Mark Your Calendars: New Utility Vehicle University for Dealers Debuts at GIE+EXPO

The utility vehicle (UTV) industry just got a new home and dealer training program, UTV University, at the Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) and Hardscape North America, the world’s largest trade show for the garden, lawn and outdoor power equipment industries. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) just announced it. OPEI is the majority partner in the trade show to be held October 19-21, 2016 in Louisville, Ky.

UTVs are the chosen workhorse of those with big loads to haul in all territories. The addition of training sections at GIE+EXPO for UTV dealers is a sign that this market segment is coming of age, notes Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.

More than 400,000 UTVs were sold in North America in 2015, and the industry projects sales will grow even further, as UTV dealers have an abundance of current and prospective customers. On average, consumers purchase more than $1,700 in accessories on UTVs, so dealers need to be well-versed in the options available.

“Nearly two out of three UTV buyers accessorize their units, and one in three buys the UTV with accessories pre-installed, so there is profit to be made by showcasing and upselling accessories with the sale of UTVs,” Kiser said. “Even better for UTV dealers, 40 percent of UTV buyers purchase their accessories from UTV dealers.”

Including UTV’s in the mega trade show make sense, added Kiser, because UTV safety standards are managed collaboratively with OPEI as the trade association representing the utility market. GIE+EXPO also includes every segment of the outdoor power equipment industry including the UTV manufacturers.

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The UTV education sessions will be held the first day of the show, October 19, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The education program will have a trade focus and will feature classroom-based sessions conducted by recognized powersports industry experts from Powersports Business.

“GIE+EXPO has grown significantly, and is the largest home to showcase the utility products,” said Kiser. “In fact, we’re anticipating our largest show ever in 2016, which is coming off the heel of last year’s record-breaking attendance.”

In 2015, GIE+EXPO’s footprint was 1.35 million square feet, over 30 acres and the size of 27 football fields, making it the largest ever for this mega show and, in fact, one of the largest tradeshows in the United States. The show was attended in 2015 by more than 21,000 people from around the world, representing an 11 percent increase in registration over the previous year.

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