INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - This year's Dealer Expo was different. First of all, about 40 percent of booths were in the brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium, a few blocks away from the rest the show in the Indiana Convention Center. Luckily, decent weather made the walk bearable for those of us who chose not to use the free shuttle service. I hear underground walkways will be available for the 2011 show.
My editorial duties didn’t allow me to examine the stadium much, but several people told me they loved the building itself. I didn’t hear any complaints about the splitting of the show.
Advanstar Communications, our owner, hasn’t released attendance figures, but the traffic did not seem much different from previous years. Most vendors told me that the number of booth visits was down, but that more serious buyers were stopping by. General managers and owners seemed to be walking the aisles in a greater concentration.
This makes sense. Many dealership principals likely couldn’t pay to send employees this year. And owners are keeping a tighter grip on the purse strings. Nobody needs an excited parts manager buying more than can be sold.
I haven’t heard yet from dealers what kind of deals vendors were offering. I had predicted in my editor’s note for February that terms and prices this year would probably favor buyers (not a bold prediction).
As I said, I didn’t get a chance to walk the whole show, but it seemed as if there were fewer booths hawking funny-looking vehicles and knockoff leathers. So the quality of vendors as a group seemed higher also.
One thing about Dealer Expo was the same: There was a plethora of new products, new services and important updates to products and services already in existence. We tried to cover as much as we could in the Show Dailies we produced on site, as well as in this blog (I noticed Dirt Rider magazine also posted an interesting blog). We’re in the process of publishing a roundup in our April issue.
Posted below are a few more products/services.
Rockhard Helmets returned this year with five new designs celebrating Elvis, Evel Knievel and the bands Motorhead, Slipknot and Pantera.
I saw the lids at the booth of O’Neal USA (the brand’s manufacturer) and the distributor Romaha, which also had at least some of last year’s designs: Kiss, Hustler, Slayer, Lyndyrd Skynyrd and AC/DC. Each design is available on a full-face helmet, a dirtbike helmet and a half-helmet. Retail prices are $349.99, $249.99 and $169.99, respectively. Production is reportedly limited to 10,000 each.
Motorcycle-Superstore.com, a major online retailer, had a booth at the show because it was offering a free Preferred Installer Program for dealers. If you sign up, the company will direct its customers to your store for installation of tires and parts. Customers can ship their products directly to your store.
You may be asking, “Why in the heck would I want to do this?” According to Motorcycle-Superstore.com, you’ll get guaranteed service revenue plus the opportunity to sell the customer additional products and services. The company will build a customized Preferred Installer Web page for your shop containing your business information, Web site and e-mail links, online mapping, services offered, service prices and customer ratings.
Customers can find Preferred Installers in their area by entering their zip code. After selecting your store and placing an order, all they have to do is contact you to schedule an appointment. (continued)