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.
BMW's Schuetze gets to know different side of worldFor Alexandra Schuetze, manager of shows and exhibits for BMW of North America, it wasn’t the idea of working for the prestigious German-based automobile brand that was part of her thinking.
The native of Dresden, Germany, found that opportunity - working in BMW’s international auto show department - through a newspaper listing of internships.
Taking a break from the classroom (she was attending Dresden’s University of Applied Sciences), Schuetze spent nine months before returning to studies that included earning a second degree from the International School of Business Hogeschool Holland-Diemen.
In hindsight, her thesis subject - the internationalization of telematics services - should have been a clear giveaway for her ultimate career path.
Indeed, Schuetze’s first internship with BMW led to a second one, this time working on worldwide auto show events, including those in Tokyo, Geneva and Detroit.
In November 2003, she joined BMW on a permanent basis, moving to its North American headquarters in New Jersey.
She says she’s still adjusting to the various cultural differences, even within the automaker, that come with a transatlantic move.
“It’s quite different from BMW AG,” says Schuetze. “You have to adapt to the diverse styles of management.”
Those differences aside, Schuetze says the task of growing the BMW brand in North America is much the same worldwide: moving the brand forward.
“We want to strengthen the BMW positioning as a dynamic, innovative automotive brand,” says Schuetze.
She sees her contribution including bringing fresh eyes and ideas to the table.
“It’s seeing the possibility to change things that will help,” she says. “That means offering a different perspective on the auto show business.
Schuetze says she’s looking forward to meeting her new auto show colleagues and show directors at the ASNA Summer Meeting, July 12-13, in Uncasville, Conn., and becoming part of the organization.
With BMW of North America supporting more than 35 shows throughout the U.S., Schuetze’s work enables her to travel to show locations she might not otherwise have seen.
“I love the traveling,” says Schuetze. “Especially meeting new people and getting to know them.”
The strategy for increasing the visibility of the BMW brand includes working with the company’s creative resources and strategic markets.
“It’s about collecting the images and using those images to tell the BMW story,” says Schuetze.
But even life at BMW is not all about work.
With the open-ended assignment at BMW, Schuetze says she’s taking advantage of the opportunity to see as much of North America as possible.
“Wherever I’m staying, it’s another opportunity to get to know a different part of the country, and new people.”
At the same time, she is still able to visit family in Germany, certainly once a year and more often if possible.
“Home is always home.”
MT 'Showcase' brings auto history alive
Motor Trend Auto Shows (MTAS) has at least one answer to that question now that it has brought the “Motor Trend Showcase” to its events.
Inspired by Motor Trend’s Milwaukee show clients who themselves were asking that original question, organizers were able to put together a compelling display of notable concepts, including, from DaimlerChrysler, the Chrysler Citadel, Chrysler LHX, Dodge Copperhead, Dodge Sidewinder and Jeep Varsity.
Notable Ford models featured include the EX, 427, Forty-Nine and Model U; GM contributions include the Firebird I, II, and III, all from the 1950s Motoramas.
MTAS says it plans to increase the line-up for the 2006 season.
Adstrategies to handle marketing services for AnaheimASNA partner Adstrategies, based in Easton, Maryland, but clearly with a nationwide and growing footprint, has recently inked a deal with the California International Auto Show (CIAS) to provide a wide variety of promotional and media buying services for the growing Anaheim show.
Adstrategies president Curt Van Loon says his company will do what it does best: effectively becoming the in-house marketing arm for the CIAS, and handling the media buys for the show.
“We’ll quickly be immersing ourselves into the CIAS,” he says. “It’s a process we’re very familiar with, having already worked with 13 other Motor Trend Auto Shows on the same basis.”
It’s a growth pattern that Van Loon says is easily accommodated by his organization.
“We’ll be adding staff to handle the extra work, making sure we maintain or exceed the quality of our work in every respect.”
Van Loon says his staff is “pumped” by the opportunity to help the CIAS grow.
“We’ve always thought we could help,” says Van Loon. “This is a great opportunity to help demonstrate our capabilities and to help facilitate a new level of penetration for the event.”
Van Loon says having an “outside” supplier handle media buying actually benefits a show that might otherwise try to negotiate with media directly.
“It happens: sometimes people who get comfortable working with the media throughout the year aren’t always able to get the very best deal possible,” says Van Loon. “It’s a service we provide and we make it work to the advantage of our clients in a way that is very professional and very effective.”
ASNA gears up for summer networking frenzyAuto show executives and industry personnel once again are looking forward to the year’s greatest networking opportunity - the Auto Shows of North America Summer Meeting.
The day-and-a-half event will be held July 12-13, 2005 in conjunction with the convention of Automotive Trade Association Executives at the Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, located in southeastern Connecticut, two hours' drive from Boston.
Leutheuser says the event is also now attracting more manufacturer PR people (who are among those who plan product launches), as well as integrated marketing firms, ad agencies and special event companies.
"The diversity, talent and expertise of those who attend these meetings is remarkable," he says, "and they all have one thing in common - auto shows."
While the format of the 2005 meeting is still being developed, the outcome will be energizing and positive, says Peter Hodges, ASNA vice chair and executive director of the Oklahoma City International Auto Show.
"These meetings are about learning and sharing with colleagues, and participating in a frank and open exchange of opinions and ideas," says Hodges. "Everyone in the auto show business knows that the ASNA Summer Meeting is not to be missed, except for those of us whose wives are expecting babies at precisely the same moment."
Note: New ASNA Summer Meeting sponsors should contact Joe Rohatynski for more information at 313.378.6570 or Joe@JoePR.com.
Gelb gets top sales-marketing job at MTASThe nation’s largest new-model auto show producer, Motor Trend Auto Shows, Inc. (MTAS) has promoted Lisa Gelb to executive director of sales and marketing.
Marriott credited Gelb’s “persistence, years of experience and key relationships with industry decision makers” as making her uniquely qualified for the position.
Gelb began her career in the automotive industry selling new cars at a Honda dealership in Harrisburg, Penn. She’s been with MTAS since 1994, first working in the company’s Harrisburg office and later relocating to its Los Angeles office in 2000. A graduate of Florida State University, Gelb resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
Cleveland show highlights new generation of carsProduct sells.
That’s what Gary Adams, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association and organizer of the Cleveland Auto Show, came away with after this year’s successful event.
“The crowds around various cars were bigger than I’ve seen in many years,” says Adams, who compares the interest with the popularity of SUVs in the past.
“Those are the hot products,” notes Adams, referring to the many crossover products that seem to be eclipsing SUVs in consumer interest. “The products in that segment are as exciting as I’ve seen in any segment. It’s evidence that the car manufacturers are investing in new products.”
Adams says marketing the show itself has taken on a new vitality with e-marketing, particularly through the use of a distinctive Web site (www.clevelandautoshow.com) that he says is booming.
“Our e-ticket sales were probably up 40 percent over a year ago.”
Direct marketing through the Web site includes capturing e-mail addresses on an “opt-in” basis, which is being used to market the show.
“These are people who want us to send them advance information on the auto show,” says Adams. “We’re able to do that and it’s producing results.”
“We received more newspaper coverage than ever before,” says Adams, noting that much of that coverage extended outside Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.
Part of the appeal may be due to the many events that occur during the show, including the auto design symposium that’s organized in association with the Cleveland Institute of Art’s auto design department.
In addition, there’s a career day at the auto show. This year, some 2,000 high school students discovered the opportunities available to them.
The auto show also featured a Family Day, with hourly drawings and free admission to those under 15 accompanied by a parent.
Adams says the strategy of bringing more people into the show follows a strategy session that dissected exit survey results.
“It wasn’t unusual for someone to have attended their fifth, sixth or even seventh auto show,” says Adams. “We thought, if we could get more people to come to their first, they’d come back for more.”
And Adams has the numbers to prove it: first time attendance was 20 percent this year compared with 16.5 percent in last year’s survey. But the real surprise, Adams says, was how popular the NASCAR event would be.
“We had tens of thousands show up for the NASCAR drivers.”
Also bolstering attendance at the show was a teen driving news conference held by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Adams is also feeling good about a “first ever” seminar for first responders on how to work with a new generation of hybrid vehicles.
“They need to know how to deal with equipment such as jaws of life when they’re working on electric cars that could shock a responder who doesn’t know what they’re getting into,” says Adams.
New Orleans sees popularity of NASCAR, new GM display
If Jeffrie Shultis Fricke had any doubts about the popularity of NASCAR, that’s long gone. When the organizer of the New Orleans International Auto Show added the NASCAR Legends Tour to the Louisiana Superdome, she found out just how driven the NASCAR fans really are.
Fricke also worked to bring in Operation Kidsafe, a program that gives parents and guardians a digital fingerprint and photo that can be used if the need for identification ever arises.
“It went over unbelievably,” says Fricke. “Parents were standing in line for the free service.”
On the vehicle side, Fricke says a revamped General Motors display turned eyes throughout the show.
“They completely redesigned their space,” says Fricke. “It was very inviting and seamless, even though each of the vehicle lines were distinct they weren’t broken up by aisles. Everything flowed very well.”
From a dealer perspective, the most notably change to this year’s show was a subtle but distinctive change that permitted salespeople to talk about the price of the vehicles they were showing.
“It’s something they couldn’t previously do in a non-selling event,” says Fricke.
To sell or not to sell seems to have been a Louisiana dilemma for some time.
“Originally, we did sell, but four years ago, that changed,” says Fricke. “This year, a majority of dealers opted to allow the sales people to talk price with the customer and we found it to be a happy medium for the show.”
Fricke says consumer interest in the show is growing and a new “spotlight on performance” program this year recognized the achievements of dealer representatives.
Armed with discretely hidden cameras around the facility, including “cap cams” and “purse cams,” sales associates were “caught” given exemplary service to show goers.
“We’d reward the winners with cash prizes – $100 right on the spot,” says Fricke.
Customers themselves were given a duffel bag at the same time. Fricke then used the footage to increase visibility for the show.
“We took the video and put it on the huge Diamond Vision screen.”
Some 100 sales people were recognized for their efforts. At the same time, Fricke says the effort gives her the opportunity to fine tune the show as she discovers the consumer likes and dislikes.
“It’s a great way to get spontaneous feedback that we can use to improve the show.”
Oklahoma City extends promo to four daysLast year, those fortunate enough to attend the Oklahoma City International Auto Show on the Thursday of the four day event vied for a chance to win $5,000 toward a new car.
So successful was the one day promotion that Peter Hodges, president of the Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association and organizer of the show, decided to extend the promotion to all four days.
“It was an incredibly positive way to drive attendance and enthusiasm for the show,” says Hodges, who is also co-chair of Auto Shows of North America.
While the vehicles are, of course, key to the show’s success, so were appearances by Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University players in a so-called “Bedlam Showdown.”
The crowd-drawer saw OU football star Dan Cody and OSU football great Vernand Morency both sign autographs; later in the show Heisman trophy winner Jason White faced off against OSU All-American Billy Bajema.
This year’s auto show event was a repeat for an increasingly popular ride and drive, sponsored by Chevrolet in a 120,000 square foot area of the parking lot adjacent to the four separate buildings utilized by the Oklahoma City show.
Promoting the ride and drive was “some pretty heavy media support,” notes Hodges.
Those efforts included a timed race between weather storm chasers, a promotion that not only gave the auto show a boost but raised money for the Safe Kids Coalition, an initiative to reduce injury among young persons.
Yet another draw was the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby, a competition involving model race cars that brings parents – and grandparents – in droves.
“This was very successful,” says Hodges. “So much so that the Boy Scouts want to do it again next year.”
From a vehicle perspective, the auto show featured a so-called “Million Dollar Car” exhibit that included a number of vintage vehicles, among them a 1955 T-Bird, 1911 Pierce Arrow Model 11, 1948 Lincoln, 1970 Ferrari 308, 1928 Duesenberg, and 1961 national award-winning Jaguar XKE.
The show also featured its share of a number of regional vehicle debuts, including the Mercedes Benz ML 300 and Lexus 400H hybrid, as well as Honda’s Ridgeline truck and Subaru Tribeca, all seen for the first time in the state.
But not the last time, as many of Hodges’ dealers will attest.
“Dealers are selling vehicles pretty heavily this time of the year,” he says. “We always rely on the auto show to spark sales and it does that very, very well.”
Pittsburgh puts romance front and center
You had to be there.
“There,” it turns out, was the 2005 Pittsburgh International Auto Show and the “Froggy” refers to radio stations in the area who sponsored the contest, the winner of which got the chance to get married at the show with a complete set up for 50 guests.
And yes, it was Valentine’s Day - the show running from Feb. 12 through Feb. 20.
Wedding bells aside, show goers took in a number of auto-related features, including a Classic Car Cruise display that boasted more than 20 gems for the nostalgic among the good-sized crowd.
As auto show coordinator Jill Costic explains, the show has grown into the greatly expanded venue offered by the new David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which was completely torn down and rebuilt some three years ago.
Even that isn’t enough to sate the appetite of exhibitors. “We’re still sold out,” adds Costic.
The show also included a food drive benefiting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. As part of the plan, dealership employees were invited to bring non-perishable food items to help with the effort.
Seems there was something for everyone at the show, including the kids. Indeed, with an appearance by the increasingly-popular SpongeBob SquarePants character from Nickelodeon, plus clowns, a magician and a juggler, the little ones were undoubtedly entertained throughout the event.
The sports-minded got a chance to see and have autographed signed by a number of Pittsburgh Steelers players.
And on the community service front, the Central Blood Bank gave a free ticket to anyone who donated blood at one of the weekend blood drives held in conjunction with the show.
Still, the Pittsburgh International Auto Show is about the vehicles, something acknowledged by members of the newly-named Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association (up to March 1 the association was the Pittsburgh Automobile Trade Association).
Indeed, an exit survey showed 41.2 percent of attendees intended to buy a vehicle during the next 12 months and an even greater number (73 percent) said the auto show influenced which car they would ultimately pick.
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
John Lyboldt, ATAE President
Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director
Todd Leutheuser, ASNA Chairman
The Auto Show Report
J.D. Booth, editor
Elizabeth Katz, staff reporter
Michael Ofiara, intern, Western Michigan University