Harley and Indian to exhibit at AIMExpo, Columbus, Ohio in September
In what may prove to be an “industry critical mass” development for AIMExpo Presented by Nationwide, following its move (for 2017) to the Midwest from Orlando, Florida, both Indian Motorcycle (and the Slingshot reverse-trike) and Harley-Davidson are to exhibit as the 5th annual show heads towards being a sell-out in exhibitor terms.
“At this time, some 75 percent of the available floorspace is contracted,” Senior Vice President, MIC Events, organizers of AIMExpo Mike Webster told AMD Magazine when we spoke with him in May. “Some 41% of powersports dealers and 50% of the US population reside within 500 miles of AIMExpo Presented by Nationwide’s new location in the city of Columbus. This central location and ease of access offers all attendees the opportunity to engage with the greater powersports industry like never before.”
From a manufacturer’s point of view the timing is perfect as it offers an opportunity for new model year launches to be shown to a consumer audience soon after the ranges have been introduced to dealers.
AIMExpo is trade only for its first two days, September 21/22, followed by two public/consumer days at the weekend, September 23/24; a schedule that provides the North American powersports industry with a similar expo formula to the one that has been commonplace at world leading motorcycle industry shows such as INTERMOT (Cologne, Germany) and EICMA (Milan, Italy).
Polaris already announced its intention for its Indian and Slingshot Motorcycle Division to participate in May, with their Motorcycle Division President Steve Menneto commenting that “AIMExpo provides both Indian and Slingshot with the ideal platform to reach and engage with the North American market and to showcase each brand’s new model year line-ups.”
He went on to say that “additionally, the city of Columbus is strategically situated within the sweet spot of our consumer base, as well as our dealer network, making it an ideal location to showcase our products to key constituencies.”
However, no formal announcement had yet been made by either AIMExpo or Harley-Davidson themselves about formal “Motor Factory” corporate participation as this edition of AMD went to press, but their plan to do so had been published on the show floorplan on the event’s website - Columbus based longest continually operated American Harley-Davidson dealership AD Farrow (these days a three store Greater Columbus area Group) had already signalled its intention to support AIMExpo almost as soon as the move to their home city had been confirmed.
This will be an AIMExpo debut (as indoor exhibitors at least) for both Harley-Davidson and Polaris’ Motorcycle Division, and it is expected that in addition to giving a public debut to their MY2018 products, both manufacturers will join others in offering visitors brand experiential exhibits and new model demo rides in the show’s outdoor space.
In Harley’s case expect to see their booth showcase their static ‘JumpStart’ Rider Experience and to profile their investment into their stated long-term strategic objective of “building” two million new riders in the United States through their dealer based ‘Riding Acadamy’ training scheme - in addition to the first major tranche of CEO Matt Levatich’s pledge to introduce 100 new models in that same 10-year time frame, with rumors continuing to suggest that the technology seen in the new M-8 engine introduced as a new touring platform for 2017 will star in new cruisers to replace the existing Softails and Dynas.
At the time of the May announcement about Indian Motorcycles’ participation, Larry Little, Vice President & General Manager of organizer MIC Events, said: “The show’s platform was created to shine a spotlight on American industry as well as the world’s largest recreational powersports market. The European style two-day trade/two-day consumer attendance formula will mean all our 400 plus exhibitors will be appreciated by media, trade and consumer audiences alike.”