Congratulations Larry – Enjoy your retirement.

Congratulations Larry – Enjoy your retirement.

More news from the MIC this week. Read the entire press release below.

Powersports Veteran Larry Little Retires After Decades of Key Industry Posts

Irvine, Calif., June 30, 2020 – Larry Little is retiring after more than 40 years and a variety of important work in the powersports industry – from publishing, to consulting, to co-founding the American International Motorcycle Expo, to volunteer work for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, plus a long record of service with the MIC, including a decade as chair of its board of directors. Today is Little’s last official day at the MIC, although the association anticipates maintaining the relationship for years to come.
 

Larry Little


“Looking back, I’m warmed by all the great people I’ve come to know in this amazing business of motorcycling and powersports, from dealers to aftermarket manufacturers to OEMs, and to have a true sense that an industry is made up and driven by a family of people and personalities, not just brands and companies,” Little said. “Looking ahead, my own family is enjoying getting settled in North Carolina and discovering the great motorcycle roads in the Southeast.”

Married to Stephanie Britt Little since 1979, the couple has a daughter and a son, Ashley and Shaun, both married and each with a daughter.

“We’re looking forward to spending time with grandkids and visiting those folks whom we’ve missed over the years while being active participants in the industry,” Little said.

His biography showcases an extensive career in the powersports industry, stretching all the way back to the 1970s.

“I still recall, as a teenage motorcycle enthusiast, telling a teacher in high school that I wanted to work in the motorcycle industry,” he said. “But I could have never imagined how fortunate I’ve been to be involved in the industry as I have.”

A lifelong rider, Little grew up on single-track trails in rural Upstate New York. His first industry role was selling advertising at Cycle News in 1978, followed by a stop at Motorcyclist magazine before joining Cycle World magazine in 1981, becoming publisher in 1990.

“Stephanie, who was already working in the industry, played a big role in landing my first job at Cycle News, and was my biggest counselor and cheerleader as my career developed,” Little said.

Still maintaining his riding skills, his time at Cycle World saw him participate in a 24-hour, team world-record speed run (averaging more than 128 mph), on the first-year Suzuki GSX-R750, in 1985.

In 2010, he left the magazine and formed The Little Group, a consultancy providing key industry insights including research on building a new industry trade show – which led to the launch of the American International Motorcycle Expo. In 2011, Little joined that effort as vice president and general manager.

Two years later, he was named the American Motorcyclist Association’s Rider of the Year for his efforts in helping to grow the industry, with an effective industry trade gathering, as part of the AIMExpo launch team. In 2015, AIMExpo was acquired by the MIC, and Little became vice president of MIC Events.

In early 2019, when the MIC Board of Directors committed to build a long-term industry expansion program, he served as the MIC’s staff lead on the Ridership initiative, with the stated goal of creating new riders, riding more.

“I’ve worked closely with Larry since 2015 when AIMExpo joined the MIC,” said MIC President and CEO Erik Pritchard. “Our initial conversations focused on the trade show, but they quickly evolved to discussions about the powersports industry as a whole. Our subsequent work together on Ridership has been rewarding and enjoyable. Larry is a friend and stalwart of our industry, and I hope to call on his expertise and wisdom for many years to come.”

“In retrospect, my first involvement with the MIC came while I was the publisher at Cycle World and championing the early Discover Today’s Motorcycling campaign to change public perception of motorcycling,” Little said. “And it’s pretty amazing that my last role at the MIC was in a similar effort to create a program to attract new riders to motorcycling.”

Little served as an elected director on the MIC Board of Directors from 1995 to 2015, including a decade as board chair. He also served for many years on the national board of directors of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, including three years as board chair. The PBTF produces the industry’s most-known charity effort, the fund-raising Ride for Kids.

For all that he’s done, through so many industry endeavors, Little is slated to receive the MIC Chairman’s Award later this year.

“Larry’s retirement is well-deserved, and all of us wish him many decades of enjoyment,” Pritchard said. “His expertise and temperament make him uniquely situated to serve as an emeritus industry professional, and I look forward to discussions over Spanish wine and good food for years to come.”  

The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect, and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications, media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, data communications standards, and involvement in technical and regulatory issues. As a not-for-profit national industry association, the MIC seeks to support motorcyclists by representing manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and retailers of motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, ROVs, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts, accessories, and related services, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies, and consultants.

The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office in metropolitan Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914. Keep up with the industry association on Twitter @followMIC and at MIC.org.

Congratulations Larry!

New Off-Highway Motorcycle Sales are Up

New Off-Highway Motorcycle Sales are Up

Good news from the MIC this week. It turns out the pandemic has had some unexpected effects on the powersports business. They are reporting than sales of new off-highway motorcycles from January thru March are up 18.9% over last year.

Wow! Up almost 20%!

It seems as though that despite being stuck at home, many people are turning to motorcycles as an outlet. I’ve heard similar numbers from our friends in the bicycle industry as well. I am even hearing that it is virtually impossible to get a beginner level off-road motorcycle anywhere in the country right now.

I’m also hearing that the aftermarket industry is up as well. People have turned to projects in the garage to keep them busy and getting old and forgotten machines out of the mothballs is a great way to spend some time.

So now with the increase in new and returning riders, how do we keep it going? It’s up to the powersports industry to keep a large percentage of these motorcyclists around for some time. Over the last several years, all of the OEMs and industry leaders have been trying to figure out how to renew interest in motorcycling. Well, we have it. Now what?

I’m curious to know what you think. Please let me know by emailing scott@scottlukaitis.com or by replying to this post on Linkedin, Facebook, or Instagram.

AIMExpo and Tucker Powersports Set New Direction for their Annual Shows

AIMExpo and Tucker Powersports Set New Direction for their Annual Shows

Last week the AIMExpo announced that powersports industry distributor Tucker Powersports will no longer be hosting their trade show. Instead, they have chosen to be a part of the newly rescheduled AIMExpo.

Eliminating the Tucker show and taking part in the AIMExpo is a positive move for both Tucker and the AIMExpo. In light of the recent pandemic limiting travel and large gathering and the fact that many powersports dealers have experienced shutdowns of some sort due to government restrictions, having multiple shows at the beginning of 2021 was a potential challenge. It remains to be seen if Parts Unlimited decides not to have their popular Louisville NVP Product Expo in February as they’ve done the last couple of years.

I attended and exhibited at the Tucker Show and Parts Unlimited show in 2020 as well as the AIMExpo last fall. As much as I like going to Texas in January and Kentucky in February, rolling them all into one show seems like a great idea. I’d be curious to see if Parts Unlimited makes a move.
Finally, I’ve said before; our industry needs to gather together as a whole, at least once each year. The powersports industry is fun, and getting together once each year to discuss the challenges and successes is vitally essential for it to grow.

Here is the press release supplied by the MIC on behalf of the AIMExpo and Tucker Powersports.

AIMExpo and Tucker Powersports Set New Direction for their Annual Shows

Partnership with AIMExpo Delivers Expanded Product Display and Training to AIMExpo 2021

On the heels of announcing a new time and new focus as a trade-only event, the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) announces a partnership with Tucker Powersports, the country’s premier distributor and producer of products for motorsports enthusiasts. The eighth AIMExpo is scheduled for January 21-23, 2021 in Columbus OH.

One of the major cornerstones of the AIMExpo platform is to bring the industry together and create an event that allows the powersports industry to conduct its business efficiently while encouraging its growth through education, networking and professional development.

This partnership integrates Tucker’s annual Dealer Show, an expo and training event for powersports dealers, into AIMExpo, the nation’s premier trade show for the motorsports industry. The Tucker Show has hosted dealer attendees annually since 2008.

“Our dealers love the great connection they have with our suppliers and our brands, and now we’ll deliver that experience better than ever,” said Marc McAllister, president and CEO of Tucker Powersports. “Partnering with the Motorcycle Industry Council and AIMExpo allows us to do far more for dealers and suppliers than we could do on our own.”

Dealers who purchase products from Tucker are significant beneficiaries of the new partnership. Tucker dealers will enjoy a vast array of product training programs, a separate check-in experience, discounted hotel rooms, VIP activities and an exclusive lounge on the show floor.

An expanded list of Tucker suppliers will be invited to the show to exhibit products and host product and brand-specific dealer training during the event.

“As AIMExpo evolves and hones in its focus on dealers and the greater powersports industry, it’s imperative that we recognize iconic brands and develop key relationships that will help the industry as a whole,” said Cinnamon Kernes, vice president and general manager, MIC Events. “collaborating with Tucker in such a meaningful way further allows dealers and aftermarket brands an opportunity to connect in one place, at one time. The benefit of attending AIMExpo has been increased exponentially and we couldn’t be more excited to share this news.”

“The partnership with Tucker Powersports exemplifies one of the core values of AIMExpo – uniting our industry,” said Motorcycle Industry Council President and CEO Erik Pritchard. “The tremendous presence of Tucker dealers and Tucker suppliers in the exhibit hall and training rooms, along with the Tucker leadership team and representatives will help set the tone for the industry in 2021. Now more than ever it’s important that we share resources and come together to leverage the strengths of our collective businesses. This is a perfect example of the show’s theme, Together We Rise.”

Dealer registration for AIMExpo will begin in June 2020 at both the Tucker Powersports and the AIMExpo web sites. To participate as an exhibitor, reach out to us at info@aimexpousa.com

Curbside Pickup – Something you should have done before COVID19

Curbside Pickup – Something you should have done before COVID19

The global pandemic caused by the COVID19 virus is forcing dealers to look at their business and adjust to the new normal. Sales appointments, no contact service deliveries, and curbside pick-up are just some of the ways dealerships are operating and making sales.

But when this is “over,” and we are back to “normal,” do these things continue.

I say yes, and frankly, maybe you should have been doing it all along. Before the pandemic, these things should have been done for the customer’s convenience; now, it is for their safety.

Mass merchants have been using Buy Online and Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) for a couple of years, and customers used it pretty extensively. In a July 2019 study by Coresight Research, they found 50% of U.S. consumers who use BOPIS have picked up goods from Walmart in the past year, and about 34% have done so at Target. They reported 64% of consumers used BOPIS to avoid shipping costs; 37 % of shoppers used BOPIS to get their goods faster, and 36% say they use BOPIS for promotional offers or discounts. Now, almost a year later, I am sure the numbers are much, much higher.

If you are having customers buy online and pick-up in the store or curbside, will you continue to use it as part of your business model?

I, for one, think you should.

AIMExpo Moves to January – Becomes an Industry Only Event

AIMExpo Moves to January – Becomes an Industry Only Event

Significant changes are in store for the AIMExpo for 2020/2021. As they say, timing is everything and with all that is going on globally around the COVID19 pandemic and the need to change some of the show’s focus, canceling the 2019 event and announcing the 2020 date was an essential step for the show to take.

I am a believer that our industry needs events like the AIMExpo to continue to grow. We need to gather at least once each year and discuss what is going on in the industry: the good, the bad, and the ugly. In my opinion, the event needs to be in a city that is large enough to house and provide entertainment for the attendees but also small enough to allow us to take over the city. It is why Indianapolis was so great for so many years. You could walk into a restaurant, a bar, or hotel lobby and get business done with your peers. It was something that was lacking when the show was in Las Vegas and Orlando.

The shift away from a consumer portion of the show is also a positive move. While I appreciate the ability to talk one-on-one with our end-users, the need to shift focus was challenging for many of the vendors. Allowing us all the opportunity to grow our business with our dealers and distributors is a step in the right direction.

One last thing for my peers that are wondering if their company should do the show in 2021, I would say 100% yes. But it’s too expensive, you might say. I need a return on the investment you say. Here is my reply. You don’t need all of the glitz and glamor and a 40×40 space. When it comes to delivering a return, change your objective, and shoot for a return on that objective. For many companies adding a couple of dealers or a new international distributor make up all of the show’s cost. For many others, if they can get those existing dealers to sell a little bit more during the season, your costs are covered.

Look at it through a different set of eyes and make the commitment. Our industry needs this show, and it is up to all of us to support it.

Below is their press release announcing the changes.

New Time, New Focus

The Show, the People, the Experience, the Education.   Building the Future of Powersports

IRVINE, Calif., May 6, 2020 – The MIC’s American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) is moving to January 21-23, 2021 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Previously scheduled for this October, North America’s largest powersports show is changing more than timing; the show will become a trade-only event and emerge as an integral part of the buying season.
 
“Timing is everything,” said Cinnamon Kernes, vice president and general manager, MIC Events. “Transitioning to the first quarter has been part of a long-term strategic plan for AIMExpo, along with providing more focus on our core audience – dealers.  These changes not only align the show with the ideal buying time for dealers and retailers, but also provide the perfect opportunity for brands to reconnect with dealers, kicking off what will be a pivotal year for the industry, additionally, this move to January opens the door to partner with a major distributor in a much more strategic and meaningful way.”
 
A trade-only show allows AIMExpo to concentrate on industry needs and education at a time when powersports needs it most.  Quality over quantity is necessary in the new trade show landscape.  With this new focus on retailers, the show will now take place over three days instead of four, saving exhibitors and attendees time and money. 
 
COVID has forced retailers and manufacturers to change the way they do business – at warp speed.  AIMExpo’s education, developed in partnership with PSB will focus on these ideas and innovations to help retailers improve efficiency, stay competitive and improve bottom lines.  AIMExpo will provide tools and solutions for retailers as we start the new year.
 
“With all that’s happened recently, transitioning to Q1 makes sense now more than ever,” said Andre Albert, director of sales and marketing. “The show will align with the order-writing time of year; it will help alleviate financial burdens in 2020, and allows us to focus on the industry and its needs. This change in timing and focus allows brands to connect  with the most engaged buyers looking for growth and success in 2021.  We’re excited and looking forward to the evolution of AIMExpo – Together We Rise.”

Powersports Employees Included Among Essential Workers

Powersports Employees Included Among Essential Workers

Great news from the MIC that dropped on Friday, April 17th.

Revised Federal Guidance Released Today
Friday, April 17, 2020

Dear Members,

Powersports employees, in manufacturing, distribution, sales, rentals, and maintenance, are essential workers, according to newly revised federal guidelines released today. This clarifies that many powersports businesses nationwide can remain open, thanks to the addition of new language added to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.

This guidance, which outlines the federal government’s position on essential workers, is currently in use by 33 of the states with stay-at-home orders, and has always listed “automotive repair” employees as essential workers. The CISA 3.0 guidance for the transportation sector now expressly includes: “Workers critical to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, rental, leasing, repair, and maintenance of vehicles and other transportation equipment (including electric vehicle charging stations) and the supply chains that enable these operations to facilitate continuity of travel-related operations for essential workers.”

“We are grateful to CISA Director Christopher Krebs, who heard our case and made this important clarification,” said Scott Schloegel, MIC senior vice president of government relations. “Proper servicing of all types of vehicles, including during times of emergency, is absolutely necessary. However, everyone still needs to follow state and local guidelines, as well as health official directives, and practice social distancing.”

MIC Member Services

Thank you to the MIC for their hard work on behalf of the powersports industry.