Auto Shows of North America (ASNA) is a committee of Automotive Trade Association Executives. The Mission of ASNA is to be the industry resource for auto show information and education, and to provide a network for communication between show executives, manufacturers, other industry affiliates and media.
Butts in seats: Ride & Drive events to increaseSince the beginning, auto shows have proven to help promote auto sales. Today, shows remain an essential part of overall OEM marketing strategy, but actually do even more to help close the loop with consumers who, in many cases, can actually drive the vehicles they see at the show.
To say the least, auto show Ride & Drives have a direct impact on the ability of consumers to gather information; as such they are becoming an increasingly valuable tool for OEMs who seek to put prospects in their vehicles.
As an example, the 2005 San Diego International Auto Show held two Ride & Drives in its five day run, which concluded Jan. 2 at the San Diego Convention Center. Both Chevrolet and Nissan took advantage of record crowds and media attention that surrounds the show by offering consumers the opportunity to test drive some of the models displayed at the show (sixth-generation Corvette, SSR; 350 Z Roadster, Murano).
Both Ride & Drives were staged directly in front of the two show entrances, and were highly visible to all show attendees. In addition, each was promoted heavily in show advertising and publicity, which also helped drive attendance.
“Ride & Drives will definitely continue at our auto shows,” says Gelb. “These events create additional value for manufacturers and the public, and increase the level of interactivity at the shows we produce.”
Some companies, like Detroit-based Automotive Media Specialists (A&M), provide programs for local and international journalists, some of whom would not be able to drive these vehicles in their home countries.
For the 2005 North American International Auto Show as an example, A&M will provide finalist vehicles for the North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards. A&M, with locations in Atlanta and L.A., also assists auto shows and broadcast media with quick and easy access to vehicles for last minute stories and video opportunities. The firm also provides press fleet management, track and off road events, and media event development, production and implementation.
Governor, industry leaders to 'look ahead' at NAIASIn a two-hour special session scheduled between Media Days and the public portion of the North American International Auto Show, a blue ribbon panel will explore how emerging technologies have (and will continue to have) an impact on the automotive industry.
The Jan. 12 event will include a welcome by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as well as Don Jakeway, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, will introduce panelists, including: Brandon Faurote, senior manager, design, DaimlerChrysler (topic: styling design); Vance Zanardelli, manager, strategic power train technologies, Ford (topic: hydrogen); Chet Huber, president, OnStar (topic: telematics); Won Suk Cho, president, Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc. (topic: power trains/environmental challenges); Robert Yakushi, director, Nissan (topic: safety technology innovations); and Dave Hermance, executive engineer, Toyota (topic: hybrid vehicles).
VW tries free insurance with Golf and Beetle
Volkswagen has lagged behind its U.S. competitors in trying to boost sales with zero-percent financing and other incentives.
An industry analyst told Bloomberg, which broke the story, that the move could help VW attract a slew of customers who shy away from buying new cars because of high insurance costs. The offer will also protect the resale value of the cars sold, unlike other incentive programs. VW has a patent on the program for just three months; after that, other auto makers can use it, if it turns out to be a success.
Marketers relying more on events, and demanding moreFace-to-face. Increasingly, it’s where marketers are going to establish and nurture relationships with current and future customers (aka prospects).
So say respondents to what has become one of the meeting and events industry’s headline research reports — the Event Trends report jointly published by MPI Foundation and the George P. Johnson Company.
Key to the findings of the 2004 study is the renewed acknowledgement by marketers that shows and conferences represent the best return on investment for marketers (at 44 percent). This compares with just 29 percent support in 2002.
The Event Trends report also indicates that marketers are increasing the use of shows and events as a strategic element of their sales cycle, emphasizing education and awareness as brand builders.
Those wishing a copy of the report can request one at: (select “Contact Us” and “White Papers” under the scroll over menu).
That’s improving an already superbly effective event marketing tool, according to Joe Rohatynski, who serves as editor of “The Auto Show Report” as part of his public relations portfolio for ASNA.
“The opportunities we have for advancing the mission of ASNA are almost limitless,” says Rohatynski. “Our Web site – your Web site – will go a long way towards helping with that effort.”
The site will include a membership directory, a listing of ASNA partners, manufacturer directory of those responsible for auto shows (PR and Exhibit), and a newsroom that will include updates, current and archived issues of “The Auto Show Report,” and press releases from auto shows, show producers and manufacturers.
Rohatynski says active participation among ASNA members is critical for the site’s optimal success.
“We need to hear from everyone that’s associated with our community,” he says. “That means putting us on your e-mail distribution for any news or updates that occur.”
Rohatynski can be reached at 313.378.6570 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exhibit Enterprises brings market diverse offeringsWhile Exhibit Enterprises is approaching its quarter century anniversary, the company founded by David Gentile in 1981 still carries on a tradition of quality and service in the hands of son Derek Gentile.
Indeed, while a second generation is at the helm with Derek as president, Exhibit Enterprises has much the same focus as it did when David Gentile – now chairman – left the Ford-only supplier known as Displays & Exhibits.
“It’s always been more about delivering value to our customers,” says Derek Gentile. That value, he says, will be even further enhanced with a move to new headquarters on a 33-acre site in Rochester Hills. “Being able to combine four separate locations into one brings us the value of working together more closely and serving our customers even better than we had before.”
As Gentile explains, two sister organizations to Exhibit Enterprises have facilitated that overarching goal.
“With Whitecap Events, we bring our customers a focus and expertise on mobile and event marketing, a prime example of which is what we’re doing with the Daytona 500,” says Gentile. “And we’ve brought Whitecap services to support Winter Blast, the event associated with Super Bowl XL in Detroit.”
“We’re also doing work for Boston Acoustics, where their latest home theater and in-car audio systems will go to events like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Consumer Electronics Show.”
A second sister company at Exhibit Enterprises is Eye Magnet, which has created a fusion of sorts between the graphics world and the exhibition industry. “In effect, we’re using very impactful, high resolution graphics on textile materials to bring unique presentations to market,” says Gentile.
One example will be featured at the upcoming North American International Auto Show – the building wrap on Cobo Arena plus a unique display treatment to the Detroit People Mover.
But Exhibit Enterprises involvement in auto shows like the NAIAS isn’t limited to the outside of the building.
Looking ahead, Derek Gentile says the opportunity to further help auto show organizers reach potential customers is clear.
“As the competition for both marketing dollars and consumer attendance continues to grow, the use of new and unique experiences will help change the game.”
Gentile points to the addition of elements that go beyond the traditional – albeit important – display events that can add excitement and promote attendance.
“Examples of these could be Ride and Drive events or an outdoor pavilion that allows additional exhibitors a unique experience,” says Gentile.
“Exhibit Enterprises is well suited to support those activities, whether it’s through something we offer through Eye Magnet and Whitecap, or through the traditional exhibit side of the business,” says Gentile. “But fundamentally the game has to change and is changing in many of the markets we serve.”
Providing trained talent key strength of Gail & RiceGail & Rice is a company that clearly has its hand – and the hands of 600 independent contractors who serve as Product Specialists and Presenters – in the auto show business, a fact that Geff Phillips says keeps him and his colleagues busy for most of the year.
“During the auto show season, we’re traveling all over the country,” says Phillips, vice president and account executive in the company’s Auto Show Group. “But even at the end of the season, come April, May and June, we’re holding auditions and training for the upcoming season.”
Phillips says those faces have changed over the years.
Next week in Detroit, for example, about 290 Gail and Rice product display specialists will represent 18 brands at the North American International Auto Show.
Auto show attendees can expect to see a variety of ages, ethnicities, and a mix of male and female in those who work the show. Plus they’ll be able to communicate in more than one language, the dominant additional being Spanish, although the ability to converse in Chinese is gaining attention as well.
Founded in 1931 by Max Gail (who was joined in 1949 by Al Rice, a musician Gail booked while he was attending the University of Michigan), the company entered the auto show market in 1954 and virtually invented the role of product specialist, the result of a balking by New York auto dealers to send their salespeople to work the auto show.
Today, the company is chaired by Al Rice’s son, Tim Rice. Jeff Bouchard is president of the company.
The work includes staging, scripting and provision of audio visual materials as well as the booking of headliner talent that includes notables such as Jay Leno, the Doobie Brothers, and Huey Lewis and the News.
But it’s the training that Geff Phillips says is the Gail & Rice difference, especially when it comes to providing personnel to auto shows.
“It’s about supporting products, and providing trained personnel that can do that,” says Phillips. “We are a marketing communications and entertainment company, which means we get involved in the audio visual support, video production and scripting as well as wardrobe and training of all those people.”
The company’s auto show focus means, Phillips says, that Gail & Rice is able to provide a higher level of service to its clients.
“It sets us apart,” says Phillips. “Because we’re completely focused on that aspect of the business, we don’t have to go outside to develop our training programs. We provide the training personnel internally and are able to bring people who work with us to the high level of expertise that’s needed. That’s the real strength of our company.”
Detroit getting ready to build off past successesIt’s hard to believe that the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will top itself yet again in 2005. Rod Alberts, executive director of the NAIAS and now in his 13th year at the helm of one of the world’s most famous events, claims it’s no surprise.
Like a fashion runway in Paris, the NAIAS rolls out the red carpet and unveils new concept and production vehicles from around the world in front of media from over 60 countries. More than 50 vehicles are expected to be unveiled at NAIAS Press Days, Jan. 9-11, in the categories of Worldwide and North American Production and Worldwide and North American Concept.
New additions help every year with making the show bigger and better, but it’s all about taking care of your customers, something Alberts says is just like any other business.
“Giving your clients and sponsors top-notch treatment lets them enjoy their experience more. When they come to Detroit they know what to expect and they’ll be treated well. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Organizers are also excited about extending the reach of the 2005 event, an NAIAS first that has NBC Sports presenting a live, televised broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 23, from 1 pm-3 pm (Eastern time) from the show floor. The program will be hosted by NBC's NASCAR broadcast team of Allen Bestwick, Wally Dallenbach and Bennie Parsons.
“The auto show season is so hectic, that most show directors don’t get to visit each other’s shows,” adds Alberts. “I’d like to extend an invitation to my colleagues in the industry to tune in and join us in Detroit.”
Orlando show helps dealers attract future techniciansIt’s a fact. Most areas of the country need more automotive technicians and Central Florida is no exception. Which is one reason this year’s Central Florida International Auto Show, held in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, featured a special exhibit focusing on the opportunities available to a next generation.
With high-paying jobs a plenty in the region, the problem isn’t the opportunity: it’s people trained or able to be trained for the positions.
Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an additional 35,000 new technicians will be needed each year through 2010.
Show organizers set up the display to make attendees aware of the opportunity, says Miller. Several programs were represented, including one from the Seminole Community College and its automotive training center. Notably, the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association, along with local auto dealers, were instrumental in raising $2.5 million as a match to state funds applied to the project.
While the weather may not be the same in Orlando as it is in Detroit, the two cities do have something in common. As Miller explained, Orlando is the only other city besides Detroit (and the first in the nation) to showcase fuel cell cars, made possible by the area being a test market for the technology.
This year’s show also gave a boost to Ronald McDonald House Charities through $2 off admission coupons made available at area McDonald’s restaurants. The Central Florida Auto Dealers Association is donating $1 for each coupon redeemed to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida.
At the show itself, DaimlerChrysler featured its Concepts by DaimlerChrysler Tour, a first-time ever factory display of classic concept cars from the company’s automotive vaults.
The show featured a number of events, including a contest to win a custom built $140,000 yacht, appearances by Orlando Magic forward Pat Garrity and Orlando Magic guard Cuttino Mobley, plus the ever-popular (for kids at least) Kids Day, with Spongebob Squarepants, Spider-Man, Ronald McDonald, and a Magic Kids Show.
Partnership is key to success in San DiegoThe San Diego International Auto Show (SDIAS) notched up once again with more “A kit” exhibits, more concepts, and more paying customers, who came through the doors of the spectacular waterfront San Diego Convention Center, Dec. 29-Jan. 2, to celebrate North America’s first auto show of 2005.
“We’re very pleased with this show and the growing support we receive from the manufacturers,” says Mansfield, who adds that he sees a direct correlation between the development of the show with an increased media buy and a new, off season PR effort.
“I am an advocate of the San Diego Auto Show,” says Ernie Beckman, displays & exhibit manager, Ford Division. “This show continues to impress me; it’s taking all the right steps and in the right direction.”
Beckman, on site to supervise installation of the Ford exhibit, had more than praise for the show. He also had delivered one of the finest new exhibits on the floor.
“I’ve said all along that the auto show business is like any other: you partner with people who are efficient and will work hard to keep your business,” says Beckman. “When that happens, as it has here in San Diego, it becomes a favorable situation for everyone.”
But with 525,000 square feet of contiguous floor space to fill, it’s become a year round effort for Mansfield and producer, Motor Trend Auto Shows, to convince manufacturers to step up with new exhibits and products.
“We meet with manufacturers on and off season to maintain and enhance our relationships,” says Mansfield. “These are our partners. We roll out the red carpet for them and work hard to help cut their costs,” says Mansfield. “And, at the end of the day, the bottom line is very important.”
Mansfield says the San Diego show also has supportive and ambitious media partners, which have come together to work proactively to help take the show to the next level, and have become a critical part of the San Diego team.
“People are beginning to sense that change is taking place here,” admits Mansfield. “There are incredible opportunities ahead for this show and those who support it.”
Arizona show makes bold entrance - literallyChallenges. At the Arizona International Auto Show, it’s a word that Knox Ramsey knows all too well, even though those who live in colder climes might be less than sympathetic.
What Ramsey and the show organizers had to contend with was the construction pains that go along with a doubling of the venue.
So what to do?
How about building a new entrance to the hall, effectively drawing showgoers to a side of the facility that has ample parking, in garages that are typically underutilized.
“It worked out very well, indeed,” says Ramsey, recalling how city officials erected a multitude of signs directing showgoers to the temporary entrance and the parking structures.
In fact, it was a first-time ever experience for the Civic Plaza, but likely not the last.
“Management at the Civic Plaza was very interested because of the impact it could have on other shows,” recalls Ramsey.
The temporary entrance gave show organizers another surprise benefit – the ability to use an area adjacent to the Civic Plaza for special exhibits that included, on various days, a GTO display, tuner showcase, and a display of low-riders.
“The event gives us an opportunity to remind everyone about our community involvement,” says Ramsey. That includes the donation of some 85 vehicles to non-profit organizations over the last four years.
In addition to the customary display of concepts and production vehicles at the show, Ramsey’s team was able to secure a special display of rare vehicles from the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction (to be held in Scottsdale, Jan. 25-30).
“It was a big, big draw,” says Ramsey.
Auto Shows of North America Show DirectoryAlbany
Albany Auto Show
11/3/2017 - 11/5/2017
Salt Lake City
Credits/Contacts:Automotive Trade Association Executives
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
703.556.8581 - fax
Don McNeeley, ATAE President
Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director
Rod Alberts, ASNA Chairman
The Auto Show Report
J.D. Booth, editor
Elizabeth Katz, staff reporter
Michael Ofiara, intern, Western Michigan University