Archive for November, 2010

EICMA Draws Record Consumer Audience

November 9, 2010

Visitors jam the Harley-Davidson exhibit during EICMA 2010 in Milan.

MILAN—Here’s a positive sign that interest among motorcyclists, at least in Europe, is alive and well. Crowds jammed the six-day EICMA show here last week, according to sales figures released by the show management. The numbers are very good, even though retail sales of bikes in Italy are down this year.

According numbers provided by show management, consumer traffic on Thursday was up 5% over the same day last year, 18% on Friday, 24% on Saturday, and 13% on a cold and rainy Sunday. That means attendance topped 500,000 visitors compared to about 450,000 at last year’s show.

Part of the reason for the gains, said EICMA Director Constantino Ruggiero, was the return of exhibitors Honda and Yamaha. Honda played a leading role, holding a huge press conference in the number one spot on the schedule Tuesday to kick off the show.

The show also drew 45,708 trade visitors,  including 12,853 foreigners, and  2,104 accredited journalists. Meanwhile, EICMA’s website also recorded strong gains, climbing from  271,438 visitors  to 340,664 visitors. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at
joe@powersportsupdate.com or 612/845-8091

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An Interview with Constantino Ruggiero

November 4, 2010

Long-Time Italian Motorcycle Leader Retires

MILAN (Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010)— Constantino Ruggiero, 72, arguably is one of the most influential leaders in the Italian motorcycle industry. He is considered by many to be the grand old man of Italy’s two-wheel industry, everything from bicycles to mopeds and motorcycles. He’s headed the national association of bicycle and motorcycle manufacturers (ANCMA) for 25 years and built its annual equipment show, EICMA, to be the largest of its kind on earth.

Constantino Ruggiero

But now, Ruggiero is moving on; he retires on Jan. 1, 2011. I caught up with this soft-spoken Italian gentleman during one of his hectic days here at EICMA.  Here’s a summary of our conversation, edited for brevity and clarity.

Joe Delmont: Your retirement was a surprise to many. When is your last day in office?
Constantino Ruggiero: My retirement is effective Jan. 1, 2011.

JD: What will you do after you leave office?
CR: Anything I can find. I have to earn money in some way and not get bored. Now we are working in order to live to 120 years of age, so 72 is a very young guy.

JD: How long have you been in the industry?
CR: 25 years at ANCMA and 23 years before that at Pirelli.

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Second EICMA-China Show Set for July 2011

November 4, 2010

Seen as an exchange of commerce at the global level

MILAN (Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010)— The second annual EICMA-China motorcycle show has been scheduled for July 2-4,2011, at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, show organizers said here today.

Plans for the show were announced at a press conference conducted by the event’s planners: CIME (China Italy Motorcycle Exhibition), a joint venture of EICMA, the China Chamber of Commerce for Motorcycles (CCCMA) and the Genertec International Advertising & Exhibition Company.

This year’s show was held last July in Beijing and drew 130 exhibitors and about 45,000 attendees. More than 200 exhibitors are expected to participate in next year’s show, said CCCM’s Bingnan Chen.

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Opening Day at EICMA’s Motorcycle Show

November 3, 2010

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with the director of EICMA Costantino Ruggiero during opening day ceremonies. It's a memorable show for Ruggiero, who is retiring this year after 25 years as executive director of ANCMA, the Italian motorcycle and bicycle trade association, and head of the group's EICMA show.

Huge show venue covers area of nearly 47 football fields

MILAN — It’s been seven years since I walked this world’s largest motorcycle show,but it seems as though I was never gone.

While much has changed at EICMA, much is the same— the almost overwhelming size, the jammed press conference schedule on the first two days (Tuesday and Wednesday have 21 press conferences) devoted to trade and press representatives. The doors open to the general public on Thursday. By the time this 68th edition of EICMA wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 7, close to 500,000 people will have walked these aisles.

The highlight of the first day, for Italians certainly if not for foreign visitors, was the opening ceremony featuring Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Security seemed especially tight for Berlusconi’s visit this year and made it almost impossible to move through the presentation area in the main administration building that houses EICMA offices and the media room where we do a lot of our work. The media center is set up with computer facilities, and it hosts the drop off area where exhibitors distribute information to the media.

Unlike in past sessions when Italy’s top politicians opened the show with comments related to motorcycles, often discussing transportation issues and plans for boosting Italy’s important motorcycle and bicycle industries, Berlusconi used Tuesday’s event as an opportunity to poke barbs at his political opponents and to talk about general political issues. Recycling,  garbage issues in Naples and proposed wire tap legislation didn’t hold much interest for international guests looking for news about motorcycles.

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Remembering why we ride

November 1, 2010

It was hell getting out of Queens and out of the city. Packed traffic on the Cross Island Parkway up and over the Throgs Neck Bridge. Accidents on the 95 heading to the George Washington Bridge. All lanes just limping along. Sitting in the jam on a superheated idling V-twin, no lane-splitting relief in sight.

Over the bridge and into New Jersey and it was hot. Not a lot of traffic, but a long list of highway changes in my travel plans. The effects of the red-eye flight were now clearly being felt, not a good thing given this was my first time on two wheels in this pocket of the Northeast. A handful of wrong turns and route changes, and things were finally smoothing out.

The city quickly fell away to country. Green ruled the color palette. The front wheel aimed north on the 87 — a straight shot (more or less) the rest of the way, and any tension that had built up during the first few hours into the journey evaporated into the ether. The only goal now was Lake George in upstate New York for the Drag Specialties Adirondack Run.

I’d been invited by LeMans to attend the annual dealer/distributor ride and jumped at the chance. The day-to-day slog of trade magazine work involves a lot of sitting, reading and editing. It means staring at a computer for hours at a time and transcribing taped interviews. It means juggling story budgets and weekly editorial meetings and lots of run-around tasks only tangentially related. It’s long bouts of grinding it out punctuated by short bursts of adrenaline.

In other words, magazine work is lot like many other jobs. So when given the chance, I happily snag the perks that come in the form of new bike intros and organized press rides or, in this instance, the fifth annual installment of the ride organized by Drag Specialties. Turns out I wasn’t the only one eager to step out of the office for a little two-wheel therapy.

Jim Matchette, Drag’s national sales manager, says the run was launched not only as a way to bring together its dealers, vendors and sales employees, but also as a chance to ride motorcycles in great locations. “That’s why we all got into the business in the first place,” Matchette said.

And boy, did they get it right this time. Two major loops featuring hundreds of miles of woodsy, twisty blacktop, all of it winding through upstate’s sheer natural beauty. The trees were just starting to turn, so the greens ran into reds into yellows. One trip went to Lake Placid, home of the 1980 Winter Olympics, the other up and around Lake Sacandaga to a lunch stop at the picturesque Jimbo’s Club on Brant Lake.

On one of the loops, I had the chance to ride with Jim Bannon and Buck Shelton, owner and service manager, respectively, of Mavrix Motorsports, a Honda Powerhouse dealership in Middletown, N.Y. Also in our group were their superstar Drag rep, Rick Pence, and one other LeMans employee whose name now escapes me. Good dudes all around. We took a wrong turn at one point that — like all good wrong turns — led to a miles-long lakeside road filled with banked turns and fast bits of two-lane.

Two days of riding through some of the best scenery this country has to offer. Nearly 400 miles of not thinking about a computer or a deadline or a desk or a meeting. Nothing but the steady drone of the road and wind one hears inside a helmet. Trees and turns and lakes and rain and road and acceleration. It was constant locomotion punctuated by leisure and cocktails and conversation.

After it was over, on the ride downstate into the city, the obvious smacked me upside the helmet. Matchette was absolutely right about actually taking the time to get out and ride, to get out and enjoy why most of us got into this business to begin with — riding motorcycles.

I’m not too sure about everybody else, but it’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the workaday minutiae of our careers, even when working in this great industry, and put our passions on the backburner. So I wonder, how often do you get out and ride? How about your employees? Let us know at
editors@dealernews.com.

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews November 2010 issue.