A giant has fallen.

Though the pandemic is losing steam and people are re-emerging after months of lockdown, organizers of some of the world’s biggest motorcycle events are rethinking their 2020 strategy. COVID-19 forced most of them to reorganize their current season differently, both from an attendance and financial standpoint.   

While the people behind EICMA assured the event would go on as planed earlier this year, the Germans seem to be more pragmatic about the situation. Organizers of Intermot, one of the biggest and most anticipated motorcycle shows of the year, confirmed that the event will be put on hold for 2020. It will instead be replaced by an online trade show of some sort. 

In a press release shared on June 16, 2020, organizers Koelnmesse and the German Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM) explained that the decision to cancel the live event is based on the current state of the industry and the partners’ new financial reality. Simply put: the manufacturers have to reel from the—in some cases disastrous—financial impacts of the pandemic and Intermot will not ask them to put the money towards their participation in the event.   

“An event that depends on its appeal as an experience and event cannot be held in this form at this point in time and thus does not meet the expectations and needs of the industry,” commented Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, and Reiner Brendicke, General Executive Manager of IVM Oliver Frese. “Our customers’ resources for 2021 are already under heavy strain as a result of the SARS/COVIC-19 crisis. As an important part of the motorcycle industry, however, and particularly in difficult times, we want to actively support our partners and are now working full steam on a digital format.”  

He added that “normal activities” are expected to resume in 2022, which means it could be two years before we see a showroom set up in Cologne, Germany. That is, at least, the timeline the organizers suspect will be required for bike makers to get back up to speed. 

A virtual event will replace the show’s 2020 edition and organizers expect to implement it before the end of the year. Your move, EICMA.    

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Suspension of INTERMOT 2020

Classic trade fairs returning to the venue in Cologne beginning in autumn

Following extensive consultations, and in coordination with the conceptual sponsor, the German Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM), Koelnmesse GmbH has decided to suspend INTERMOT 2020 – an event it originally planned to host from 6 to 11 October 2020. A digital format for this is under preparation and will be implemented by year’s end. Regardless of the decision on INTERMOT, preparations for trade fairs scheduled for autumn 2020 at the venue in Cologne – such as spoga+gafa, DMEXCO and Orgatec – are proceeding as planned.

In contrast to trade fairs with a B2B orientation, major events such as INTERMOT draw tens of thousands of private visitors on all days of the trade fair; the hall space is limited and the time available is short. Spatial proximity and the shared experience of the trade fair form an integral part of the character of this event. At this point in time, the specifications currently in effect that have been issued by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), policy-makers and the public authorities cannot be met at major events.

With this in mind, after conferring with key players from the industry, and with a view to the health of exhibitors and visitors, Koelnmesse and the German Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM) have decided not to host this trade fair in 2020. ‘An event that depends on its appeal as an experience and event cannot be held in this form at this point in time and thus does not meet the expectations and needs of the industry. Our customers resources for 2021 are already under heavy strain as a result of the SARS/COVIC-19 crisis. As an important part of the motorcycle industry, however, and particularly in difficult times, we want to actively support our partners and are now working full steam on a digital format. With the digital INTERMOT news stream, we are creating a communication platform that will provide sustainable inspiration for the industry and the motorcycle community alike. We can then turn our full focus to the event scheduled for 2022. In future, trade fairs such as INTERMOT will incorporate more hybrid elements – to supplement the on-site experience with added digital reach. All of the stakeholders involved now have plenty of time to prepare accordingly for the next INTERMOT in Cologne, and to make this the meeting place for the international motorcycle community once again’, explain Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, and Reiner Brendicke, General Executive Manager of IVM, in a joint statement.

With this in mind, INTERMOT will continue to actively assist its exhibitors this year and support the business of the motorcycle industry as it revs back up again. We have hosted digital formats in planning that will present vehicle manufacturers’ world premières for the 2021 season, together with innovations and industry news from the parts, accessories and apparel segments. There is also a B2B talk format that will discuss ‘opportunities after the coronavirus crisis’. All of the digital INTERMOT events are scheduled for the end of 2020 and will be broadcast as news streams to the global motorcycle community. Further information will be published in the weeks ahead.