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Volume Eleven, Issue Seven - June 2016
As past attendees will attest, the ASNA Summer Meeting (July 12-13 this year) is always a great time to network, discuss and celebrate everything related to the 65 auto shows that take place across North America every year.
This year in particular promises to be an outstanding event, and not just because of the venue—the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada.
Starting with the Tuesday evening, opening reception, sponsor GES will escort attendees to Lake Minnewanka (“Water of the Spirits” in the Nakoda language) for a dockside reception and private lake cruise, offering an extended opportunity for conversation amid spectacular views this part of the world has to offer.
The schedule serves to accommodate travel schedules, so get ready to enjoy the evening.
Starting early on Wednesday, July 13, Summer Meeting attendees will have a busy day ahead of them, with many of the favorite topics that ATAEs with responsibility for an auto show have come to appreciate.
In addition to those, organizers of the Summer Meeting have asked Foresight Research, authors of the “Power of Auto Shows,” to provide an update based on recent data collected in the last season.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Joe Rohatynski, who continues to consult on media relations issues for ASNA, will also be present on Wednesday, when he will give a short update on the best ways to maximize the impact of the study findings.
Steven Szakaly, the Chief Economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), has been confirmed as the luncheon keynote speaker on Wednesday.
There will also be the customary roundtable discussions involving manufacturers, exhibit houses and other industry partners, along with opportunities for one-on-one connections, the kind of informal networking that earns the Summer Meeting a “must attend” spot on many calendars.
Mike Gempp, this year’s ASNA Chair (and manager of the Philadelphia Auto Show), will be involved in a discussion about the future integration of data collected for exhibitors at auto shows. Gempp will share his experiences and, with the help of suppliers Fish Technologies and Eshots, help bring insight on potential best practices.
“It will definitely be a very important discussion,” says Gempp. “We know that many of our ASNA members have been looking forward to hearing more about this issue at the Summer Meeting.”
An article by Melissa Mittelman of Bloomberg News
points to the growth of mainstream small SUV sales to women (34 percent from 2010 to 2015) as indicators of just how strong the market continues to be. In the same period, premium small SUVs saw 177 percent growth in sales to women. Notably, 40 percent of all female buyers aren’t married, a point that Mittelman’s article says may represent a shift in gender demographics of vehicle sales. One interesting point: at least one industry insider, Celeste Briggs
, director of the Women’s Retail Network at General Motors
, says the trend may find its way to the dealership. “Dealerships that welcome and invest in women have the opportunity to create a strategic advantage,” wrote Briggs on the website.
Two United States senators known for their outspoken views on the auto industry are asking automakers to address a perceived weakness in the seat backs of vehicles on the road. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
have asked 17 automakers to provide documentation related to the seat back. Regulations for seats haven’t been updated since the 1960s, according to an article by Michael Strong on TheDetroitBureau.com. Both senators are members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Even in an era of relatively low gas prices, more than half of California residents say they are likely to consider an electric vehicle as their next vehicle. While sales of plug-in EVs represents only 3 percent of the new vehicle market, others say there’s an opportunity for growth in sales. “California’s blend of car culture, technology incubation, and environmental consciousness create potential for huge growth in EV sales,” Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union, told Michael Strong of TheDetroitBureau.com. “There’s a real market opportunity for automakers to offer electric vehicles to the millions of California consumers who are ready to go electric.”
The inventor who created the two-wheeled Segway PT
is teaming up with Toyota to complete development of a motorized wheelchair. The iBot, created by Dean Kamen’s DEKA Research
, is designed to overcome traditional limitations, including the ability to climb up and down stairs. It can even rise from a standard, seating position to about six feet in height, according to an article by Paul Eisenstein
on TheDetroitBureau.com. “Toyota and DEKA share the same vision of making mobility available to people of every kind of ability,” said Kamen. “We are excited about this new relationship and excited about what it means for making that dream a reality.”
When heavy snow basically wipes out a full day of your four-day auto show, one of the first things you do is look forward to next year.
And so it was with ATAE Tom Kwiatek
, who heads the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association and reports a 12 percent increase in attendance over last year. Anyone who needs a reminder of what happened can check out our story here
But Kwiatek is in something of a growth mode as he looks for ways to add more exhibit space, even as he rents facilities from Lehigh University
for the show.
'What we have going for (our Ride and Drives) is that (they're) all within the college campus. We’re not on public roads and at least one of the manufacturers told us that they do more rides per hour than any other location,'
—ATAE Tom Kwiatek, Lehigh Valley Auto Show.
“Last year, we tried something different, which was the addition of a small tent,” said Kwiatek. “That added 15,000 square feet to what we were able to offer exhibitors, and provided us with the base for what we’ve called the Marketplace.”
Kwiatek is studying the possibility of adding another 30,000 square feet of space through another tent structure.
The benefit of that extra space comes in the form of adding new display options from commercial vendors. A lack of space in early shows was the limiting factor.
“Now they have a place,” said Kwiatek, who was also able to accommodate displays of motorcycles in the Marketplace.
Also featured at this year’s show was an open wheel race car that Paul Newman had given to Mario Andretti. It was the last car that Andretti drove in his final year of competition.
“It drew a big crowd,” said Kwiatek.
One of the regular show features is a gala event that has continued to raise substantial funds for the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital
With a $100,000 pledge made to the organization, Kwiatek and his team have been able to build a strong relationship that includes a substantial group of people associated with the hospital talking up the auto show.
Kwiatek said the auto show continues to get great feedback from manufacturers who participate in various Ride and Drive events, which will in all likelihood be expanded in the future.
“What we have going for us is that it’s all within the college campus,” said Kwiatek. “We’re not on public roads and at least one of the manufacturers told us that they do more rides per hour than any other location because of the pre-designed route, with no lights and no traffic. They can do what they want and it’s very efficient.”
Profile: Lehigh Valley Auto Show
March 17-20, 2016
Lehigh University Athletic Campus Buildings
120,000 square feet
Adults (13 and over), $10; Seniors (65+); $7 Children (7-12) $7; Children 6 and under FREE.
Thurs.-Sat., 10 am-9 pm; Sun., 10 am-6 pm.
Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association
ATAE Tom Kwiatek|
Executive Director, Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association
(click on Auto Show icon)
Even as ATAE Charlie Howard
reflects on the most recent Cincinnati Auto Expo, he’s already getting ready for a transition that will see the Greater Cincinnati Auto Dealers Association begin producing its own event in 2017.
The transition, he says, will certainly be one that includes a challenge or two, but after 27 years of working with Hart Productions, a family owned business, dealers wanted to bring the show in house.
“It’s been a great partnership,” said Howard. “We’re still doing some business with them and they’ve been very helpful during the transition.”
'About one third of the people are those who return to the show every year, another third are first time visitors, and the remaining third come back every three-to-five years, which looks to us like a buying pattern.
Those are rock solid numbers for us.'
—ATAE Charlie Howard, Cincinnati Auto Expo.
Attendance at the most recent show was up 10 percent over a five-year average, one reason being that weather cooperated—meaning no snow.
“In fact, it warmed up to about 75 degrees but February can still be mushy for us so there’s no guarantee that we aren’t hit from time to time,” he added. “We do get winter.”
One of this year’s features was a “Dream Machine Boulevard,” a selection of high-end vehicles that Howard said would not typically appear at a show like Cincinnati, including an Aston Martin Vanquish that prompted a few interesting tweaks.
Put it at the entrance to show and you can imagine the impact such a display would make.
Howard says he noticed manufacturer displays that were larger this year, which contributed to an overall impression of more substance.
“That was very much appreciated,” he added.
What hasn’t changed over time is how the typical audience for the Cincinnati show is reflected in survey numbers.
“About one third of the people are those who return to the show every year, another third are first time visitors, and the remaining third come back every three-to-five years, which looks to us like a buying pattern,” said Howard. “Those are rock solid numbers for us.”
Ride and Drive features from Ford and Toyota were both successful, with strong audience support (and surprises expressed) for the idea, likely a reflection of the Ride and Drive concept still being new for some.
Profile: Cincinnati Auto Expo
Feb. 17-21, 2016
Duke Energy Convention Center
200,000 square feet
Adults, $11; Children (13 and under), FREE . Two for one matinees on Thursday and Friday (11 am to 6 pm).
Wed., 5 pm-9 pm; Thurs., 11 am-8:30 pm; Fri., 11 am-9 pm; Sat., 10 am-9 pm; Sun., 11 am-5 pm.
Hart Productions, Inc. (show will be self-produced beginning 2017)
ATAE Charlie Howard|
Executive Vice President
Greater Cincinnati Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Dave Rolf
never tires of extolling the virtues of the Hawaii Convention Center
, which is home to the First Hawaiian International Auto Show.
And who can blame him?
It is a spectacular venue, especially welcoming for someone who values the vista as well as the new vehicles the event brings to islanders every year. In addition to what every auto show offers, the facility features works of art and a beautiful sculpture, all nestled in a facility the size of four football fields.
'The irony is that most of the electricity we produce here in Hawaii is generated through oil. We use more oil to make electricity than any other state, which is a great reason for us to make the transition
(to electric vehicles).'
—ATAE Dave Rolf, Hawaii.
The event begins with something that is truly unique when it comes to auto shows—an “official” Hawaiian blessing ceremony that is a tradition for most big events in the Aloha state.
At this year’s show, Rolf and his team were able to secure a broad range of “automotive art,” including a classic chrome-covered 1931 Packard (dubbed by some as the “Monopoly” car).
Another highlight was the 2016 Bentley Benteyga.
Rolf said the show boasted an abundance of electric vehicles, a nod to the fact that Hawaii has one of the highest adoption rates for the technology in the nation, tied for California on a per capita basis.
A popular standout among the EVs was the BMW i8 with its butterfly doors.
Along with the electrics, the show was one of a few to feature the Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell electric.
Yet not that far away was a collection of muscle cars, including a 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat among others.
From Rolf’s perspective, the future is very much one that will highlight the use of both electric and hydrogen as a source of vehicle propulsion, which will benefit the state in ways the average American might not realize.
“The irony is that most of the electricity we produce here in Hawaii is generated through oil,” he said. “We use more oil to make electricity than any other state, which is a great reason for us to make the transition.”
Profile: First Hawaiian International Auto Show
March 18-20, 2016
Hawai'i Convention Center
200,000 square feet
Adults, $10; Seniors (62 plus), Students, Military, $8; Children 12 and younger, FREE.
Friday, noon-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm
Motor Trend Auto Shows
When it comes to setting the stage for the Greater Kansas City International Auto Show, ATAE Larry Carl
has one overarching objective.
“We really have a theme, a rallying cry if you will, and that’s to do better than we did the year before,” he said.
For the most recent show, Carl’s inspiration was the city’s Plaza Art Fair
, a three-day event that occurs every fall.
“I’m amazed by the number of people who attend,” said Carl. “Some go for the artwork but it’s as much of a social event, a place where people can gather and just be together. Camaraderie is a big part of its attraction.”
With that in mind, Carl set out to bring a little of that magic to this year’s auto show.
He started by thinking about what occurs at the Plaza Art Fair that could be duplicated at the KC Auto Show.
'It became a social destination for people who came to the auto show, which was exactly what we were hoping and expecting,'
—ATAE Larry Carl, talking about KC's Garage, a new feature within the Kansas City Auto Show.
“For starters, we can guarantee the ideal weather inside,” he recalled of the thought process he began taking following last year’s auto show.
In the end, what Carl and his team (the event is produced by the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Kansas City) came up with was the KC’s Garage, a purpose built opportunity for adult attendees to grab a cold one.
Along with the liquid refreshment in the form of beer or a glass of wine, show organizers also worked out an agreement with the KC Food Truck Mafia
, a collective of eight local vendors on wheels that was launched in 2012.
The gathering included DJs spinning favorite tunes on all three days of the show.
“The first hurdle was getting the convention center to give us the go-ahead,” said Carl, who worked out an agreement after making sure all the pieces were in place, including “all the administrative things that could get you tripped up,” notably the green light from the local fire authorities.
“On the first day of the show, every one of the food trucks was sold out.”
Thankfully, everyone was able to restock in time for day two.
“It became a social destination for people who came to the auto show, which was exactly what we were hoping and expecting,” said Carl.
The numbers certainly support that effort, with a reported 11 percent bump in attendance.
“People stayed longer at the auto show because they had food options, and they could have a beer if they wanted,” he said.
Carl also worked out a strategic alliance with Lego, something he said he’s been working on for about four years. It came together in the form of a sneak peek for the Lego Kids Fest, which came to the city May 13-15.
“They brought their Lego assets and set up in a corner of the show,” said Carl. “It was a great draw, giving us 160 percent increase in the number of kids that we normally get to the show.”
Profile: Greater Kansas City International Auto Show
March 2-6, 2016
Bartle Hall/Kansas City Convention Center
300,000 square feet
Adults (13 and over), $11; Children (8-12), $6; Military (with ID) and Children 7 and under, FREE
Wed., 5 pm-10 pm; Thurs.-Sat.: 10 am-10 pm; Sun.: 10 am-6 pm
Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Kansas City
ATAE Larry Carl|
CEO, Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Kansas City
When it comes to mixing things up, ATAE Jeffrie Schultis Fricke
, who heads the Greater New Orleans New Car Dealers Association, is as busy as she’s ever been.
A case in point is this season’s Greater New Orleans Auto Show, which for the second year has included the Spice of Life Women’s Expo New Orleans, a feature that Fricke had previously produced as a standalone event.
She says both events are now benefitting from a surge in attendance, which was her intention.
“It worked, definitely,” she said. “We had a 7 percent increase in auto show attendance this year and that’s on top of a slight increase the year before.”
'The big point here is that we had a lot of cross-over between both events and both were winners as a result.'
—ATAE Jeffrie Schultis Fricke, who has added a Women's Expo to the New Orleans Auto Show.
Fricke said attendees who were initially headed to the women’s show were also likely to head over to the auto show, which was obviously the intention.
“We also saw couples coming in and women heading over to the Women’s Expo first, but the couple then got together afterward,” she said.
“The big point here is that we had a lot of cross-over between both events and both were winners as a result.”
More than 10 years since Hurricane Katrina
devastated New Orleans and the surrounding area, Fricke said the demographics have changed, with population now about the same as before the natural disaster.
“We’re now seeing that people have moved to the city from the suburbs,” said Fricke.
That translates into a somewhat younger demographic, with more young professionals and a downtown that has seen major redevelopment of old bank buildings. “There are now a lot of luxury apartments, which appeals to a younger demographic lifestyle,” Fricke added.
Of particular interest is the developments that have taken place near the Morial Convention Center, home to the auto show.
“That area is separate from the French Quarter and it’s taken on a life of its own,” said Fricke. “It brings in more and more people to the city and it’s an area that is vibrant. More and more people are coming to events in an area that’s turning into one of the more popular places to be.”
Profile: Greater New Orleans International Auto Show
March 4-6, 2016
Morial Convention Center
290,000 square feet
Adults; $9; Seniors, Military, Ages 12-17, $5; Children 12, FREE
Fri., 3 pm-9 pm; Sat., 10 am-9 pm; Sun., 11 am-6 pm.
Greater New Orleans New Car Dealers Association
Auto show veterans already know how strong even a single draw can be in energizing the public, encouraging not only those who might not otherwise attend, but satisfying seasoned show goers.
At the Oklahoma City International Auto Show, headed by ATAE Peter Hodges
, this year’s “draw” included a throwback from the 1995 Detroit show, the iconic Ford GT90, a vehicle that veteran auto observers have called one of the “best concept cars—ever.”
'It’s a feature that we can use over and over again. It’s another family event that keeps people excited about the auto show.'
—ATAE Peter Hodges, who bought an 18-hole mini golf course for the Oklahoma City Auto Show.
“This is a vehicle that very much looks like a concept,” said Hodges. “You know this is something you’re not going to see on the road. It was—and is—unique in its own right.”
Hodges, to his credit, used the draw in much of his marketing leading up to the event.
But the GT90 wasn’t the only reason to attend this year’s OKC Auto Show.
Hodges’ group invested in its own 18-hole mini golf course, a feature that takes up 6,000 square feet of space.
It was a feature that Hodges discovered in an article last fall. Intrigued, he did more research, including a trip to the manufacturer and the decision to purchase the kit.
“We had the supplier fly out and help put it together; it’s a feature that we can use over and over again,” said Hodges. “It’s another family event that keeps people excited about the auto show.”
Show attendees paid $5 a round for the experience, with funds raised going to Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
Profile: Oklahoma City International Auto Show
March 4-6, 2016
Oklahoma State Fair Park
213,000 gross sq. ft.
$10 adults; $4, children (7-12); 6 and under free.
Thurs-Friday, 11 am-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm
Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association
If you think your town gets into everything Irish during the month of March, Jason Wilson
can probably beat your story.
The fact is, pressure coming from three different Irish festivals, plus basketball fever that is a perennial part of life in the area surrounding Richmond, Va., is more likely than ever to remain a challenge for the Virginia Auto Show.
Enough of that.
Wilson, who manages the show, produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows, is now looking forward to a date change that will see the event moving to President’s Day weekend in February.
“We were presented with the opportunity and jumped at it,” said Wilson, who has been with the Greater Richmond New Car Dealers Association for four years. “The reality is that there’s not much else happening in the area in February, so we aren’t going to be competing with the Irish festivals or basketball—and we’re right in the heart of ACC country, the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
'The reality is that there’s not much else happening in the area in February, so we aren’t going to be competing with the Irish festivals or basketball—and we’re right in the heart of ACC country,
the Atlantic Coast Conference.'
—Jason Wilson, referring to a shift of dates from March.
Wilson said he and folks like ATAE Don Hall
were pleased with the attendance, which was almost identical to last year, a positive point in light of the competition for attention already discussed.
“We really are looking forward to the February dates as something that will provide us with consistency. Everyone agreed it was the right thing to do,” he added.
This year’s event brought a significant change in layout, which Wilson said was a welcome change-up.
“It gave it a fresh look,” he said. “There was a different vibe, which certainly helped us overall.”
The temporary installation of a zip line that went the length of the inside of the show was also a feature that drew attention, particularly from media outlets that fueled public attention (and attendance).
“We had a lot of live radio coverage and it gave that extra piece of excitement that was very welcome,” added Wilson.
Wilson also oversaw various cross promotions, including one with the key country radio station in town, which broadcast a feed from an annual Nashville festival.
“That alone was a pretty full experience for country music fans,” he said.
Profile: Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show
March 11-13, 2016
Greater Richmond Convention Center
150,000 square feet
Adults, $10; Seniors, $5; Active military (with ID), $5; Children (7-12), $3; Children 6 and undeer and 12 and under on Family Day, FREE.
Friday & Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday 10 am-6 pm
Motor Trend Auto Shows
ATAE Don Hall, CEO, Virginia Automobile Dealers Association|
Show Director, Richmond New Car Dealers Association
Rochester has the kind of economy many other cities would envy, if for no other reason than overall business has a consistency that extends to the auto sales sector and thus the auto show.
“Consistent really is the word to describe it,” said ATAE Brad McAreavy
, president of the Rochester Automobile Dealers' Association, Inc. “The ups and downs of our attendance is very minimal; in a good year, we might be 2-4 percent up. But our lows are in the single digit range.”
This past season was clearly one of the good ones, with attendance up about 2-3 percent, said McAreavy.
One of the tools he used this year was a campaign with Groupon. “They were very easy to work with,” said McAreavy.
'We use every square foot of that for the vehicles and there’s just no space available to do anything beyond that,'
—ATAE Brad McAreavy, whose auto show venue is tight for space.
The challenge, as it is with many other auto shows around the U.S. and Canada, is focusing on building attendance in any week day show days, the weekends being where most of the traffic concentrates, for obvious reasons.
In Rochester’s case, McAreavy used Groupon to focus on Thursday and Friday attendance, with the offer cheaper on those days. Groupon buyers could get two tickets for the price of one.
His staff then did a survey to dig a little deeper.
About half of those who attended said the Groupon offer was a deciding factor, but about half those who went to the show on the weekend days said they would have attended regardless of the incentive.
As far as features at the show, McAreavy and his staff typically stick to the display of vehicles, the biggest factor in that decision being the relatively small size of the convention center—no more than 80,000 square feet.
“We use every square foot of that for the vehicles and there’s just no space available to do anything beyond that,” he said. In other words, forget about autograph signings or anything else not related to a vehicle, although there were a few vendor booths related to the car business that were able to be accommodated.
Rochester has looked at the possibility of Ride and Drives but based on logistics—especially the lack of nearby parking and a convenient way to get show goers to a staging area—it would appear the limitations outweigh the interest.
That hasn’t stopped Rochester dealers and the auto show from taking advantage of what is clearly the kickstart for the spring market. “We get a lot of enthusiasm generated with the auto show,” said McAreavy. “It’s that first big opportunity for people to start their shopping experience and we get a steady stream of people who love to be able to do that.”
Anyone who lives in a region that values its warm weather, especially when harsh winters are a seasonal reality, understands how distracted a community can become when sunshine arrives, even on the weekend of an auto show.
So it was this year that the Twin Cities Auto Show took a hit from an attendance standpoint, even with a record-breaking Sunday gate.
“It was unseasonably warm,” said show director Mary Velline
, who notched her second event since joining the staff of ATAE Scott Lambert
and the Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association.
That said, the auto show is growing significantly, having sold out its space at the Minneapolis Convention Center, as organizers are regularly pressed by exhibitors to book more.
“We have every inch of the convention center pressed into service,” said Velline.
Even so, Velline is generating opportunities, including this year’s title sponsor, SuperAmerica
, a chain of fuel and convenience stores serving the upper Midwest.
But arguably an even bigger “plus” at this year’s show involved taking over of the convention center’s second floor ballroom space.
Velline split the area into two “season” rooms, one labeled “Spring and Summer,” the other “Winter and Fall”—both sponsored by Toyota Trucks.
The branding couldn’t have been more appropriate in a state where interest in the great outdoors lines up very nicely with the popularity of trucks, which are said to outnumber cars on the road.
“We set up the displays with all the appropriate décor you’d expect to see,” said Velline. “The outdoor gear and fishing scenes and even trees, plus of course all the vehicles you’d be using in those settings.”
Toyota clearly scored with its exclusive sponsorship, dubbed Toyota Truck Season.
“It was a huge hit,” said Velline.
The auto show also featured a classic car walk, with its front and center location close to the entrance hallway, thanks to the involvement of local car clubs and sponsorship by WCCO, the CBS affiliate in the Twin Cities.
In addition, space was set aside to showcase new technologies that are available on today’s vehicles, a feature that generated significant media attention.
That part of the show was sponsored by Great River Energy
, a not-for-profit cooperative supplying one-third of Minnesota residents and businesses with electricity.
Profile: Twin Cities Auto Show
March 12-20, 2016
Minneapolis Convention Center
450,000 square feet
$10, Adults; $10; Junior (age 11-15), $5; Children under 10, FREE
Sat.: 10 am-10 pm; Sun.: 10 am-7 pm; Mon., Tues., Thurs.: 4 pm-10 pm; Wed., Fri.: 10 am-10 pm.
Greater Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association of Minnesota, Inc.
Mary Velline, Show Director
It didn’t take Jason Heard
long to figure out there was an issue that had to be resolved around scheduling for the Vancouver International Auto Show.
The scheduling issue wasn’t directly related to the auto show, but rather to how long Heard and his auto show crews would have to move in and move out.
“We had some international conferences that were booked before we moved from BC Place,” said Heard. The auto show is now at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The impact of this year’s show was a day lost in what had previously been a six-day show.
“We typically need a 14-day window at whatever facility we are in, but because of those scheduling commitments, we only had 12 days in 2015 and just nine days in 2016. It was completely out of control,” said Heard, clearly sounding happy that the crunch is over.
'We’ve become more diverse, which is in itself a huge challenge, but one we’ve embraced. We’ve learned how to speak to our various audiences as we engage and activate those relationships.'
—Jason Heard, Vancouver International Auto Show.
Bottom line—he now has solid dates going forward, allowing for the six-day show to return next year.
That said, this year’s auto show exceeded attendance expectations. “We were up 4 percent with one less day, so that’s another piece of good news,” said Heard.
Clearly, the momentum is riding in favor of the Vancouver International Auto Show. The owner of the show is the New Car Dealers Association of British Columbia, headed by ATAE Blair Qualey
A highlight of the show was becoming the first-ever Canadian stop on the NOS Energy DUB Show Tour, joining the likes of the LA Auto Show, Philadelphia Auto Show, SEMA, and the New York Auto Show, who all play host.
The DUB Show Tour (founded by the publishers of DUB magazine
) is known for showcasing some of the world’s most amazing custom cars, trucks and bikes.
Heard said the auto show continues to reflect the international demographic of Vancouver itself, a city that has a significant Chinese presence.
“We’ve become more diverse, which is in itself a huge challenge, but one we’ve embraced,” said Heard. “We’ve learned how to speak to our various audiences as we engage and activate those relationships.”
Part of that engagement this year included using some outdoor space next to the Vancouver Convention Centre, changing a mix up of some 60 vehicles every day and, Heard said, setting the tone for the entire show.
While some shows clearly have to contend with weather issues, in Vancouver it’s the variety of weather that can keep a show organizer on their toes.
“In March, in any one day, you can be in the mountains skiing, on the ocean wind surfing, and even golfing,” said Heard. “And within a four-block radius of the convention center we’re competing for entertainment time as much as for dollars. That’s a challenge that we face: giving people full value for dollar and time.”
That variety of features at the show also included several vehicles that have appeared in the Barrett Jackson auction.
Heard said the auto show still has room to grow in the future.
“It’s about providing variety and diversity,” he said. “We’re still all over the place on marketing, but we did a ton of social media this year and we also focused on ‘local influencers,’ people who have huge followings and who have story lines that are individual to them. We took them to different events and gave them the opportunity of sharing those experiences.”
Profile: Vancouver International Auto Show
March 23-27, 2016
Vancouver Convention Centre West
315,500 square feet
$16 adults (weekday), $18 adults (weekend) $12/$13, seniors, $5-$6, children (7-12); $35/$40, family pass (two adults, two children 12 and under)
Tuesday- 4 pm-10 pm, Wednesday to Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-8 pm
New Car Dealers Association of BC
Jason Heard, Executive Director
Vancouver International Auto Show
Automotive Trade Association Executives
The Auto Show Report
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McLean, VA 22102
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