Cage Match: Dealer Expo vs AIMExpo

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In what can only be seen as an effort to countermine the upstart American International Motorcycle Expo (AIME) scheduled for October 16-20, 2013, in Orlando, Florida, Advanstar Communications has announced a change in dates for its show, the Dealernews International Powersports Dealer Expo, from its traditional weekend in February to one month before AIME’s show beginning in 2014.

Citing information gleaned from research and a gradual shift in dealer buying cycles, Advanstar claims to have determined that powersports dealerships prefer to make their purchasing decisions prior to the beginning of the new year. “September is the ideal time of year for the 46th annual Dealer Expo, given that it falls perfectly into the dealer purchase cycle,” says Dealer Expo’s director of sales, Jim Moore.

At a press event in January of 2012 AIME announced the launching of its new expo to be held in the fall of 2013. Motorcycle.com reported the announcement the following day. “There’s a new motorcycle show coming to the States that promises to deliver the excitement and pageantry of Europe’s ultra-cool EICMA and Intermot shows. Scheduled for the fall of 2013, the American International Motorcycle Expo looks to create an annual event where consumers, OEMs, dealers and the aftermarket can converge in a single location for a week-long motorcycle extravaganza,” we reported.

“When we announced the inaugural AIMExpo approximately one year ago, we did so after two years of extensive research of all market segments.  That research revealed an overwhelming desire for an event that is properly timed (Fall), in a more desirable location (Orlando), with extensive endemic and non-endemic press coverage, and a consumer component that serves to excite enthusiasts and ignite the buying process,” says Mike Webster, president of the trade show division of Marketplace Events, the parent company of AIME.

What wasn’t disclosed in yesterday’s announcement from Advanstar was the company’s failed attempt of hosting two shows in 2013, one during the traditional weekend in February and a second show the same year in the fall. “We have been hearing from our AIMExpo exhibitors and prospects for the past two weeks that they have been informed by Dealer Expo sales reps that the October 2013 Dealer Expo has been cancelled due to the lack of participation,” says Webster.

According to Advanstar’s show management, pre-registration for Dealer Expo in February is surpassing last year’s count. While increased pre-registered attendance to Dealer Expo foreshadows a successful event, the increase can be attributed to a strengthening economy and a resultant rebound for the powersports industry, which would also reflect the possibility of a positive outcome for the AIMExpo.

For the time being these two shows are separated by a seven-month span and the success or failure of either will not be determined next year. The showdown comes in 2014 when Dealer Expo and AIMExpo are only a month apart. Going into the confrontation, Advanstar (also owner of the consumer-based Progressive International Motorcycle Shows) has the advantage of being the established industry leader with a proven event. The AIMExpo, on the other hand, brings the excitement and possibility of a new show format based on the successful Euro shows and their combination of trade and consumer events.

“The AIMExpo team is comprised of professionals who are not only motorcycle enthusiasts, we are also enthusiasts of the business of motorcycling.  We are committed to making AIMExpo the single most important event of its type in the North American market and will have international impact within the motorcycling and powersports community,” says Webster.

For more information on both shows visit www.dealerexpo.com and www.aimexpousa.com.

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