INDY LIVE 2012: V-Twin industry dynamic 'has evolved'

Publish Date: 
Feb 16, 2012
By Arlo Redwine

We speak with Kerry Graeber, brand director for Advanstar, on the V-Twin market, launching an event and why it makes sense to party on Saturday night.

DEALERNEWS: The American V-Twin Dealer Show was announced last July. But how much preparation was made beforehand?
GRAEBER: The plans to launch the American V-Twin Dealer Show were under development for many months prior to the actual announcement. Our research indicated that there was strong industry interest in combining a V-Twin-focused event with Dealer Expo, and when we began our conversations with key companies, we received enthusiastic support.

DN: Was the growing “crossover” element the inspiration for co-locating AVTDS with the Dealer Expo?
GRAEBER: Yes, the dynamic of the V-Twin market has evolved over the past few years, putting increased pressures on dealers to remain profitable. By combining Dealer Expo and the American V-Twin Dealer Show, we serve Harley-Davidson franchised, metric cruiser, metric multi- and single-line, and independent and American V-Twin dealers – in essence, the entire powersports industry.

DN: There are a number of strong “names” from the V-Twin market here in Indy.
GRAEBER: Arlen Ness was one of the first companies to support AVTDS. Zach Ness will be one of the judges of the Ultimate Dealer Custom Bike Show, for example. Then there’s Grady Pfeiffer, who joined us to help develop the American V-Twin Dealer Show. His familiarity, standing and relationships within the V-Twin community were instrumental to this launch.

DN: What’s going on at the Builder’s Stage?
GRAEBER: Over the course of the weekend, a Harley-Davidson Street Glide will go from completely stock to fully customized – right on the Builder’s Stage. The Stage also will host Jody Perewitz, the world’s fastest woman on a V-Twin, who will be signing autographs, and the awards presentation for the Ultimate Dealer Custom Bike Show. We have a few additional surprises, too.

DN: How will the seminars specifically benefit dealers and shop owners?
GRAEBER: There are more than 30 individual seminars on all aspects of retail operations, as well as a number of panel discussions, forums, and classroom and on-floor presentations. Noted business leader and New York Times best-selling author Kevin Freiberg will deliver the keynote address at 9 a.m. Friday, and it’s titled, “Innovate or Perish! An agenda for blowing the doors off business as usual.” This is going to provide all attendees with a unique insight on how to remain competitive in a changing business climate. One of our overriding objectives of Dealer Expo and the American V-Twin Dealer Show this year was to create added value for our attendees. We’re confident our educational program meets that goal.

DN: NPA doesn’t have a booth at the American V-Twin Dealer Show, but it’s bringing a large inventory of Harleys that it will auction off Saturday afternoon. How will this work?
GRAEBER: Like last year, NPA is a big part of Dealer Expo, and now it’s a big part of the American V-Twin Dealer Show. Used bike sales, particularly Harley-Davidsons, are becoming an increasingly important part of a retailer’s business plan. NPA plans to auction 150 vehicles – 75 Harley and 75 metric – beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturday. It will be preceded by a “how to” seminar at 11:30 a.m. and a mock auction at 3:30 p.m. so novice retail participants can get in some practice.

DN: The kickoff reception for AVTDS will be co-located with the Annual Industry Party, which this year will be at the Lucas Oil Stadium. What’s happening there?
GRAEBER: The combined Dealer Expo/American V-Twin Dealer Show Industry Party will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of Super Bowl XLVI. The Charlie Brechtel Band will perform, and we’ll have great food and drink for all. It’s the perfect opportunity to unwind and mingle, and it’s a great networking opportunity for everyone attending the show. A surprising amount of business gets done at the Industry Party – because it allows interaction in a more casual setting.