Vendors believe 2011 will be a better year than previous two
(Feb 5, 2011) Snow flurries greeted the opening of the 11th annual Easyrider V-Twin Expo today in the
Duke Energy Center in Downtown Cincinnati. Held annually during the first or second weekend, the V-Twin Expo is open only to motorcycle dealers, manufacturers, or members of the press.
The number of the exhibitors at this year's Expo is down from previous years, but officials have not released an exact figure. In 2010 the show producer Jim Betlach addressed the downturn with a positive spin. “The industry is right-sizing. With as many years as I have served this business, seeing this cycle before, I know those that come out on the right side of the process will be rewarded”
Exhibitors expressed cautious optimism about the health of the motorcycle industry. Lee Wimmer, president of Wimmer Machine said he's seeing improvements in his niche. "It's not where we want it to be but it's getting better. There are a lot of people walking the isles today and we're hearing a lot of positive comments from the dealers out there as well."
Other manufacturers say they've heard from their dealers that the motorcycle business is improving but that we're still not "out of the woods yet" according to a source at S & S Cycles.
In a couple of weeks the mostly metric dealer show will open in Indianapolis and early reports are that exhibitor numbers have also declined for that expo.
That's not a bad thing, according to most of the dealers we spoke to today. One East Coast Harley-Davidson dealer who asked not to be named said, "We had too many dealers even when business was booming. We were surrounded by dealers within 20 or 30 minutes and everybody suffered low profits. Today there are fewer customers but fewer dealers which I believe will benefit the dealers who can survive.
Snow and ice seemed to be the biggest complaint of attendees. Martha Larimer of North Carolina said, "Snow and Ice and 20 degree temps don't give us the warm and fuzzys or put us in any mood to buy! (this is the) second year in a row that we have to jeopardize life and limb to learn about new products."