BMW and KTM pull out of 2020 EICMA and Intermot motorcycle shows

BMW and KTM announce they will not be attending the EICMA and Intermot motorcycle shows in 2020 because of the coronavirus

BMW at EICMA 2019

Two of Europe’s largest motorcycle manufacturers, BMW and KTM, have both announced they will not be attending the 2020 EICMA show in Milan or Intermot citing the current pressure imposed by the coronavirus.

The European motorcycle industry is bracing for an unprecedented slump in sales after the COVID-19 coronavirus spread forced production plants to stop and dealerships to close in all of the key markets, such as Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the UK.

As such, manufacturers are already reorganising its commitments for the year ahead with Intermot in Germany – scheduled for October – and EICMA in November already being axed from BMW and KTM’s schedules.

In a short statement, BMW says it will focus its attentions on launching models using alternative platforms, no doubt similar to the methods employed in lieu of the recently cancelled Geneva Motor Show, which forced manufacturers to reveal their new cars online instead.

“BMW Motorrad will present the world premieres and product highlights planned for these motorcycle shows on alternative platforms in autumn 2020. In doing so, the company will increasingly rely on its own formats and digital communication channels.”

Similarly, KTM - which includes Husqvarna and GASGAS - says it isn’t safe to continue the development of brand-new models at the time being but suggested it would consider attending if the event was moved back to 2021.

“Trade shows are key business milestones for the entire motorcycle industry but given the situation, public health and the welfare of our staff are higher priorities over the coming months,” said Hubert Trunkenpolz, KTM AG CMO. “We have taken this course of action with a great deal of thought and, as a company, KTM AG would be pleased and interested if show promoters, EICMA in particular, would simply consider moving dates to 2021, where we hope and expect the situation to be settled and back to normal.”

Why have BMW and KTM pulled out of EICMA?

Though it seems strange to see manufacturers withdrawing from the year’s two premier motorcycle shows several months in advance, it represents the long-term reorganising companies are being forced to make.

While EICMA especially is regarded as the centrepiece of the motorcycle calendar and the location for a number of high-profile launches every year, the cost of hosting a stand at the events runs into the millions for the big brands.

However, as KTM intimates, it’s possible it wouldn’t have models to launch anyway as development has stopped and could remain on pause for the foreseeable future. As such, taking its launches online would give it more flexibility.

The news is perhaps worse for Intermot, which would likely have seen a larger presence from BMW and KTM due to their proximity to Germany. EICMA, by contrast, could survive on Italian and Japanese manufacturers alone, plus the hundreds of trade exhibitors.