the return of several large clothing and leather manufacturers.

PSB: How is the industry performing at the V-twin level?

JB: In my opinion, shops that are showing progress are working hard for it. It takes a concerted effort to be successful today. Customer service, intelligent purchasing and pricing, staying up with current trends, advertising in traditional and new digital outlets, etc. are the basics to “entry” alone, not to mention survival. Coincidently, the V-twin show follows the same rules and tries to help by offering several avenues to help dealers achieve some of these goals.


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