EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
has said the Trump administration will make an announcement on fuel efficiency standards for light vehicles "very soon" and said Congress should "weigh in" on whether carbon dioxide should be treated as a pollutant that requires regulation. As Oklahoma's attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times
. He has said the Supreme Court's decision in 2007 that greenhouses gases are an air pollutant should not have been viewed as permission for the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide. In an interview on CNBC that aired in early March, Pruitt also repeated his believe that human activity is not "a primary contributor to the global warming that we see."
GM's CEO says she is leaving the door open on the possibility of selling off international properties that aren't pulling their financial weight. In reference to a deal that would be likened to the automaker's sale of Opel/Vauxhall to the PSA Group for $2.56 billion, Mary Barra
said GM is always looking for an adequate return on its capital. At the same time, she said there are at least two international operations that need to be restructured or reorganized to meet those objectives. One of those would appear to be the automaker's operations in South America, which have lost $1 billion in the past two years.
New data from Experian, a credit monitoring service, shows consumers are opting for longer loans in an effort to reduce the costs of monthly payments. In its latest State of Automotive Finance Market report
, Experian said the number of consumers opting for auto loans with terms of 73 to 84 months on their new vehicles increased from 29 percent in the fourth quarter 2015 to 32.1 percent in fourth quarter of 2016. In the used car market, there was an increase in 73- to 84-month loans from 16.4 percent in fourth quarter 2015 to 18.2 percent during the same period in 2016. Consumers are also borrowing more: the average loan amount for a new vehicle reached a record high of $30,621 in the fourth quarter of 2016 and the average amount for a used vehicle also hit a high of $19,329, up from $18,850 a year earlier.
Magna, the Canadian auto parts systems maker, says it has developed an electric vehicle concept that uses a smaller-than-average fuel cell to recharge its battery on the move.
The company, which built the concept at its Magna Steyr subsidiary in Austria, is based on a Mercedes Viano minivan.
Having the solution would be a "stop gap" until the point where long-range electric cars can speed up recharging and/or a fully developed hydrogen refueling network is in place.
"There's a big potential for this type of vehicle in the near future," Magna's Helfried Mueller
, head of the company's alternative propulsion systems, said at the Geneva Motor Show.
Because the vehicle's fuel-cell stack is smaller, working as a battery recharger rather than as a primary power source, it would be cheaper but still would be 20-30 percent more expensive than an equivalent diesel engine.
The state of California is seeking public comment on new rules it says will eliminate the need for human backup drivers in testing of self-driving cars by the end of 2017. The state's Department of Motor Vehicles said the new rules, which would eliminate the need for conventional manual controls as well, provide a path for the eventual sale and deployment of the full self-driving technology. California currently has given 27 companies the authority to test driverless vehicles on public roads.
The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association says it wants to meet with Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence
and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
, to raise concerns over proposed changes to border taxes and the North American Free Trade Agreement. MEMA, which represents motor vehicle and mobility suppliers and parts manufacturers and remanufacturers, says a border adjustment tax could set off a "ripple effect," increasing costs to manufacturers while decreasing available capital, which would end up raising prices for consumers, reducing sales and, in the end, reducing manufacturing jobs that Trump wants to expand. In a Feb. 28 letter to Ross, the automotive supplier association cautioned that any changes to NAFTA must not "risk disrupting" supply chains, "radically" increase production costs or reduce available capital, which could affect job growth.
A deliberate strategy to shift advertising dollars from television toward social media - specifically Facebook - is being credited for a 13 percent boost in attendance at this season's New England International Auto Show.
So says Barbara Pudney
of Paragon Expo
, which produces the event on behalf of ATAE Bob O'Koniewski
and the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association.
"We really changed our ad buy concept," notes Pudney, who said the show had, in previous years, spent little on Facebook. "This year we spent significant dollars, not only on boosted posts but also straight advertising."
Adopting a theme of "driving the future," the campaign is being credited with the difference in attendance.
'People really enjoy the pure beauty that comes from the antique cars, so that has become another element of the show. It gets people to stay on the show floor longer, which is also part of our strategy.'
- Barbara Pudney, Paragon Expo
The bottom line boost is particularly important, notes Pudney, when space for a show like New England is already sold out. "Attendance is our way of increasing dollars," she added.
Adding to the interest associated with the show was a push to build up the presence of exotic cars, which included securing the appearance of Aston Martin's DB11, the result of a local dealer relationship that secured the involvement at the factory level.
Pudney also said having Bentley's introduction of its Bentayga, said to be the fastest SUV ever built, was also an effective draw for crowds coming to the Boston show.
Organizers of the event were also able to secure a selection of vehicles from the upcoming Boston Cup
, a classic car show that will take place on September 24, 2017 at the Parkman bandstand on the Boston Common.
Securing that feature was a follow up to the results of a show survey indicating a desire for more classic cars, says Pudney.
"People really enjoy the pure beauty that comes from the antique cars, so that has become another element of the show," she adds. "It gets people to stay on the show floor longer, which is also part of our strategy."
Looking ahead, Pudney says parking pressures in the Seaboard district where the event takes place are not likely to go away anytime soon. Indeed, those pressures are more likely to increase, although the auto show is focused on continuing to run shuttle service options to various parking lots in the area.
Profile: New England International Auto Show
Jan. 12-16, 2017
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
340,000 square feet
Adults, $15; Children (6-12), $6; Under 6, Free
Thurs., 4 pm-10 pm; Fri., noon-10 pm; Sat., 10 am-9 pm; Sun, 10 am-7 pm, Mon, 10 am-6 pm
Paragon Group, Inc.
, 781.237.5533, ext. 104
ATAE Bob O'Koniewski|
Executive Vice President,
Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association
It was a good year for ATAE Scott Roth
of the Greater Louisville Automobile Dealers Association and the Louisville Auto Show, an event that continues to grow and prosper.
Notable in the event is just how significant the Ride and Drive component has become, with 16 of the 22 manufacturers that displayed at the show participating.
"It's been three years since we've really embraced this feature," says Roth of the Ride and Drive strategy. "We're very pleased that so many dealers have come on board with this."
'Parking is not an issue, and test drives aren't an issue, because everything stays on the fairgrounds facility.'
- ATAE Scott Roth
With the show located at the Kentucky Exposition Center (adjacent to the Louisville International Airport), there is ample room for so many Ride and Drive features, as many as 200 vehicles in all.
"Parking is not an issue, and test drives aren't an issue, because everything stays on the fairgrounds facility," says Roth.
Also featured at this year's show were several exotic vehicles that were shipped up from Nashville, the second year that Roth and his team have done this.
In addition, the National Corvette Museum
, based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, provided several vehicles.
A big part of this year's event was the participation of Kosair Charities
, the Shriners organization that benefited from an inaugural VIP Preview to the tune of $14,000.
That event featured a live band, heavy hors d'oeuvres and an auction, with tickets going for $100. Dealers were encouraged to order full tables and the response was positive, says Roth.
Kosair also recorded some $1,400 from donations made by those wishing to have their photos taken in a Lamborghini that was featured at the auto show. Last year, that same event (that one involving a Ferrari) took in $1,000.
Profile: Louisville Auto Show
Jan. 20-22, 2017
Kentucky Exposition Center
216,000 square feet
Adults (15 and over), online price: $7; $9.50 at gate. Children (Under 15): FREE
Friday, 3 pm-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-4 pm.
Greater Louisville Auto Dealers Association
ATAE Scott Roth|
President and Secretary
Greater Louisville Auto Dealers Association
While every North America auto show venue has its own distinctive character, in Orlando, arguably one of the more tourism-centric of them all, dealers remain sensitive about who is actually attending the auto show.
ATAE Barbara Miller
of the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association has some good news for her dealer members: 91 percent of people attending this year's Central Florida International Auto Show were from the show's nine county market area.
With attendance up some 2.5 percent, Miller says the event was firmly established as the state's largest, at least until Miami completes its renovation efforts.
'We do our best to encourage families to be part of the excitement of the auto show. Photos were definitely encouraged.'
- ATAE Barbara Miller
As far as the configuration of the Orange County Convention Center was concerned, there were no significant changes, although Miller and her producing partner - Motor Trend Auto Shows - did change up the location for Ride and Drive events, with an improved traffic pattern that gave show goers the opportunity to be more closely involved in the action (and directed attendees to walk through the Ride and Drive area in order to reach the show's entrance).
Inside, the space was able to accommodate an area highlighting the Fisher House
, being built at the new Veterans Hospital at Lake Nona in Central Florida.
Even though the auto show is one that focuses on residents of the area, it's still an audience that demands a high entertainment value, which show organizers know and understand.
"Our visitors expect that," says Miller. "Thankfully, manufacturers have always been very good about incorporating interactive elements into the show, which includes a kids' test drive area known as Kids Autobahn, with its mini electric vehicles. Nearby were features such as face painting and a mini zoo.
It's that focus on making the auto show a family friendly event that Miller says is important.
"We do our best to encourage families to be part of the excitement of the auto show," she said. "Photos were definitely encouraged."
The show also featured a "First Responders Day" (all uniformed police, fire, EMT and active military personnel were admitted free on Saturday).
Notable was a new policy on children's admission, with those under 12 now admitted free. Previously, only those under 6 were covered.
The impact on local charities that serve Orlando area residents remains key to those involved with the Central Florida International Auto Show, with close to $300,000 being donated, added Miller.
Profile: Central Florida International Auto Show
November 24-17, 2016
Orange County Convention Center
476,000 square feet
$10 adults (13 and over), $5 seniors (65+), $5 military (with ID), $5 students (under 21 with student ID), Free children (12 & under), Free Hometown Heroes (Saturday, with ID/Badge)
Thanksgiving Day: 12 noon - 9 pm; Friday and Saturday: 10 am - 9 pm; Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm
Motor Trend Auto Shows
ATAE Barbara Miller|
Executive Vice President
Central Florida Auto Dealers Association
ATAE Pam Crail
of the San Antonio Automobile Dealers Association, which produces the San Antonio Car & Truck Show, couldn't be happier with the results of a what is effectively a completely redeveloped convention center, a $325-million project that officially opened in January.
But much of the results were apparent when the auto show opened its doors in early November.
"The halls were brand new and redesigned," notes Crail. "We got rid of two halls and the one that we were in is non-column space, which made for a great show."
Crail points out that the city had been waiting for this new space for some time and has seen attendance at the San Antonio show increase by 55 percent in the last four years.
With attendance rising another 3 percent this year compared with last, the momentum is clearly continuing.
'We've been working to bring more attention and awareness of the show. That includes not only emphasizing the benefit for consumers but also manufacturers and dealers.'
- ATAE Pam Crail Johnston
This year, Crail said media impressions from the show doubled, at least in part due to the appearance of three high-end vehicles at the event, the 2017 Bentley Bentayga, the 2017 Aston Martin DB11 Coupe and the 2017 Lotus Evora 400 Coupe.
There was also a boost in media interest resulting from the show hosting the Texas Auto Writers Association
and the presentation of its Texas Truck Rodeo trophies.
Crail said the transformation of the show began about four years ago and work to do just that has included bringing in new agencies for advertising, public relations and digital engagement.
"We've been working to bring more attention and awareness of the show," notes Crail. "That includes not only emphasizing the benefit for consumers but also manufacturers and dealers."
Adding some 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, which was filled quickly, was part of that strategy.
A new and expanded aftermarket expo proved to be very popular with visitors.
That area included what Crail said was a "rust wrap" that was featured as part of the exhibit and a selection of tricked out cars.
A "seven generations" of Corvette display was also part of the show.
"Our show has changed over time and now we're moving into the future in order to remain relevant," says Crail. "We're very proud of what our team has been able to do."
Profile: San Antonio International Auto Show
Nov. 10-13, 2016
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
300,000+ square feet
$12 adults, $4 children ages 6-10, under 5 FREE.
Thursday, 2 pm-8 pm; Friday, 2 pm-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 11 to 7 pm.
San Antonio Automobile Dealers Association
One of the biggest positive news items coming out of the San Diego Auto Show this season was the popularity of the ThinkBlue Eco-Center, featuring the latest in fuel saving and environmentally friendly technologies, and which took center stage on Electric Vehicle Day, sponsored by San Diego Gas and Electric.
So says Kevin Leap
, who as director of the show works closely with ATAE Dean Mansfield
of the New Car Dealers Association San Diego County.
A significant change to this year's Eco Center exhibit was that the area was staffed by professionals for all five days of the show.
"We had a lot of very positive feedback on that change alone," notes Leap. "People have a lot of questions about the technology, especially with some of the logistical issues around charging. There are also a huge number of rebate programs available in California and there remains a need for more information."
A key to the success of this year's show - and its 5 percent bump in attendance - was the emphasis on improved signage, especially as it relates to the configuration of vehicles (EV, hybrid, etc.), making easier for attendees to locate the vehicles that they would want to view and compare.
'People have a lot of questions around the technology, especially with some of the logistical issues around charging. There are also a huge number of rebate programs available in California and there remains a need for more information around those choices.'
- Kevin Leap, San Diego Auto Show
"People are always interested in the differences between the vehicles, so this was very helpful overall," said Leap.
There was also an obvious connection to a push for San Diego to become a test market for autonomous vehicle testing, with Kia showing its own self-driving car as an example of what consumers can look forward to experiencing.
Another significant change this year was adding a fifth day to the traditional four days of the event, taking advantage of the additional holiday generated from New Year's falling on a Sunday.
Leap said this year's show upped its push for attendees by delivering a significant digital campaign focused on bringing new people to the show.
"This year, 30 percent of attendees said they had never been to the show before," he noted.
That information alone has Leap promising a renewed effort in making sure those attendees are encouraged to return.
"One of the things we've found is that once they visit, they tend to come back," he added.
Leap and his team are also determined to continue offering features that have "a high level of appeal." It's this combination of entertainment and education that continues to make the show successful, according to Leap.
Those included the San Diego Fire and Rescue bringing its Rescuer Remembrance Project
to the show, including a fire truck that served as one of the responders during 9/11, a display that included archives from the New York City terrorist attack.
Profile: San Diego International Auto Show
Dec. 29, 2016-Jan. 2, 2017
San Diego Convention Center
525,000 Square feet
$12 adults (13 and over), $9 seniors (62+), $9 military (with ID), $8 children (7-12), FREE children 6 and under. Family Day, Sun., Jan. 4, (12 and under) FREE
Dec. 31, 10 am-6 pm; Jan. 1-2, 10 am-9 pm; Jan. 3, 10 am-7 pm
New Car Dealers Association of San Diego County
San Diego International Auto Show
ATAE Dean Mansfield|
New Car Dealers Association San Diego County
While this season's Tampa Bay International Auto Show may have had its challenges - among them a Santa parade that closed down several streets in the city on Saturday morning - Mike Duffy
of Motor Trend Auto Shows, which produces the show, said it was a strong event overall.
"Once crowds come to the show, they tend to stay for hours, which is always good," he said.
Also a positive sign, the various Ride and Drive events all recorded good numbers. "Everyone was pleased with the numbers," said Duffy. "We actually had to drive people out with a stick on Sunday night!"
'Once crowds come to the show, they tend to stay for hours, which is always good.'
- Mike Duffy, Motor Trend Auto Shows
The show is owned by three dealer organizations, including the Tampa Bay Area New Automobile Dealers Association, headed by ATAE Robert McElheny
. The St. Petersburg Automobile Dealers Association, under the leadership of James Gillespie
and the Clearwater Automobile Dealers Association and Alfred Andrews
are the other two groups involved.
With the next event taking place the week before Thanksgiving, Duffy is hopeful there will be an improvement in attendance, commenting that "we always suffer a little when the dates shift into the first week of December," which was the case this season.
Also new with this season's show was an elimination of the price for children under 12, a move that other shows have adopted.
"It makes for a family friendly event," notes Duffy, who pointed to features such as a Kids Test Drive (the Autobahn, with its mini-electric vehicles), Family Day (on Sunday), and face painting and balloon art on both Saturday and Sunday.
The show also featured an assortment of customized vehicles from Ronnie Setser
, an assortment of high-dollar-value exotic vehicles from Lamborghini, courtesy of Lamborghini Sarasota, and a collection of premier, high-end luxury and unique vehicles under the DuPont Registry Live banner.
Profile: Tampa Bay International Auto Show
Dec. 2 - 4, 2016
Tampa Convention Center
197,340 net sq. ft.
Adults , $12; Seniors & Military & First Responders, $5; Children under 12, FREE; Sunday, Dec. 4 is Family Day: with face-painter, balloon sculptor, and Kids Test Drives.
Friday, Dec. 2, Noon - 10 pm; Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 am -10 pm; Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 am-6 pm.
Motor Trend Auto Shows, LLC
Michael Duffy, director of event experience
212.915.4412; mobile: 917.445.4994; firstname.lastname@example.org
ATAE Robert McElheny,|
Tampa Bay Area New Automobile Dealers Association
St. Petersburg Automobile Dealers Association
Clearwater Automobile Dealers Association
Automotive Trade Association Executives
The Auto Show Report
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
ATAE Executive Director