Guillermo Pajon Discusses The Success & Importance Of 2022’s Bigger & Better F2R Motorcycle Industry Event
The 2022 F2R event, also known as “Féria de las 2 Ruedas” (meaning “2-wheel fair” in English) is the most important motorcycle industry event in Latin America. This year’s event, back after a COVID pause, broke all records, completely filling Medellín’s Plaza Mayor convention center. The event features two days of industry-only dealmaking and seminars, then opens to the motorcycle enthusiastic public for a final two days of showcasing products, commerce, entertainment, and fun.
Special update: VIP admission for 2023 F2R is now available at: https://feria2ruedas.com/
As always, Finance Colombia is present, and Executive Editor Loren Moss (above, left) was able to speak briefly with F2R’s very busy founder and organizer, Guillermo Pajón (above, right) for an update.
Finance Colombia: Here I am again, in 2022, with Guillermo Pajón, the businessman and founder of F2R. We’re finally back after a two-year pause, how do you feel about it?
Guillermo Pajón: I’m very excited. After so many years of waiting, getting prepared for the reunion. It couldn’t have been the same. We were resilient. We did two digital fairs; we didn’t know about digital fairs, we learned how to do digital fairs. But we got prepared, because we couldn’t come back to this 2022 version just like it was in 2019. Today we’re showing before the world the Feria de las 2 Ruedas Colombia as the most important version of this event for Latin America.
This is a fair that, as of today, puts us as one of the premiere five fairs in the world, not said by us but by the business people that travel the world attending fairs, and that makes us proud, because thanks to media like yours, to the business people, to the bikers that came in numbers today attending the fair because they wanted to once again embrace each other, they wanted to shake hands, they wanted to come back again to meet their brands, and that’s what Feria de las 2 Ruedas is today: the great meeting of the motorcycle industry in Latin America.
Finance Colombia: That’s fascinating. I have come here for many years and each time it gets bigger and bigger and right now it’s full! I don’t know what you are going to do next year. I have seen new brands. Tell me about the growth. It’s obvious we’re walking shoulder by shoulder, there’s barely space. Today’s Saturday, it’s been open to the public for two days. But tell me about the new brands, about the presence and the growth of the event.
Guillermo Pajón: Our commercial area grew 25%. The venue, in these two years of pandemic, built another 2800 square meters and we managed to fill them in the wait during those two years, because in 2020 the fair had an occupation of 98%, we were ready, and then suddenly, “Oh, we’re locked down!” The venue built another area and people asked us if there was more space, and okay, there is more space! And in these two years we managed to occupy that new area in the venue. You leave me worried, because I don’t know what I’m going to do in 2023 either!
We must do something because the fair keeps growing. The fair keeps demanding more businesses, especially from Europe, because in Europe the hadn’t participated in Colombia’s Feria de las 2 Ruedas, and today the main houses, the biggest businesses in Europe in the motorcycle industry have their eyes on America; not only Colombia, but on America, and I believe that it will be very important not only for the Feria de las 2 Ruedas, but for all the fairs on the American continent.
Finance Colombia: Something that I’ve heard from good sources is that now this is not only the biggest, most important fair, exhibition in Latin America, but in all of America, including the US and Canada. This one’s already the number 1, and like you’ve already said, one of the five most important ones in the world, and it is already the most important in the Americas. South, North, Central America, the Caribbean, that’s what I’ve heard, and I think so too.
Guillermo Pajón: Sure. I think it’s been the product of responsible work; Colombia’s geographical location has been helpful. There’s an industry that’s learned a lot from the mistakes, and that led Colombia to have today ten million motorcycles circulating, and 60% of Colombia’s vehicles, maybe even a bit more, are motorcycles. And that made the industry grow, learn from the mistakes, from understanding what’s the best thing for the bikers, for the industry, and that’s why today this fair has all the motorcycle brands, even with all the difficulties in terms of logistics that we’re facing after the pandemic, with all the difficulties in terms of products and resources for the industry, here we are.
Finance Colombia: Something that I’ve seen is that now we have a large presence of electric vehicles. Motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards. There are some motorcycles that I think…Big motorcycles that are electric. That’s something new that we didn’t see here in the event three years before, that’s a growing sector. Motorcycles are now environmentally friendly. But it seems to me that this is a sector that is now growing in the event, right?
Guillermo Pajón: Sure. As an organization, we consider that it is important to create some space for environmentally friendly mobility, and for that reason we created the pavilion for sustainable mobility at F2R. There we have a test drive where people can go and test the motorcycle, the bicycle, the skateboard, all the electric vehicles, learn about them, and the myths that exist regarding the electric mobility could be solved by the brands. That is one of the novelties that we present in this Feria de las 2 Ruedas edition. In Colombia, this last year has seen a 200% growth in the sales of electric vehicles, and that’s a great indicator of how many new electric mobility users will show up.
Finance Colombia: You have been very generous with your time. Next question, as local residents, I live here in Medellin. What’s the importance of this event for Colombia and specifically for Medellin?
Guillermo Pajón: This event dynamizes the economy of the city, of the country. It creates more than 6,000 jobs in operating the fair alone. It creates a whole economic branch, which is very important after the pandemic. Now we’ve entered a reactivation, because many of the families of the employees sacrificed because of the pandemic. Here we have the ones that design the stands, the models, the taxi drivers, the restaurants, the hotels; the fairs activate that economic part, that social part, and that’s one of the things that the fair brings to the country and, logically, to the city.
Finance Colombia: I’m from the US, but we have friends here from Peru, from Mexico, Venezuela, there are always many countries. How many countries are here today for this event? There are always more and more but I remember like 50, 60, I’m not sure. How many countries are represented here?
Guillermo Pajón: We managed to…We thought we had 35 countries, but you have just said it yourself. We have showcases that have come from everywhere in the world, something we didn’t think could happen because of the pandemic. Today we have more than 2,000 accredited international visitors; we don’t know about the ones that were not accredited, but that’s already a great signal about the internationalization of the fair for 2023. This is the invitation to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Feria de las 2 Ruedas in 2023, so you can wear your best outfits to this fair that will be, once again, something you cannot miss.
Finance Colombia: Do we have the dates?
Guillermo Pajón: May 2023’s first week.