The final day of the largest powersports business event in the world wrapped up on Sunday. The strain on attendees was apparent, and there were a few long faces showing the exertion, endurance and sustained excitement that Dealer Expo always brings. It could have also been the long nights around downtown Indianapolis, again a gracious and entertaining city.
The day dawned grey, cold and sleety and that was to set the pace for much of the show on Sunday. People were trying to wrap up their business deals, see those final few booths and talk to friends before making the dash to the car, truck or plane. The impending bad weather was actually a topic of discussion on the show floor, but since many exhibitors were staying on another day to coordinate breaking down their booths and pack up, it wasn’t a factor for them. The word soon spread that although attendance was down this year, business seemed to be up, with several product groups reporting large orders and real enthusiasm creeping back into a business that has been beleaguered for the last two years.
Here’s a few quick-takes from the show floor – come back for more details from these vendors and more from Dealer Expo 2011.
GoGo Gear – A show favorite and a busy booth, GoGo Gear debuted its men’s 2011 line-up and snuck a few surprises in. Although creator and owner Arlene Battishill was playing it typically close to the vest, she did say that the pipeline is full, and that big things are coming. Among them, the men’s touring jacket is coming out this Fall with a zip-out windproof liner featuring GoGo’s signature wind cuff. She also told me that GoGo Gear will have the full men’s line featuring wool, cashmere and Cordura, out in 2011, plus men’s and women’s Kevlar jeans and a few surprises, too.
The Auto Moto – The new Auto Moto answers the question “What could you do to make a scooter more commuter-friendly?” with a surprisingly attractive and usable, yet accessible and inexpensive vehicle. The Auto Moto is a trike and all three wheels stay firmly on the ground at all times; The covered passenger cell (with windshield and roof) is what pivots. Representative Steven Attar said that the ride is unlike anything you’ve ever ridden, and that the Auto Moto offers increased visibility and the opportunity to “blow the minds” of those following you when you turn (as the passenger cell leans). It comes fully equipped and with an MSRP of under $4k, it’s a surprise in design and execution.
Missing Link – A delightfully well-defined product line has come out of a company called Missing Link. In what may be the “feel good hit” of the show, the husband and wife team of Sharon and Alann Boatright have introduced products that bring conspicuity to a new level, and that are specifically designed for bikers (and scooterists!) who might be into club rides or Police and military work. From Hi-vis vests and gloves to arm protection and chaps, (yes, chaps), their product line touches almost every rider and was inspired by the loss of some of their good friends to what could have been visibility-related incidents.
Genuine Scooter Company – It’s always a good time at the Genuine booth. In addition to new product, it’s an essential stop for many of the highest profile people in the industry and media, as each employee seems to have a smile on their face or a revealing story of their hijinks in business. Philip McCaleb is an industry icon, and there is often a three-deep line waiting for a chance to chat. In the meantime, many visitors check out the newly slimmed-down product offerings from Genuine:
– Stella 4-Stroke (new)
– Buddy 170i (new)
– 50cc and 125cc Buddy
– 50cc Buddy Internationals
– Roughhouse 50
– Blur SS 220i
So long to the 150cc carbureted Buddys, and goodbye to the Rattler 110. Stella is very close to arrival on U.S. soil, and advance models have already achieved approval on the two things that it failed to pass last year. The Stellas could be here and to dealers within a few months – just in time for the scooter season. Fingers are firmly crossed for a smoother path to retail this time around.
What’s next: More from Dealer Expo 2011