Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scooters at SEMA - Dealer Expo 2013 vs AIME 2013

I am really looking forward to the AIME Show. I'm hoping the Orlando show has a space dedicated to scooters. Test rides, industry speakers, and a real place where both electric and gas companies can talk.

So a few months ago I commented on the changes we needed in the Dealer Expo for 2013 to make it relevant again. After a wave of comments online they added a consumer show side to the Expo. Yet some in Powersports World had their doubts.

Its funny, I got a bunch of emails from industry heads after I openly said the Dealer Expo for any small scooter company without seminars and without education classes was a waste for both the exhibitors and dealers.

Back in 2010 I was asked to speak and gave a class that received a lot of positive feedback with Josh Rogers from Scoot! Magazine. It was so popular that SEMA asked us to do the same show for 2011 only to backtrack at the very last minute. SEMA instead went with classes from Motorcycle Product News and its contributors who didnt exactly cover anything related to scooters despite a bunch of Chinese companies compromising the majority of exhibitor space in the Powersports section. Again reality not lining up with what the advertisers, show management, and the magazine would like. The truth is Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki could care less. Last I checked Suzuki and Kawasaki organized their own conventions at the Marriot World Center in Orlando with a company called Hello Florida and it went off a million times better.

Both shows in terms of scooter displays have gone downhill. SEMA is now a place where only the bottom tier Chinese manufacturers will exhibit. No education classes and the ones they had again didn't reflect who was exhibiting. It was a price point exhibit with Chinese brands that have no concept of branding to consumers. So you had a show of mostly car enthusiasts again without consumer financing, without dealer bases, and a bunch of Chinese importers pandering to them. Honestly, without any guidance that is what Dealer Expo 2013 will become. Let me explain now that the Consumer Show and the Dealer Expo are joining forces what is going to happen when consumers walk the floor. Honda display offers consumer financing, dealer networks, warranties that work, but look over here you have the Honda Ruckus clone by Peace or Roketa for one fourth the price. It will be a complete consumer melt down in understanding of what is going on in the marketplace.

I mean seriously who cares about seeing a ZNEN or SUN L or Roketa bike on display, consumers dont go to the show for that. The management at SEMA should probably fire themselves if it wasnt for the fact they outsource everything so they cant. They dont know anything about Chinese scooters much less about educating their consumers or dealers about them. So in that aspect Dealer Expo is about to commit the same mistakes SEMA did if they dont change the ballgame.

Now that Parts Unlimited has bailed on the show it they have to put even more energy into the show.
My suggestion bring back all the ideas that we were looking forward to in 2012.

Seriously there were some great ideas, they were promised, we thought they would implement them. Nothing happened.

The Advanstar Brand Director Kerry Graeber called me right after my blog for Dealer Expo 2012. I gave him my ideas. I haven't heard from him since. Reminded me exactly of the top management at SEMA 2010 and SEMA 2011, nothing could be done. Lots of promises for seminars. "We're gonna have you, the guys from Genuine, Kymco, and Yamaha there and we'll have you ask educators." then they dropped the ball. Sorry.... Im seeing the same approach by Dealer Expo. They didn't like what I pointed out, promised to listen and make some changes. Its been 5 months since top management at Advanstar called.

Mistakes in 2012 they need to make up for:
In 2012 they cancelled the electric test range, the scooter rides, and all the suggestions Josh and I made in 2010 went nowhere. 

So you can't wait until the last minute. Make the changes now. Make a test range. Make a seminar and bring people together.

Have someone point out the reality of electric vehicles. Bring investors, educators, industry professionals to talk about the future of EV scooters and Motorcycles to the show. Dont charge these guys to speak, make them bring their connections and reinvigorate the dying Chinese only export mentality that Dealer Expo has fallen into. Re-energize the brand with renewable talk. Doesn't matter if its real or not, I dont even know if given today's gas prices anyone can make a profit because gas has been going down, but go ahead and invite them anyways. 

Bring back the test zone idea. 

If you're going to have a dealer exhibit section and consumers there then you might as well bring some world class entertainment. Give us a reason to fly to Indianapolis in the winter. I mean we're based in Miami and I would rather stay somewhere warm in February unless Im on vacation.

Its pretty clear the bigger guns in the industry voted with their feet. They need to take some drastic action to bring back the Expo.

Don't take my word for it other industry experts have started to let their opinions be known.

Can Dealer Expo slam the brakes on their downward trend by convincing a reticent powersports aftermarket manufacturing community to reinvest in what has become an auction and Pan-Asian agri-scooter free trade zone?

This week he answered his own questions:

traditional event partners vote with their feet

One thing the troubled world of powersports trade events can’t survive and still maintain a credible industry presence is the abandonment of anchored floor space by major distributors.
The increasingly anemic dealer turnout that’s plagued Expo in recent years takes another hit as the persistent rumor of Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties departing Indy in favor of building their own corporate footprint apparently has legs.

move will affect dealer attendance, manufacturer exhibits

LeMans is expected to announce a budget reallocation that shifts marketing funds from Dealer Expo to expand their own self-hosted Showcase dealer show to include bi-coastal (CA and PA) additions, each with up to 200 vendor slots, in a move that further suppresses aftermarket manufacturer participation in traditional venues.

CPI / Keeway Huricane / Vento Zip / Benelli / QJ

If the names sound familiar its because they are all from similar factories in Taiwan / China.

Only MRP has the full and complete selection of CPI Oliver, CPI GTR, and CPI Aragon parts for scooters. If you need parts for a Keeway Hurricane or a Vento Triton or Zip then call us we can help your dealership get these scooters back on the road.

We have all the original parts available and the repair manuals on our site at

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I called it....Parts Unlimited Withdraws From Dealer Expo

Motorcycle Product News is reporting that the largest company in the Powersports Industry, the 900 pound Gorilla of the parts companies PU is withdrawing from the Dealer Expo.

For all its worth Parts Unlimited and Fred Fox maintain a line in the sand which leads to some standards in the industry. Its not about being good or bad, it's that they set the membership standard like BJ's, Costco, and Sam's. They require dealers to have a storefronts and not work from their garage at home which is one reason many Chinese only dealers and at home shippers aren't PU dealers. 

Few companies have standards or buy ins except for the big guys like Tucker, PU, and mainstream brands like Honda, Vespa, Yamaha. You dont see that in many of the exhibitors anymore at Dealer Expo because if you're next to the price point company you start acting like one to get the sale. That's not them and I applaud their decision.

It has become common knowledge that this year some smaller scooter brands were so desperate  they were setting up dealers less than 5 miles from each other just to score some sales. Illegal in most states you still saw reps trying to push this on dealers because of the lack of qualified buyers. Nobody will tell you this at the show, but buy some guys a few beers and the truth comes out.

After the show this year I got a flood of emails " hey can you help me with some leads and emails because my boss wants to know if the show was worth it and I didnt get sufficient business cards." It wasnt for a lack of trying it was because there weren't that many people there and there weren't good leads.

The sad truth is that every year at the Dealer Expo we get more and more guys that are members of clubs, have a lawnmower shop, or just aren't a Powersports Dealer. So they go down the chain of distributors from Parts, to Tucker, to the next guy until they find the ones without any requirements and standards making the whole show unprofitable. Then everyone thinks that you can be a dealer without having a storefront, insurance, employees, overhead. You don't fly to Indianapolis to meet with people who collect disability and sell parts from their basement at cost and I've been saying this for years, you dress up, you put on your game face and you want to meet with serious players not tire kickers. Dealer Expo has become Tire Kicker Expo the last 5 years. Raise the standards a bit so you dont end up like Woolworths faded out by shinny new Target store down the street.

I like to push for sales. I believe you can't sell what you don't have. So I dont go to a small shop that has no inventory, I drive to Best Buy where I can find everything I need in one place. This is the truth about the industry. Parts Unlimited has a lot of stuff, more than anyone. If they are not there half the store is now empty.

The same is true for the scooter industry. You can't have reputable brands standing side by side to Chinese suppliers whose only goal is to bypass distributors and sell direct to the public and small shops. They have no concept of branding, something called product liability insurance or even business insurance. Neither do the drop shippers and home scooter repair guys who present themselves as legitimate players "I sell at cost to help people" "I run this as a hobby" "Im huge on the chat rooms." In the end you further dilute the industry. You want stores even if there are fewer that will stock and give a high level of service.

It is no surprise that PU has been loosing money on the show for years. Why bother when you can have your own show where dealers will go and spend $5,000 and not be shopping at the smaller distributor locations. Makes sense.

It also makes sense to ask that Dealer Expo raise its standards, reinvents itself, and helps lift the industry not further drag it down with the idea that the customer gets anything they want. Yes, we know many of the customers want the lowest price, we know many of them want China direct, ok let them do it on their own time. At the show have some standards of what is a Dealer. It is called Dealer Expo after all.

Its also a reminder that Dealer Expo dropped its standards years ago and by catering to the Asian manufacturers and Pawn shops it erased what little return on investment the show had.

The truth is Dealer Expo needs to change with the times and update its culture.

The show would also do much better in a city like Las Vegas or Orlando, but dont tell that to Advanstar they really think the Midwest is where the money is in the industry right now. You need to be closer to the south and west coast where the year round dealer are. Where people are still buying scooters and motorcycles that time of year. It will be interesting to see if Tucker Rocky who just had their dealer meeting in Dallas Texas will continue with the show given the news.

Just weeks before the annual National Vendor Presentation in Madison, Wis., Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties has announced plans to withdraw from the 2013 Dealer Expo to focus on launching two new regional dealer showcases in 2013.
“We will not be displaying at the 2013 Indianapolis Trade Show,” says Lemans VP of sales Greg Blackwell. “We feel that we can no longer justify the cost to participate.”
The distributor will produce a West Coast Regional Showcase on March 23-24, 2013 in Anaheim, Calif., and a Northeast Regional Showcase on April 6-7, 2013 in Valley Forge, Penn.
“Our plan is to produce a Reno Style Showcase where we will feature over 200 vendor booths in each of these shows,” says Blackwell. “We will host a Saturday afternoon Rep/Dealer preview, a Saturday evening Meet & Greet and a Sunday Showcase.”
Stay tuned to MPN for more news on these new regional showcase events and for coverage of the annual NVP in August.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

12 Light Bulbs for the price of 4

New Dealer Startup pack for new scooter parts stores. Get 12 Light bulbs for the price of 4. The most common light bulbs dealers needs for everyday scooter use are now available in an easy to buy dealer start up pack.

We get calls from stores looking for one light bulb at a time, then the store spends $10 to express ship one light bulb. Seriously, the way to do this and to offer the best possible customer service is to have every light bulb in the shop for the brands you service and sell. This kit brings the most common light bulbs at one affordable price.

Same applies to belts, use the dealer startup belt pack to service what you sell. Save money, time, and keep customers happy with the Dealer Start up belt pack.

This belt start up pack is a great way to get the 10 most popular scooter belts in the US market covering everything from Aprilia to Zongshen. Pack includes all the most popular sizes for a new ship. TOTAL 20 BELTS 39% OFF REGULAR PRICE. Covers 50cc to 300cc units including the most popular engines Vespa ET2, Chinese QMB139, 2t JOG 40QMB, Yamaha ZUMA standard, Minarelli Europe size, SYM 50, Kymco 50cc, Kymco 250cc, Chinese 250cc, GY6 150 short, Long, and more! $400 Value at half the price! 669, 729, 723, 743, 748, 828, 830, 835, 868, 906. Brands include Gates USA (not the fake Chinese Powerlinks), Bando, Three Five Auto Racing, Kiduko, Naraku, and MRP.
    Vendor: MRP


    8mm Mirror Pack for Dealers. Includes 4 

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Slipstreamer Scooter Windshields

    MRP has been selling Slipstreamer Windshields since 2005 make sure to check out our wide selection of the best made in AMERICA windshields for your scooter.