, the long-serving manager of the Philadelphia Auto Show, has been named chair of ASNA for 2016.
In addition to other ASNA Committee members, Gempp is being joined by Chris Konecki
, executive vice president of the Chicago Auto Show.
As chair, Gempp will be leading the ASNA Committee as it works toward a full program of events associated with the ASNA Summer Meeting. Other members of the ASNA Committee include:
, Miami International Auto Show; Sean Brickell
, Hampton Roads International Auto Show; Jo McKinley
, DFW Auto Show; Paul Stasiak
, Buffalo Auto Show; Lou Vitantonio
, Greater Cleveland International Auto Show; and Jennifer Whisenant
, Alabama Auto Show.
The ASNA Summer Meeting, which takes place ahead of the Automotive Trade Association Executives gathering, will be at the
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
, in Alberta, Canada, on July 12-13.
This year's event will begin with a kick-off gathering hosted by GES
Tuesday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The schedule is designed to accommodate a variety of travel itineraries, allowing everyone to arrive safely and check in to the hotel.
Full details on the ASNA Summer Meeting and ATAE schedule will follow in future issues of the Auto Show Report.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Anyone who has experienced one or more of the dozens of auto shows running throughout North America will attest to the increasingly experiential elements of various automaker displays.
It's no longer a novelty for show visitors to log in to a tablet or other kiosk display for more information on the vehicle for which they have an interest.
Days or even hours later, a visitor will receive more information in the format they have requested, most often by email, but possibly even a phone call from a dealership.
At least one company - Eshots - is hoping to position itself as a leader in the business of helping automakers with an integrated system for not only capturing leads from visitors, but converting that interest at the dealership.
The company, which was founded in 1998, most recently signed the Chicago Auto Show as a sponsor, the intention being to help various automakers displaying at the show with the tools that would help them integrate their data capture activities.
While Eshots (www.eshots.com
) works with about half the OEMs currently, that work doesn't always include a presence at an auto show, says Steve Grefier, executive vice president of business development at the company.
With the Chicago Auto Show arrangement, and presumably any other auto show that chooses to link up with Eshots, the firm's platform would be available throughout an event. There is no obligation for an automaker displaying at a show to take advantage of that offer.
"If they have their own preferred supplier, that's fine, too," says Grefier. "What we're able to offer is a system that's highly integrated with tools an automaker is already using, helping them maintain their data capture investment and giving an auto show the tools that will help prove the effectiveness of the event."
Auto shows is an obvious opportunity for Eshots to expand its business given that it has already captured more than 2.5 million leads for automotive customers at some 10,000 event days in the past year alone.
Its work includes helping clients set and benchmark event strategies, says Grefier. "We maximize consumer lead capture and track and convert those leads. The big thing for us is helping an automaker maximize the return on investment around those events and integrating those leads and data across the entire show (and ultimately across multiple shows)."
Grefier acknowledges that there is a "significant fragmentation" when it comes to where companies spend their marketing dollars, something he believes Eshots can help with. "The more we can prove out the value and measure the value of work done at auto shows, the more we can prove how people interact at a display and ultimately make a purchase decision," he says.
Grefier sees this step as part of an evolution of digital, with auto shows playing a key role in that process. "Consumers are becoming more and more used to getting the information they want in a hyper-timely way. They have better apps and they genuinely want to have dialogue with automakers. We're doing our part to help facilitate those conversations."
Apple, which is widely rumored to be involved in the development of an autonomous vehicle, has leased a former Pepsi bottling plant about a 10-minute drive from its headquarters, raising the volume of speculation around its intentions. Apple declined to comment on the report, published in the Silicon Valley Business Journal
. Another tech giant, Google, is reportedly hiring talent with experience that would be useful in the building of a self-driving car. Other reports have suggested that Google may be getting ready to partner with Ford on a project, although neither company is discussing any possible relationship.
A study done by AAA is suggesting that even though 75 percent of Americans are "afraid" of riding in an autonomous vehicle, about two-thirds of respondents say they want some of
the basic technologies upon which such a vehicle would be based. John Nielsen
, AAA's managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, told auto journalist
of the Detroit Bureau
that the "building blocks" of self-driving cars are being added quickly.
"The technology is constantly improving and well-trusted by those who have experienced it." While automakers appear to be capable of solving technical issues, they
must still win over the consumer, 84 percent of who believe they are better drivers than any machine could possibly be.
On March 17, a group of 20 automakers jointly announced with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
a commitment to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all cars by 2022.
Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors,
Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process.
At least one automaker is bringing a key safety message—people who own vehicles subject to a recall need to take action—to unusual places. Honda used its sponsorship of a battle of college bands in Atlanta's Georgia Dome to highlight some 11 Honda and Acura models that need to have airbags replaced. In a Bloomberg news report, Honda and General Motors were singled out for using private detectives (in the case of Honda) and YouTube, Pandora and Yahoo advertisements (GM). Mark Rosekind
, the head of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the efforts are "really the final action that needs to be taken to improve safety. Otherwise, it's diagnosis without treatment." Bloomberg said in its story that a record 51.3 million U.S. vehicles were recalled last year. But, on average, one out of four recalled cars still don't get the free repairs.
A provider of voice recognition technology and applications for the automotive industry says it is testing out new systems that will make it easier to connect with smart devices and other kinds of consumer electronics while in a vehicle. Nuance Communications Inc.
, which may be better known for its Dragon line of software that automates dictation, is increasingly focused on the automotive space. "Our cars and consumer electronics are increasingly connected, and now we're seeing an ecosystem emerge where they are becoming connected to each other," said Bob Schassler
, executive vice president of Nuance Mobile. Automakers, including Ford, BMW, Toyota and Daimler already use the company's technology in their vehicles. Now the company says it is making its Nuance Mix platform available, which would allow suppliers to develop connections to the wider market. Both Dragon Drive and Nuance Mix, products of Nuance, are "platform agnostic," meaning they can be customized for the preferences of an automaker.
ATAE Peter Kitzmiller
, president of the Maryland New Car & Truck Dealers Association, says this year's Motor Trend International Auto Show—Baltimore proved to be successful, in spite of earlier worries attendance might have been dampened due to Super Bowl Sunday.
That never materialized, said Kitzmiller.
As the show dates neared, there were also concerns that trials related to violence in the city would have an impact, but the dates were moved.
'Like just about everyone else, we had a pretty good year. And we're very pleased that we've been able to build back our base of manufacturers who display at the show.'
ATAE Peter Kitzmiller, Motor Trend Auto Show-Baltimore
What did help inject new interest in the show was a change in floor plan, the first to have occurred in about 10 years.
Those changes were largely driven by exhibitor preferences, with General Motors, as an example, asking that its various divisions be separated, unlike in other years where the opposite was the case.
Kitzmiller is happy that the show was able to secure at least one new vehicle that has yet to hit dealer showrooms, that being the Buick Cascada convertible. A new SUV from Cadillac was also shown.
"We're actually not sure why we got those," says Kitzmiller, who suspects it was dealer involvement that may have helped get those vehicles at the Baltimore show.
As is the case with a number of other shows in the Motor Trend circuit, a collection of premier and high-end luxury vehicles, all under the duPont Registry Live
banner, were featured.
There were also four Ride and Drive opportunities, a record for the show.
"Like just about everyone else, we had a pretty good year," said Kitzmiller. "And we're very pleased that we've been able to build back our base of manufacturers who display at the show."
Profile: Motor Trend International Auto Show Baltimore
Feb. 4-7, 2016
Baltimore Convention Center
240,000 square feet
$12, Adults, $8; Seniors (Thurs.-Friday); $10, Seniors (Sat.-Sun.); Military (with ID), $8, Children (under 12) FREE .
Thursday, noon-10 pm; Friday-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm
Motor Trend Auto Shows
ATAE Peter Kitzmiller, President, Maryland Automobile Dealers Association
Weather is one of those universal subjects that we all seem to love talking about, even if the details might be a little messy.
Such is the case with the Buffalo Auto Show, held in a region of the country that's legendary for the amount of white stuff that can fall in a season (although those hearty folks seem to deal with it with little choice in the matter).
Show manager Trey Barrett
, who works with ATAE Paul Stasiak
of the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, says this year's show (which he's fond of saying was "70 and sunny inside") was hit, not with snow but with bitterly cold weather that had broadcasters urging people to stay indoors.
'We definitely were affected by the weather. Because it was mild before the show, and then a cold snap, we had people who might otherwise have attended being
encouraged by health authorities and others to stay home.'
Trey Barrett, Buffalo Auto Show
"That's not something you want to hear when your business is getting people to an auto show," says Barrett.
Never mind that the show was sandwiched in between two periods of mild weather (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit).
"We definitely were affected by the weather," adds Barrett. "Because it was mild before the show, and then a cold snap, we had people who might otherwise have attended being encouraged by health authorities and others to stay home."
Thankfully, not everyone listened.
"We actually had pretty good attendance," says Barrett. "Just not what we're used to.”
Toyota stepped up with a Ride and Drive event, its second year in a row.
While the show maintained its classic "Cars and Stars" theme, Barrett and his team gave an extra push this year to engaging kids, notably through the appearance of characters like Captain America and Spider-Man.
"They were a tremendous draw for us," says Barrett. "And popular for families who would bundle up their children and head down to the show."
Barrett was particularly pleased with the appearance of GigaMaxx, a nine-foot robot that was an instant hit. "People just loved this guy. He was conversational, charismatic and funny." The company that operates the robot, which was sponsored by Chrysler Dodge Jeep, is online at www.gigamaxx.com
Also featured at the show were three former Buffalo Bills players—collectively known as the "Bermuda Triangle"
—who were brought together for an auto show appearance. Fred Smerlas
, Jim Haslett
and Shane Nelson
hadn't seen one another for 30 years, which made the reunion all that more significant.
Barrett also says having at least two auto manufacturing facilities in the Buffalo area also helped drive enthusiasm for the auto show, including a "tear down and rebuild" demonstration of an auto engine (thanks to the GM Powertrain plant). Ford has a sheet metal stamping operation that works hand-in-hand with the Oakville, Ont. plant in Canada, which is less than two hours' drive from Buffalo.
Profile: Buffalo Auto Show
Feb. 11-14, 2016
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
110,000 square feet
$9, Adults; FREE, Children 4 and under. Presale: $8 Presale Discount Tickets and $27 Family 4 Pack available at Tops, Wegmans, NOCO and Dash's. $8 tickets also available at www.buffaloautoshow.com.
Thursday-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm.
Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Paul Stasiak
President, Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association
Trey Barrett, show manager
In all the variations of auto shows throughout Canada and the U.S., sometimes it just comes down to the fundamentals.
For ATAE Dave Sloan
, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, the group that owns the Chicago Auto Show, creating an environment where those who are in the market for a new vehicle can do their "hands on" research is what continues to pay dividends.
"It's because we're able to move metal," said Sloan. "And that's what marketers are looking for."
Traffic in any big city, Chicago being no exception, can be a challenge, but ATAE David Sloan and his team continue to hit that issue straight on by hosting a dinner for traffic reporters.
'Being in February, and coming out of the winter, the media is primed and ready to go. They know if they help us deliver a strong auto show, they'll reap the benefits all year long.'
ATAE Dave Sloan, Chicago Auto Show
While Sloan says he heard lots of anecdotal evidence that the show was delivering for dealers, stories of people showing up at dealerships after being at the show, he's confident a surge of business during and following the nine-day show is tracking what dealers have come to expect.
"A lot of what we do and why we do it, of course, is about driving sales for the industry," adds Sloan. "Being in February, and coming out of the winter,
the media is primed and ready to go. They know if they help us deliver a strong auto show, they'll reap the benefits all year long."
Traffic in any big city, Chicago being no exception, can be a challenge, but Sloan and his team continue to hit that issue straight on by hosting a dinner for traffic reporters.
"We explain how important it is that people know the best way to get to McCormick Place, not that people should stay away," he adds.
On the social media front, Sloan says the show extended its marketing reach through a variety of channels, although he did acknowledge that the absolute numbers were down a few percentage points.
"We're working to find out if that was our advertising mix," says Sloan.
Another highlight, although not new for Chicago, was the return of Camp Jeep, which is the largest on the circuit.
"We talk about this every year, but Jeep really stepped up their game," says Sloan. "They've always done a great test drive, but somehow they were able to have their all-time best year. And people still wait 45 minutes to an hour to enjoy the experience."
An entirely new floor plan for the Chicago Auto Show was also featured, prompted at least in part by requests from exhibitors to be close to competitors for cross-shopping purposes. As a result, only three exhibitors this year were in the same place as they were previously.
One example: Toyota was able to have its Rav4 "Blizzard to the Beach" test track next to its exhibit space.
"It gave everything a fresh look," says Sloan.
Profile: Chicago Auto Show
Feb. 13-21, 2016
1 million square feet
$12 adults (13 and over), $7 seniors (65+) and children (7-12)
9 am-10 pm every day.
Chicago Automobile Trade Association
It was steady attendance at this season's Midlands International Auto Show, following a bump last year, but Tam Webb
, a full-time employee of the Omaha World-Herald
and producer of the show, says it was what she saw in the faces of those show goers that was most interesting.
"It was very noticeable that the intent was there," says Webb, who works directly with ATAE Loy Todd Jr.
and the Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association to make the show happen.
"We saw families getting in and out of vehicles, checking out everything about them and that clearly spoke to me about what their intention was as far as what they were going to do when they left the show. They were going to the dealer to make a deal."
In short, it was a positive energy show.
'We saw families getting in and out of vehicles, checking out everything about them and that clearly spoke to me about what their intention was as far as what
they were going to do when they left the show. They were going to the dealer to make a deal.'
Tam Webb, Midlands International Auto Show
"That's what people were there for," says Webb. "It felt really good this year, all four days of the show."
Which, of course, makes for happy dealers. "That's for sure," says Webb, adding that a good many of the local dealers are involved throughout the event. "We have some really great dealers that make sure the show comes together in a way that brings out the best in this market."
Webb says one of those "key" people is
Loy Todd himself, who helped arrange for a crushed car to be brought in for a contest, an idea Webb had heard about from someone at the ASNA Summer Meeting.
"We don't crush cars in Nebraska," says Webb. "But Loy went to work and we were able to get one sent to us for the contest."
At a show in a market the size of Omaha, Webb and others admit they have to work extra hard to make sure they are able to deliver on an auto show that keeps audience interest high, even though the vehicles themselves are obviously the main reason people attend.
"Private collector cars continue to be popular, but we don't have exotic dealers here, so we work with some of the car clubs around," adds Webb.
In the end though, it's those smiles—on the faces of future customers—that continues to drive the show.
"This is really what it's all about," says Webb.
Profile: Midlands International Auto Show
Jan. 28-31, 2016
Century Link Center
194,000 square feet
$9, Adults; Children (7-12) and Military (with ID), Seniors (65+), $6, FREE 6 and younger
Thursday 11 am-9 pm; Friday & Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-5 pm
ATAE Loy Todd Jr.
Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association
In a city where sports are king, organizers of the Philadelphia Auto Show took note of the popularity of the Women's World Cup, which was held in nearby Canada in 2015.
That led ATAE Kevin Mazzucola
and Mike Gempp
, director of the Philadelphia Auto Show, to turn a portion of the show floor at the Pennsylvania Convention Center into half a soccer field.
But the big attraction was Carli Lloyd
, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, member of the 2015 FIFA World Cup champion team, and 2015 FIFA Player of the Year.
'What we saw, was an opportunity to bring an entirely new audience to the auto show and it really worked.'
Mike Gempp, Philadelphia Auto Show
The intent for the auto show was to capitalize on the popularity of the sport, one that isn't necessarily the first that comes to mind, especially given the popularity of other professional sports played by men.
"What we saw," says Gempp, "was an opportunity to bring an entirely new audience to the auto show and it really worked."
With stands and a goal in place, Lloyd put on a series of demonstrations for the young girls that look up to one of the biggest stars in the U.S. women's soccer universe.
Perhaps just as importantly, their parents, at least some of whom may have never been to an auto show before, got the chance to link what had to be one of those "lifetime memories" with an event show organizers hope they'll want to experience again.
The show was also blessed by great weather and outstanding support from automaker exhibitors, contributing to one of its best years as far as attendance is concerned.
Another highlight was the Black Tie Tailgate pre-show event that attracted some 5,000 people and generated about $600,000 for The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Division of Neurology.
The organizer’s strategy for the Black Tie Tailgate is to earmark each year's donation to a specific department, which gives that department’s employees a sense of ownership around the fundraising effort, including ticket sales and other promotional efforts.
Show organizers also set up "The Garage," an area overlooking the Mercedes-Benz and Lexus displays that featured family seating, upscale food and craft beers as well arcade games, the idea being to provide a place that would appeal to the after-work, after-hours crowd—with the obvious connection to the auto show.
"This is something that shows like ours, which run for nine days, try to focus on," says Mazzucola. "We know we pack the weekends, so the question is how do we grow attendance on weekdays, and we think getting the audience that's working during the day to socialize around a great event like the auto show is one opportunity for that."
To build that momentum, show organizers are building relationships with downtown business groups, like the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and others, to encourage them to use that space during the auto show.
Other show highlights included the return of Alfa Romeo to the show, a Viper simulator, Mustang simulator, Hyundai Racing Game Experience, and even a Harley-Davidson "Jumpstart" Experience where visitors could sit on a bike, rev the engine and see how the modern classic goes through its paces.
Clearly, Mazzucola and Gempp are both upbeat about the momentum that’s building for the Philadelphia Auto Show.
"It's great to see this kind of action in a year where we're coming off record sales and we see a strong beginning for 2016," says Mazzucola. "In a market that represents $3 billion in annual sales, anything we can do to help leverage that on behalf of the consumer and the industry is going to be welcome."
Profile: Philadelphia International Auto Show
Jan. 30-Feb. 7, 2016
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Over 650,000 square feet
$12, Adults; $9, Military; $6, Seniors (62+ weekdays only); $6, Children (7-12); FREE, Children 6 and under.
Saturdays, 9 am-10 pm; Sundays, 9 am-8 pm; Weekdays, Noon-10 pm
Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia
ATAE Kevin Mazzucola
Executive Director, Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia
Auto Show Director, Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia
If there were any doubt whether an exotic car like the Aston Martin Vulcan, one of only three destined for the U.S. (and 24 in total to be manufactured), makes for a great auto show attraction, ask ATAE John Putzier of the Pittsburgh Auto Show.
"We spent a lot of effort and quite a bit of money to get this particular car to our show," says Putzier, who along with show manager Jill Costic, organized the "Galleria Exotica," with the $3.7 million vehicle being the centerpiece.
While it wasn't the first year for the special display, it was the first under the Galleria Exotica name and Putzier has no doubt it will be returning, based on the crowds that it attracted, "all day, every day."
Show organizers even had to do a bit of reconfiguring at the display, just to give people room to maneuver in a way that promoted a comfortable flow.
For the show as a whole, coming off last year's traffic woes (a major access to the downtown event was closed for the weekend) meant a major increase in attendance—perhaps as much as 40 percent.
'They see a vehicle and they find it's something that they might not have considered. That happened with my wife.'
ATAE John Putzier, Pittsburgh Auto Show
"We're back to where we were as far as attendance is concerned," says Putzier.
With what has so far turned out to be a snowless winter, even the cold weather during the show wasn't enough to keep the crowds away.
Many of them, an estimated 12,000, took one of the shuttle buses provided by the Rivers Casino from its huge parking facility, feeding off the reality that Pittsburghers don't like to pay for parking.
They also, apparently, don't mind using the auto show as a Valentine's Day date.
"It's a bit of a tradition for some people," says Putzier, perhaps tongue in cheek.
When those folks do come, along with others, including government workers who are off on President's Day, it's not unusual for the estimated 58 percent of attendees who plan to buy a vehicle in the next 12 months to leave the show having decided on something that wasn't on their first list.
"They see a vehicle and they find it's something that they might not have considered," notes Putzier. "That happened with my wife."
Also highlighting the show was the annual Red CARpet premiere, which raised a record $400,000 for charities such as the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.
"Our sponsors really step up to the plate to make this happen," says Putzier, who notes that the entire $250 a ticket price goes to the charity.
Profile: Pittsburgh International Auto Show
Feb. 12-15, 2016
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
330,000 square feet
$12, Adult; $10, Seniors; $10, Military; FREE for children (12 and under)
Fri.-Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun.-Mon., 10 am-6 pm.
Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE John Putzier
CEO, Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association
If there ever was a doubt that auto shows are doing the job they were intended to do—provide an opportunity for people who are in the market for a new vehicle to do hands-on research—ATAE Jack Perkins
, whose Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association owns the Northeast International Auto Show, wants to put that thought to rest.
"We could definitely see it with the crowds that came to this year's show," said Perkins. "The feedback we had and through conversations we had with people at the show, they see it as a valuable tool in helping them decide what vehicle they would ultimately purchase."
'We've talked to a number of dealers who tell us that people are specifically mentioning that they've been to the auto show and are at the showroom to follow up on that interaction.
It's good to hear those kinds of stories.'
ATAE Jack Perkins, Northeast International Auto Show
While this particular auto show was filled with features designed to bring people into the hall and spend as much time as they needed to do their research, Perkins said the focus remained the vehicles themselves.
What was particularly evident was how many people seemed intent on getting their hands on various technologies on the vehicles. "They could try out those features to see how they worked," he added.
Along with the demonstrations, the popularity of the Ride and Drive continued to be evident, with Toyota playing the key role this year.
Perkins added that dealer response was especially positive after this year's show.
"We've talked to a number of dealers who tell us that people are specifically mentioning that they've been to the auto show and are at the showroom to follow up on that interaction," he said. "It's good to hear those kinds of stories."
Perkins said those who run the auto show are becoming better at capturing attendee interest and following up with those who have a genuine interest in making their purchasing decision.
"We know that there are a lot of tools out there for doing research on vehicle choices, but there's something unique about the auto show experience, being able to compare multiple brands and models," added Perkins.
Also highlighted at this show were displays of exotic vehicles. "People really enjoy looking at what's available, especially vehicles that are rarely seen on the road."
Profile: Northeast International Auto Show
Jan. 29-31, 2016
Rhode Island Convention Center
120,000 square feet
$12, Adult; $9, Seniors; $8, Students, FREE for children (6 and under)
Fri. noon-10 pm; Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun. 10 am-6 pm.
Motor Trend Auto Shows
ATAE Jack Perkins
Executive Vice President, Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association
Having a discussion with ATAE Chris Adelmann
is always something of an adventure, if for no other reason than he's seldom content with the status quo.
This season's Saint Louis Auto Show, which is owned by the St. Louis Auto Dealers Association, had as much to do with marketing as anything else, an effort Adelmann says resulted in a double digit increase in attendance.
"Our evenings and weekends were both slammed," says Adelmann. "There were always crowds."
'People were really enjoying what they saw, based on the feedback we got from exhibitors and attendees.
They loved the experience and those who were working the show were getting the kind of questions you want from people who are ready to buy.'
ATAE Chris Adelmann, Saint Louis Auto Show
His strategy in getting to that point included not only more impressions from various media outlets—with a focus on 15-second spots for broadcast—but better deals.
"We almost doubled the number of spots we had, and that was coming off a year when we had already doubled our reach," says Adelmann.
Another significant shift in strategy had those media buys starting an entire week earlier than was customary, resulting in much more penetration in the market.
Adelmann says he had evidence, albeit anecdotally, that people were noticing, seemingly surprised that the show was on their radar.
At the show, however, it got even better.
"People were really enjoying what they saw, based on the feedback we got from exhibitors and attendees," says Adelmann. "They loved the experience and those who were working the show were getting the kind of questions you want from people who are ready to buy."
This year, the auto show partnered with a nearby go kart operation, the Gateway Kartplex
, associated with Gateway Motor Speedway.
Once Adelmann and his staff got municipal approval for the event, it was all green lights.
"It was a lot of fun for everybody," says Adelmann, who says entertainment while people were waiting "helped take their mind off the wait."
Adelmann says getting ready for next year's show is all part of the magic. "It's fun for all of us," he says. "Once you get it up and running, it's a matter of analyzing what you're going to do next year, how to fix what's not broke and make it better. That's the fun part of this business."
It's also understanding what drives an event like the auto show.
"You look for things that can not only keep people happy but do so in a way that offers the best experience possible. When you have people spending up to four hours or more at the show, that's a significant investment, so it's something we take seriously."
Profile: Saint Louis Auto Show
Jan. 28-31, 2016
America's Center and Edward Jones Dome
502,000 square feet
$11, Adults; $5, Children (6-12), FREE, Children under 6
Thurs., noon-9 pm; Fri., noon-10 pm; Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun., 10 am-5 pm.
Saint Louis Auto Dealers Association
ATAE Chris Adelmann
Executive Vice President
St. Louis Auto Dealers Association
It's been a year since the long-time producer of the Spokane International Auto Show retired, so we were interested to hear from ATAE Don Kellman
, who continues to head the Spokane New Car Dealers Association, how things were going now that Kip Nedved
had hung up his hat.
Thankfully, says Kellman, Kip Nedved's son, Spencer
, has been able to continue serving as an on-site liaison with various exhibitors, a role he handled with his father.
'The idea was that we wanted obviously to showcase the newest current technology, but also give a nod to our past and a look ahead to what people will drive in the future.'
ATAE Don Kellman, Spokane Auto Show
Beyond that, the show has had a rebranding of sorts, including a new logo and a shortened name—it's just Spokane Auto Show now.
Kellman and his team have also themed the show—"Past, Present and Future."
"The idea was that we wanted obviously to showcase the newest current technology, but also give a nod to our past and a look ahead to what people will drive in the future," says Kellman.
The past part of the equation has come in the form of vintage vehicles brought to the show in cooperation with collector car clubs, something Kellman says will continue to be part of the show.
"Every classic car was, at one point, a new car in a dealer showroom," he quips.
Also featured at the show was, for the first time, a "kids area" equipped with pint-sized electric vehicles, sponsored by local dealers. "Those were extremely popular," says Kellman.
Profile: Spokane International Auto Show
Feb. 12-14, 2016
Spokane County Fair and Expo Center
110,000 square feet
Adults, $7; Seniors (62+), Active military (with I.D.), $6; Children under 12, FREE;
Friday, 10 am-8 pm; Saturday, 9 am-8 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm.
Spokane New Car Dealers Association
Spokane New Car Dealers Association
Like many auto shows in major cities, sometimes just competing with other events is part of the excitement.
Like what Toronto's Canadian International Auto Show faced with its opening weekend, which coincided with the National Basketball Association's All-Star game.
But this show is bigger than that, says show manager Jason Campbell
, who has now put to bed his second event (he worked in Formula 1 racing for some 20 years before taking on his role at the auto show).
Even threats of a taxi strike, which did not materialize, were not enough to dissuade the thousands who attended the 10-day show.
Campbell, who works with ATAE Todd Bourgon
, head of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, brought in a new public relations team after the long-serving manager at the agency retired. The new group, Enterprise Canada, has a distinguished track record in managing events, says Campbell.
On the media side, Campbell says show organizers have developed strong and positive partnerships with the major outlets, including the city's four daily newspapers and all the broadcast outlets throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Canada's most populous region.
'Overall, this year's content was much stronger than it has been in the past. We're very pleased with how things turned out.'
Jason Campbell, Canadian International Auto Show
This year's show was very much focused on content, as one might expect in a time when demand is very close to what automakers can produce as far as supply.
Campbell's efforts this year to bring more international concept cars and international reveals were successful, with Toyota's U2 utility van concept and a first showing of Tesla's Model X among the highlights.
The show also holds an industry day, in collaboration with the Automotive Parts Manufacturing Association, ahead of the public show.
"We're building momentum," says Campbell of the auto show's strategy of broadening its appeal across the region.
That includes adding features like "Art and the Automobile," which showcased the evolution of vehicles and the advertising that supported them.
The show also arranged for a collection of six cars from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame
to be displayed next to the "Auto Exotica" area, which included clips of classic races shown among the displays.
"Overall, this year's content was much stronger than it has been in the past," adds Campbell, who pointed to a modest increase in overall attendance. "We're very pleased with how things turned out."
Profile: Canadian International Autoshow
Feb. 12-21, 2016
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
650,000 square feet
Adults, $23; Children (7-12), $7, Children 6 and under, FREE. Family admission (2 adults, 2 children), $45.
10:30 am-10 pm, exception closing Sunday, closed at 6 pm
Trillium Automobile Dealers Association
Canadian International Autoshow
ATAE Todd Bourgon
Trillium Automobile Dealers Association
Automotive Trade Association Executives
The Auto Show Report
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
ATAE Executive Director