SEMA News - April 2010

Powersports & Utility Vehicles Section Debuted at the 2009 SEMA Show


More than 5,100 attendees comprised of powersports dealers, accessory retailers and buyers interested in powersports products participated in the 2009 SEMA Show.

In any given year, the SEMA Show has more than 130 exhibitors that manufacture, distribute or retail powersports products. At the 2009 SEMA Show, a dedicated Powersports & Utility Vehicles section debuted in the upper South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, adjacent to the Trucks, SUVs & Off-Road section. Sixty exhibitors chose to display in the new section, while approximately 70 more elected to exhibit within other sections of the Show.

Industry trade publisher and marketing partner Powersports Business was among those with a booth in the section, as was exhibitor Rick Haffner of Interparts Industries. “Our recent experience at SEMA’s powersports section was outstanding,” said Haffner. “We experienced a large volume of traffic, gained a number of new accounts and took orders at the Show that more than offset the ‘price of admission.’ We will definitely be participating in the 2010 SEMA Show.”

More than 5,100 attendees comprised of powersports dealers, accessory retailers and buyers interested in powersports products participated in the 2009 SEMA Show, including executives from powersports mega distributors such as Tucker Rocky. The newly relocated attendee registration and New Products Showcase drew increased attendee traffic from the more than 106,000 SEMA Show attendees to the upper South Hall where the Powersports & Utility Vehicles section and the Making Green Cool Zone were located.

Inaugural Powersports Dealer 20-Group Meeting Held at the 2009 SEMA Show

In conjunction with the SEMA Show, Gart Sutton & Associates conducted a powersports dealer 20-Group meeting at the Renaissance Hotel adjacent to the South Hall. The dealers toured the SEMA Show on Wednesday and settled in for their meeting on Thursday and Friday, when they shared financials and discussed successful operating strategies in order to help each other’s dealerships improve sales and profitability as well as discuss how SEMA’s resources could be leveraged to help grow the powersports industry.

SEMA Senior Marketing Director Dan Hobgood took the opportunity to solicit critical feedback from Gart’s group in an effort to make improvements and add value to powersports attendees’ experience at to the 2010 SEMA Show.

“We found that the powersports dealers were very interested in the SEMA Show due to the lifestyle crossover with powersports,” Hobgood said. “Many hot-rod owners also have custom V-twins in their garages, just as sport-compact vehicle owners have Japanese road bikes in theirs. Many truck owners have dirt bikes, and a lot of exotic car owners have Italian road bikes. It was also interesting to see that the educational needs of powersports dealers were very similar to those of car dealers. Of particular interest to the powersports dealers was how to sell to younger generations, customer satisfaction, online marketing and social media—all of which were among the topics of the more than 60 free seminars at the 2009 SEMA Show.”

Gart Sutton & Associates will return to the SEMA Show for 2010 with a Dealer Update program, which will include two days of powersports dealer-specific education in eight supersessions covering essential information about parts and accessories, financing and insurance, and service and dealership management—all taught by top powersports industry experts. Registration for the sessions includes two industry keynote speaker lunches and a special state-of-the-industry powersports panel. According to Gart Sutton, “This is truly a groundbreaking opportunity, since it will be the very first time we offer Dealer Update training to non-20-Group dealers. Dealer Update at the SEMA Show will be open to all powersports dealers.”

SEMA Creates a Powersports Advisory Group

Founding SEMA Powersports Advisory Group (PAG) members gathered at the home of powersports consultant Gart Sutton in Corona del Mar, California, on January 8, 2010, for the first official SEMA PAG meeting. Attendees included Sel Narayana, KTM North America Inc. director of logistics and operations; Ken Laivins, Hardstreet owner; Glen Laivins, Cycra Racing principal; Troy Lee, Troy Lee Designs president; Steve Johnson, Tucker Rocky president and COO; Sean Finley, Source Interlink Media motorcycle group publisher; Wilfried Eibach, Eibach AG CEO; Gart Sutton, Gart Sutton & Associates Inc. president; John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology; Tom Myroniak, SEMA vice president of marketing and member services; and Hobgood. Several other members, including Bart Hayes, owner of PowesportGrafx and a founding member of the SEMA PAG, were not able to attend the first West Coast meeting but will be attending the second meeting to be held in Daytona, Florida.

“The PAG’s mission is to help the powersports industry survive the current economy and be poised to thrive when it recovers by aligning SEMA’s resources with the needs of the powersports industry,” said Hobgood. “There’s a lot the powersports industry can learn from the auto industry and vice versa. SEMA’s lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., have successfully defeated anti-hobby legislation that banned land use for off-road vehicles and ‘noise’ caused by aftermarket exhaust systems in several states. SEMA offers live webinars and seminars as well as online courses that include product training, online marketing, customer satisfaction, sales basics and so much more. And with the crossover lifestyles, it’s a natural to get the powersports and automotive industries together.”

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