2014 Dealer Expo Moves From Indianapolis To Chicago With New Dates In December

McCormickPlaceWith  a long list of justifications sent to the media to support its decision, Advanstar announced that the Dealer Expo 2014 will no more be held in Indianapolis in February , but at the McCormick Place in Chicago December 5-7, 2014.

The Dealer Expo is until now the largest business to business powersports annual event but is about to face a new strong competition from the new AIMExpo (American International Motorcycle Expo) a new business and retail event to be held this coming October 16-20, 2013 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

After the motorcycle dealer and retail disaster of 2008’s global recession, trade shows like the V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati and the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis (marginally competitors) held 2 weeks apart from each other searched for a new formula to support their respective events. Although many suggestions have been made to these shows organizers, both regarding attendees, content and location, not much has changed until the AIMExpo announced its intention to revolutionize the Powersports industry as North America’s first combined consumer, trade and media event, combining indoor exhibits on 300,000 square feet with outdoor activities in Orlando at what organizers consider “the ideal time and place for new product launches, demo rides, educational programs and more.”

With already 375 exhibitors confirmed, the new AIMexpo is already a direct and very strong competitor of the Advanstar Dealer Expo. There is no doubt that Advanstar decision is directly related to the apparition of  this new show. AIMExpo, as it is done in Europe, is addressing for the 1st time in the USA both dealers, consumers and media and is already deemed to be a success, at least in being representative of the whole North American powersport industry. Of course, Advanstar will not mention its new competition, just listing a variety of reasons for a move in December to Chicago’s McCormick Place. From all these justifications to move from Indianapolis to Chicago (Advanstar includes christmas lights, christmas shopping, larger choice of flight/hotel price packages, theaters, etc…) I will mention only 3 looking to me as being truly professional.

1- Late year timing, more aligned with the dealers’ need to make prime buying decisions in the fourth quarter for the coming season. 2- Chicago area is home to hundreds of powersports dealerships as well as dozens of manufacturers and service providers, and is the third-largest U.S. metropolitan market for on-highway motorcycle registrations according to a study conducted on the top 25 powersports DMAs by Polk Research. 3- Chicago, an international destination hub that is also within easy reach of more than 80 percent of U.S. powersports retailers

40 Responses to “2014 Dealer Expo Moves From Indianapolis To Chicago With New Dates In December”

  1. 1 WheelerDealer. Sep 22nd, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Dumb move. Like we want to be in the snow.

  2. 2 Don Emde Sep 22nd, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I read the release about the move to Chicago on their own Dealernews Magazine blog and based on the replies on there alone, I’d say they are not off to a very good start. Except for a couple of counter replies, virtually of nearly 60 were very negative about a show in Chicago (unions, crime, costs) or December (timing, weather). With the move to a Fall industry show finally announced by someone (AIME) Advanstar chose not to compete against them this year. So I think the industry will now watch to see what happens in Florida. If AIME is a bust, then the door may still be open for Advanstar to takes its shot with their new concept. But if AIME is well attended, I think the industry will build around that and Advanstar would be better off to concede the trade side of motorcycle shows to AIME and focus on its series on consumer only shows.

  3. 3 Jeffrey. Sep 22nd, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Good bye Dealer Expo.

  4. 4 Shifter Sep 22nd, 2013 at 8:45 am

    What a stupid decision by Advanstar. A suicide. I see the V-Twin Expo also disappearing as soon as the V-Twin industry sees the interest to be in Orlando with the AIMExpo during Biketoberfest, with good hotels, very nice weather, meeting both dealers and consumers ($$$)

  5. 5 C.Martinez Sep 22nd, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Come to Chicago because of the Christmas lights? How retarded. What about flight delays because of snow storms. And now Advanstar tells you that Indianapolis is no more what they said it was, that the good time for a trade show is no more February but December? AIMExpo says it’s October and I agree. Who doesn’t prefer a show in Orlando attended by both dealers and bikers?

  6. 6 Ronnie Sep 22nd, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Dealer Expo. Dying. V-twin Expo. Agonizing.

  7. 7 F1340 Sep 22nd, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Panic move.

  8. 8 AC Collins Sep 22nd, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Abandoned all trade shows. Unprofitable. Just some time off to party with friends of the industry.

  9. 9 Josh Sep 22nd, 2013 at 11:33 am

    These trade show organizers are completely disconnected from what exhibitors want. The concept 2 days for professionals, 2 days for bikers work very well in europe. It’s what AIMExpo is doing in October and I bet it will work very well.

  10. 10 Jester Sep 22nd, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Going to Chicago the 1st week of December. How crazy is it? At that this time of the year the Mc Cormick building must be very cheap to rent… Advice: to Advanstar. Rent the smallest exhibitors room…

  11. 11 RideFast Sep 22nd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Dealer died years ago, now they finally got around to burying it..
    Way to go Advanstar, R.I.P Dealer Expo.

  12. 12 Hungouver Sep 22nd, 2013 at 4:11 pm


  13. 13 Toby Sep 22nd, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Competition is good…

  14. 14 Rodent Sep 22nd, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    AIMExpo is going to take over the motorcycle trade show empire!

  15. 15 Mike Sep 23rd, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I’ve attended Dealer Expo for years, and the V-Twin expo for a few years, and I am doing the AIMExpo next month.

    I wouldn’t write off Dealer Expo just yet. AIM Expo has 375 exhibitors but as I remember, Dealer Expo has more than 1,000. The simple fact is the shows need to be in major population centers, and that means from New York City to Chicago down to Washington DC or maybe down to Atlanta. In that triangle is where most of the population lives.

    The time of year is largely driven by the industry…. there is not much going on in October-December and buying picks up in February, so any show really needs to be in this range.

    We will see if the AIM Expo has got the timing right or not… but I am not sure if doing it during Biketoberfest is good thing or a bad thing. The Orlando Convention Center is more than an hour away from Daytona, and a lot of vendors will be over at Daytona… so it might mean a lot of people come to down to do both shows. Or it might mean that people largely ignore the AIM Expo.

    At this point, the 375 vendors who have put their money on the line are hoping that the people running AIM know what they are doing to bring in the dealers/distributors and the buyers. But we shall see. I hope the press will be there to cover the show as well!

    Oh, and as for Cinci… that show is dead. It was always just a place for buddies to have some beers and shoot the shit, but it was never a profitable business show. At least Advanstar is trying something. Paisanos are just going to ride that ship to the bottom of the ocean. I just got a flyer from them trying to get people to sign up for the V-Twin Expo 2014. The flyer illustrated everything wrong with the show. It was pictures of the same big companies who the show is designed for – Performance Machine, Drag Specialties, S&S, etc. There is zero desire or reason for smaller guys like me or new guys or independents to bother with that show. The new product awards are just handed out on the buddy system and what little benefit the show offers is given to the insiders who have done the show forever. The people that Betlach and his company need to get to exhibit at the show don’t go because there is zero ROI for them there. Zero.

  16. 16 Braddy Sep 23rd, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Mike. Good analysis. Easyriders v-twin expo. Is it possible that the 3 or 4 big remaining brands are still there because EZ comps their displays to attract small vendors who lose their shirts? The show has very poor attendance. The v-twin awards are a joke, given to EZ advertisers. I heard from 2 magazines that medias will not cover it anymore because last year they were charged $300 to access the floor!?! It’s Easyriders advertising prospection territory…

    V-Twin Expo. Sleeping at the switch. Now that they face the well funded AIMExpo, they act worried. They announced 2 shows during the year. Then, because of zero interest from vendors for a second trade show, they canceled it. Now, they move to Chicago at the worst time of the year to go there! If the AIMExpo is a success, no reason to go to Chicago 2 months later. Anyway, most vendors can’t afford to be in 2 trade shows a year.

    Competition is always good. As a vendor you must bet on the right show. This year, I bet on the AIMEexpo. Can’t be worse that the 2 other shows and there is money to be made during the 2 days of the show open to bikers present in Daytona/Orlando. In addition, most magazines attending Biketoberfest will stop by, giving us a chance for good media coverage of our new products.

  17. 17 Rick Lossner Sep 23rd, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Bring your guns!!! lmao

  18. 18 bikler64 Sep 23rd, 2013 at 6:51 am

    The 2013 Dealer Expo was pretty dead. Not many dealers and plenty of disappointed exhibitors. I as an exhibitor vowed this would be the last time to exhibit at the Dealer Expo. I will wait to see how the Orlando Show does before jumping into it next year if there is a 2014 show. Dealer Expo in Chicago
    In December, don’t think so. I have done Intermot for the last ten years in Germany, even this show is getting smaller. Just because the show is open to consumers, doesn’t mean they are spending money.

  19. 19 Jeff Keizer Sep 23rd, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Vendors get more coverage and reach more people (dealers and bikers) via internet at a very low cost. Dealers get all their product news and more from internet for free. Cyril Huze is responsible for killing all the US trade shows. LOL.

  20. 20 MCBill Sep 23rd, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Very good comments and insight from the above comments.

    However, the AIM/Expo is THIS October, less than a month away. Not much time for vendors to sign-up and plan to exhibit at this event. That will hurt exhibitor attendance at this first event. First impressions are critical with a start-up event, and such short notice may hurt the AIM/Expo group.

    Dealer Expo has never been a “Harley” event and, typically, only the big Harley market vendors have exhibited there, so changing the venue to Chicago will probably not have much impact on the HD market.

    V-Twin Expo has been sliding downhill for years, but it has been the only real choice for small-to-mid sized vendors in the HD market. With somehwere around 200 “Harley” vendors, it should remain as a draw for dealers.

    So the real question is, will AIM/Expo do well enough on their first outing,despite the short notice, to entice the Harley vendors for next year.

  21. 21 Tim Sep 23rd, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Wow. I need to ask the fine people at Avanstar, “Was Detriot busy?” That would be the only worse place for the show. The people who attend and set up at the show have been asking for a local in the south for years and have been ignored. Most the people who attend fly in and very few drive, many of the vendors who display have there booths shipped in so being buy a airport hub is very important. Chicago sucks, high crime, unions, corrupt city officials, not much as far as entertainment close to McCormick. on the lake so you are guaranteed icy cold blasts of air every time you step out side. Sorry do not see an up side. everyone thought the cabs and limos from the Indy airports were bad wait until they see the Chi-town hustlers. RIP
    As far as AIME goes they have a good initial start in their maiden year. Time will tell, I personally feel the timing is a little off, most would prefer the week before or even after would have been better. Many vendors have to chose and try to decide where most their customer base will be. Orlando vs Daytona. A lot of the more VTwin oped to wait and see. It is a step in the right direction.

  22. 22 Peter Jones Sep 23rd, 2013 at 9:33 am

    What will be will reveal itself. I’ve made many mistakes and continuously evolve our marketing programs from the lessons I’m learning. I might be often ignorant, but I’m a good listener. It’s likely that 20th-Century business plans are largely ineffective these days. Video killed the radio star…

  23. 23 Steve Sep 23rd, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Advanstar could pay for our travel and give us space for free and we still wouldn’t come to a show in Chicago, they proved once again how out of touch they are.
    We are taking a chance and going to the new AIMExpo show. In the phone calls we’ve had with the AIMExpo people you can tell there is a big difference between them and the Dealer Expo people, we can see the AIMExpo people truely care about the industry, OUR success and the success of the show for many years to come.
    All Dealer ever cared about was getting another check from us (during the show), they never listened to our or anyone’s suggestions or complaints and now they go and say after talking with the industry we have listened and are moving to Chicago??? Who in the industry asked to have a show in Chicago? No one I know or have talked to has said this is remotely a good idea or something they wanted.

    After 14 years at Dealer we will never go back, they burned that bridge and the entire town.

  24. 24 Brandon Deal Sep 23rd, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Steve. Same attitude from the V-Twin Expo. Miami & Orlando were suggested to them many times. Opening at least 1 day to the public was also recommended. It’s the way they do it successfully in Europe. They don’t listen. During many years they missed a huge opportunity that AIMExpo took right away. The V-Twin Expo only change was to move the show dates a little bit to avoid a conflict with the Superbowl ! Huh. Because the Super Bowl is the reason why the show in crumbling?!? The Superbowl is on Sunday evening and the show has very few visitors after Saturday mid-afternoon. You can’t organize a successful trade show if you don’t understand today’s motorcycle market. These people can’t think straight, so can’t evolve.

  25. 25 RideFast01 Sep 23rd, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Yep, let’s do the show in Detroit.

  26. 26 Terence Tory Sep 23rd, 2013 at 11:17 am

    With so many space renters,I guess you get at least a minute looking at each stall.The internet is the trade fair, drafty halls have had their day.If a trader needs a few days out of the house,be honest and just go to Vegas.(or be dishonest,and lie about a trade fair and go to Vegas anyhow!).

  27. 27 P. Davis Sep 23rd, 2013 at 11:37 am

    As a dealer, I agree with Terence. Keep your money for Vegas or the Bahamas. Nothing you can’t learn and see from these vendors on the internet while your sip a Margarita by your hotel pool. I have done both shows. No ROI, a guaranteed loss of time and money. No entertainment, boring.

  28. 28 Shaft Sep 23rd, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Very few people in the mc industry are marketing minded. If they would be they would not be in these 2 shows. Not participating and not spending with them a total of $15K was for us an immediate $15 K net profit.

  29. 29 Schmink Sep 23rd, 2013 at 11:51 am

    It’s not a common thing to be able to say everyone’s dead on here. I’m an industry insider and am finding the sentiments reflected here are very representative of the industry consensus. We are sending a couple guys to AIM Expo and have expectations it could become “The” independent (read non-Drag/PU) industry showcase in the future. Dealer Expo is pretty much in critical condition and moving to Chicago in December is ill-advised to be polite. And Cinci? It was just kind of depressing, frankly this year. It was great to see the reps and so on but once we covered business matters, the talk invariably shifted to how the V-Twin show was just a shadow of itself and isn’t going to make it much longer.

  30. 30 Steve Sep 23rd, 2013 at 11:57 am

    MCBill the AIMExpo show was announced over a year ago, plenty of time for planning. We’ve been on board for a long time now.

  31. 31 Bruce T Sep 23rd, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Don’t know about the Advanstar dealer expo. But regarding the Easyriders v-twin expo, they should stop repeating that they are the only trade show for the v-twin industry. It means absolutely nothing if vendors exhibiting and dealers visiting represent 2 or 3% of the v-twin industry. I know that Jim Betlach is trying hard to slow the hemorragia of exhibitors, but whoever is responsible for the show concept should travel abroad (Europe & Japan) to learn a few things about trade shows.

  32. 32 Davenport MC Sep 23rd, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Problem is that these 2 show organizers still think they are relevant when they have absolutely no weight for anything happening in the industry. No influence on trends, no influence on sales. RIP both of you.

  33. 33 P. Hamilton. Sep 23rd, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    And why do you think the Orlando AIMExpo was created? Because North America is an empty trade show floor.

  34. 34 Blackmax Sep 23rd, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Oh, so Indy is moved to Chicago in Dec. no less….
    It was always a toss-up tp “cover” Indy because of the uncertain weather.
    And in the end they got kind of crappy about credentials too !!!!
    But seeing it relocated like this, Forget about it !!!!
    Say what you want about the V-Twin Expo,
    but they have ALWAYS been very accomidating to me & “my crew”…
    we will always be there as long as long they chose to come to Cincinnati !!!!!!

  35. 35 Woody's Sep 23rd, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    As above. I’m an hour or two away (depending on time of day) and wouldn’t even bother to swing by & look around. Has something changed with the Chicago Unions to where anyone in their right mind would want to do any kind of display there anyway. If you tip ’em $50 you could probably get them to look the other way while you carried in a card table & folding chair. Electrical not working? Heh heh, we’ll go see what we can do…

  36. 36 BMW Shop Sep 23rd, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I’ve dealt with the stupidity of Advanstar both at Dealer Expo and the IMS shows for years, this doesn’t surprise me one bit. I’m sure they are high fiving each other over this decision while failing to notice the entire industry is shaking their heads and laughing at them.
    I called and emailed my now old sales rep and a manager at Dealer when I saw the announcement, that was two days ago and still no replie from either, not surprised because this is what I have come to expect from Advanstar.
    We are going to the AIMExpo and with all the other companys that have signed on we’re gonna make the AIME show our new and only home as far a trade shows (AIMExpo please tell us your gonna do some kind of national tour) .
    There is a passion with the folks at the AIMExpo that Advanstar will never have cause the are not riders or enthusiasts, you talk to Advanstar sales or management staff and it goes right over there heads. They just don’t get it, they can not relate to the industry and they prove this over and over again, it’s beyond me how they keep the lights on at that place.
    We are ALL in business to make a profit, but when that’s the only thing you care about (Advanstar) you are destined to fail. I tell my staff all the time we have to be the better shop, we eat, sleep and breath motorcycles something I feel AIMExpo does as well and that will always insure succes in my eyes.
    We have been over Dealer and the IMS tour for a long time now, I’m glad Advanstar has no one to blame but themselves and we all have AIMExpo to thank for stepping in and offering what we ALL have been asking for. AIME please tell us you are gonna do a national tour and make Advanstar a distant memory! Chicago…. What a joke.

  37. 37 Mike Sep 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    For the people complaining about the Dealer Expo moving to Chicago. I feel your pain… I told them for years that they should do the show in Vegas. I am from Boston – IMO one of America’s great cities. Sorry for those that this offends, but Indianapolis isn’t exactly a shining jewel of the USA. It’s crappy. And I always had very little desire to be there in February in the freezing cold. Cinci is nicer than Indy, but barely. Neither are enticing international destinations.

    But the fact of the matter is that a HUGE number of attendees drive to the show. And Indy/Chicago is within a few hours driving to a huge number of dealers. Vegas might have worked, but the problem there is that *everyone* would be flying in to the show.

    The only other option would have been to tag along with one of the existing big events. That means do the dealer show in conjunction with Daytona in March, Sturgis in August, or Biketoberfest in October. March is a bit late because buying starts in February. Sturgis doesn’t work for that reason too. October is a bit early, but it’s do-able.

    The problem for Advanstar is that now the AIM Expo has grabbed Biketoberfest, Advanstar doesn’t really have much option to do the same thing. Doing the show in December is a BIG risk.

    But the other group who have a BIG risk is AIM. I am dropping $15k on this show when all is said and done. And I better get some ROI from it! If I spend that $$ and it’s a bust, I will probably go with Dealer Expo next year. Since Dealer Expo cancelled their plans for 2 shows this year, AIM has a golden opporunity – a ONE TIME opportunity – to really bury Advanstar. I hope they make the most of it. I hope the show is good…

  38. 38 Ben Franklin Oct 7th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents to all the trade show discussions. We have been displaying at the EASYRIDER V-TWIN EXPO for over 7 years in Cincy. Our first year was only a 10 x 10 booth, and a long way from our LA ,Ca, home base. Being the “new kids on the block” it was amazing to meet and show our new Freedom Performance Exhausts to the world. It was a tremendous success and without doubt the reason we became successful. We signed up over a dozen new dealers and took orders on the spot. The 2nd year proved more successful with us signing our first overseas distributor and each year the response from the domestic and international community increased. Our 3rd year exposed us to our first major national US distributor!. Through the V-Twin Expo, we had the opportunity to meet and sign dealers and distributors from all over the world. We don’t know what the other vendors experienced, but we now have distributors throughout ALL OF EUROPE, (ZODIAC) Australia, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, South America, Indonesia, Qatar, Korea, and China, (both mainland and Taiwan) EVERY ONE OF THESE DISTRIBUTORS were met in Cincy at the V-TWIN Expo! When our US economy ran a bit lean, we continued to grow due to the strong overseas market. Without doubt, there is NO AMOUNT OF money, web or media coverage that would allow a new emerging company to meet FACE to FACE with so many prominent, potential opportunities. Allowing these new potential buyers to see and feel our quality products “hands on” is irreplaceable by any other media. Despite all the trade show “doom and gloom” we have found, the attendance may be lower, but the REAL BUYERS are still at the V-TWIN EXPO and we are proud to be attending again , our 8th year. We have no interest in where the other shows land as the only HARLEY SHOW for us is in Cincy.

  39. 39 cycledude Feb 26th, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Been to dealer expo since 1984. Even invited to Advanstar focus groups/discussions in 2005-2007 and WARNED them of all the same issues written above. “Fake’ awards, not letting in the OEM’s, BAD location, BAD weather, BAD entertainment…Indy is a fine city, but to host the show there was always a huge mistake. And, I was doing the expo when it was in Cincy BEFORE going to Indy.
    When dealers go to a show they want to learn about product, relax, place orders and generally have a decent time. Chicago will be a disaster and I also agree with the other writers that Advanstar simply doesn’t listen.
    The idea that Indy was the ONLY (actual quote from Advanstar staff) “geographically proper” place to have the show was ridiculous. With all the snow and cancelled flights and transportation problems trying to drive there from the East coast (over mountains and snow and closed roads and on and on) it took us WAAAAAAAY less time to just fly to Orlando, get off the plane in 75 degree weather, rental car for less than in Indy and enjoy a wonderful time. Advanstar you need to wake up…they teach it to you by the time you are 6 years old…LOCATION, LOCATION , LOCATION…wake up or die. Though it seems the coffin is being prepared as we write. We will NEVER attend another V-twin or Dealer Expo show again. I’m still laughing my ass off over the “christmas lights” to be a draw in Chicago. And I also agree, Chicago…the emphatic HOME of corruption, horrible Union service and attitudes…actually come to think of it, the Advanstar staff with ‘heads firmly planted in the sand” will be right at home in Chicago with their cocky attitude and “we know what’s right….not you dealers and vendors”.
    Hey Advanstar, with almost no attendees any more , now your employees will have more time to talk to each other and keep reinforcing each other why “you [advanstar] know you’re right”, and “move the show and they will come” logic. You deserve to lose dealers, buyers, vendors and sellers and will…..after all….you earned it !
    You notice Harley. Honda, etc. don’t have their Winter product shows in the ice and snow where you want to stay inside, no trip activities to do and on and on. All three of our dealerships staff will be at AIME again. For once we actually look forward to going to a cycle show in nice warm weather, lots of activities to do when not at the show and far, far better atmosphere.
    Just our thoughts and those of about 400 other fellow dealers I’ve spoken with over the past 2 years. As the writer wrote above…”goodbye and good riddance Advanstar”.

  40. 40 Blackmax Feb 26th, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Thank You Mr Franklin
    And we enjoyed the time we spent with your crew at your booth

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