We recently told you that BMW Motorrad announced that it would no longer attend EICMA or Intermot. BMW’s announcement speaks volumes that they may no longer see the value in spending money on large shows. Particularly when they can make digital reveals much more cheaply.
When COVID struck, BMW became the first “major” motorcycle manufacturer to say that it would not be attending EICMA. Shortly thereafter, KTM also announced that it would not attend. And that began a cascade of manufacturers announcing that they also would not attend.
So with COVID forcing the manufacturer’s hands, the digital launching of motorcycles is now common. Motorcycle manufacturers are busy updating their websites and portals to ensure that they can roll out their new models and accessories.
Let’s face it; it’s much, much cheaper and simpler to roll out a motorcycle digitally than it is to bring a truckload of new bike models and the staff to receive customers at a show booth. The cost of attendance at multiple annual shows must be quite expensive.
So you can’t really blame them for heading to all digital presentations of their machines. They can control when the launch occurs on their own schedule, not on the whim of a show organizer. They can control the amount and quality of information released and do it for a much lower cost than if they had to attend physically.
The end of large motorcycle shows?
But are digital rollouts and launches good for business in the long run? Yes, they are less expensive and less time consuming than attending physical shows. And they enable the manufacturers to more easily control product timing and data.
On the other hand, for many, seeing the bikes in person and talking to a knowledgeable representative has substantial value. Also, large shows allow attendees to see many brands of motorcycles at a single location. That makes for easy and timely comparisons.
And what about questions? Digital rollouts are push-based, with the manufacturer giving you only the information it wants to. But what if you watch a digital rollout and have questions? I’m going to guess that if you’ve watched a digital rollout, you’ve had a question or two by the event’s end. So if you want them answered by the manufacturer, do you now have to go to a dealer to get them answered?
And this begs a major question. Once COVID is no longer an issue if the major manufacturers stick with only digital unveilings, are you OK with it? Or would you prefer that they all return to the traditional show venues so you can see and touch the new machines and speak with a manufacturer’s rep?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.