Author: Vicki Smith
Anybody who might be worried that the motorcycle industry has cause for concern might want to take a look at last weeks EICMA exhibition in Milan, Italy. If you aren’t familiar with it the show is at the Milan Rho fairgrounds, a sprawling mass of huge convention rooms (they call them pavilions) and the motorcycle show uses 6 of them as well as a giant outdoor area for the MotoLive part of the show. It’s 280,000 square meters, or just under a million square feet. The 2014 show hosted 1053 exhibitors from 34 countries, 14 international competitions and 600 riders and performers.
It’s a first rate spectacle and when they build it every year the people come from far and wide including the Ducati.net team (we traveled from Florida). Attendance was up 14.7% this year, and in our opinion the attendance numbers are staggering – 628,600 over 6 days, including almost 7000 media professionals.
What we love is the way they build this city to conduct what for many of those 1053 vendors is the most important business of the year. To display here is a big financial commitment and they need to stand out and make it pay off. Many booths had office suites for meetings and entertaining guests integrated into them. We never once stopped anywhere without being offered a coffee or refreshment of one type or another. And the elaborateness of the booths themselves included some really beautiful (and vast) layouts. Anything from the Scrambler Ducati “Land of Joy” area where you could relax with a barber shave and haircut, to the Zard exhaust full workshop with a Ducati TT on the work bench you could look at thru the front window. I often found myself just marveling at the displays, which often were as spectacular as the bikes themselves. There was even a historic Ducati display.
To really see it all you need comfortable shoes and a dedicated plan of attack, because it’s really easy to get distracted. Between the merchandise for sale, the food of all types everywhere (including waffle sticks you could hold under three different types of chocolate fountains and then drizzle with nuts and fruit) not to mention moto hero types popping up left and right like Marc Marquez, Agostini and Dr. Costa (who has a new book out). And then there are the best in the industry models everywhere, beautiful ladies dressed from body paint to evening gowns, all the big stands use them and it just raises the whole spectacle to another level.
Considering attending? It’s easier than you think. Winter airfare at it’s lowest of the year, and the fair itself encourages “foreign trade” with free admission if you register in advance. Just don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes…
For the full gallery of EICMA images, click HERE