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.
Harris returns to head GM public relationsGeneral Motors is bringing back its former public relations chief, Steve Harris. Harris will resume his former job as vice president of global communications in February. He replaces Tom Kowaleski, 54, who took that job after Harris retired in 2004. Kowaleski is leaving GM to pursue other interests. Harris, 59, was widely acclaimed for his PR skills at GM and the Chrysler group. He will hold GM's top communications job for 18 months or so while GM grooms his successor. In 1999, Kowaleski joined GM after 11 years at the Chrysler group. He has held his current job since January 2004. In that role, he was a member of the GM Automotive Strategy Board, Automotive Product Board, and North America Strategy Board and directed GM's corporate, product and brand, external, and internal communications around the world.
L.A. Design Challenge goes to GMC PADWhy commute? Adapt.
That's the thinking behind the GMC PAD, which offers an innovative look at the urban loft with mobility. A home ownership concept that enables cultural and geographic freedom for the modern city dweller, the PAD took top honors at the 2006 Design Los Angeles Challenge announced last month at the L.A. Auto Show. The team from GM's West Coast Advanced Design Studio created what the judges proclaimed a "LAV" (Living Activity Vehicle) which features a diesel-electric hybrid system for propulsion while in DriveMode, and serves as a generator for the onboard power grid for LifeMode.
Choosing between the 10 entries were design experts Imre Molnar, dean of the College for Creative Studies; Tom Matano, director of Industrial Design for Academy of Art University; and Stewart Reed, chairman of Transportation Design at the Art Center College of Design.
"This is the true all-around vehicle," said Matano. "This creates a new segment between the RV and the SUV. The future of this Living Activity Vehicle would appeal to many buyers including corporations, future home-owners, traveling business people and constant travelers looking to go beyond the stereotypical RV."
The winning GM design team consisted of Steve Anderson, Senon B. Franco III, Jay Bernard, Phil Tanioka, Sidney Levy, Brian Horton, Alessandro Zezza, Christine Ebner and Frank Saucedo.
Celebrity effect: Automakers bring name recognition to show floorWhile movie stars and professional athletes have long been used by automakers to help sell vehicles on the tube, celebrities are now becoming more and more frequent on the show floor. The recent trend for Hollywood types to help introduce new cars while providing a backdrop for automakers to connect brand image with a tried-and-true pop icon is becoming more and more (dare we say) common. Such was the case with Jay Leno’s appearance for General Motors last month at the LA Auto Show.
In Chicago, Pontiac is bringing hometown favorite actor Gary Sinise on stage with his Lieutenant Dan Band (so named for the character he played in Forrest Gump), all for the show’s “First Look for Charity” preview event. Last year, actor Kevin Bacon and the “Bacon Brothers” appeared at Lexus displays in Detroit and Chicago.
At the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria helped Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda introduce the company’s Imperial concept. The company also tapped a couple of celebrities to help with the unveiling of two production vehicles at the NAIAS – former “Law and Order” star Angie Harmon with the Jeep Compass, and actor David Spade with the Dodge Caliber.
Rick Deneau, director of product and brand PR for Chrysler Group, said the company’s use of celebrities in its introduction efforts especially fits when vehicles such as the Compass and Caliber have already been talked about in the media. “It was an opportunity to have us gain even more visibility in our products,” said Deneau.
And is Spade’s particular brand of humor – sarcasm – upsetting to Chrysler? Not a bit, says Deneau. “We like to poke fun at ourselves
and we did it through him.” Indeed, the comedic actor got a few laughs at the expense of Chrysler. “Dude, anything looks good when you
compare it to a Neon.”
Deneau said the objective for using high-profile personalities is clear: “The media has an interest in celebrities. The trick is to have them touch the product, but not to be looking for some false-ringing endorsement.”
Aube named manager of displays and exhibits at Ford Division
Dodge Charger named International Car of the YearThe International Car of the Year awards program of Road and Travel Magazine, an online-only publication, has named the Dodge Charger as recipient of its flagship category. The announcement was made at a black-tie event on the eve of media preview days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Other categories in the ICOTY awards program:
Former Motor Trend exec heads to PlayboyLou Mohn, well-known in auto show circles for his role in growing Motor Trend Auto Shows, was named publisher of Playboy magazine and vice president of Playboy Enterprises’ Publishing Group. The announcement was made by Playboy CEO Christie Hefner.
Connecting with SEMA
See the next issue of “The Auto Show Report” for more discussions with Peter MacGillivray about emerging trends and what’s ahead for the once niche-only aftermarket sector that’s driving extraordinary growth throughout the auto industry.
Automotive Hall of Fame names Zetsche 'Industry Leader of Year'
Honda sees doubleFor the first time ever, one manufacturer has won both North American Car of the Year and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) honors during the same year. Honda received the highly-prized kudos for its 2005 Civic and Ridgeline vehicles. The highly-respected NACTOY awards, in their 13th year, are selected by a jury of 49 journalists from a variety of media outlets in the U.S. and Canada, and are presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Second and third place winners in the car category were, respectively, the Ford Fusion and Pontiac Solstice. In the truck category, the Nissan Xterra and Ford Explorer took second and third place.
Now that’s a hood ornamentIn what is described as a late night breach of security, an apparently tipsy and obviously naked woman managed to find herself adorning the new Dodge Challenger concept car at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. She wasn’t alone: about a dozen admirers were found busily snapping photos of the incident, which occurred about 2:30 am. “The people who are supposed to be on the floor at that time are supposed to also have their clothes on,” said Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA). “We’ll get to the bottom of this.” Like any good PR professional, Jason Vines, vice president of communications for the Chrysler Group, made the best of the situation. “We heard she was all over the Challenger. Obviously, this car is a magnet. We want people to love our cars, but maybe not so overtly.” According to the DADA, activity around the Challenger display increased substantially the next day.
New Orleans: First post-Katrina show readies itself at convention centerFor Jeffrie Schultis Fricke, the rebirth of New Orleans and the first post-hurricane New Orleans Auto Show are inextricably linked. And as the Big Easy slowly but steadily rebuilds, a significant number of manufacturers have stepped up to support a show that's moved into the New Orleans Convention Center from its previous home - the disabled, but recovering Superdome.
One of those being contacted is the world-famous Audubon Nature Institute, which is based in New Orleans. Major employers that include Lockheed Martin, which builds spacecraft for NASA, will also feature displays at the show.
Within the auto industry, a number of manufacturers have already stepped up to lend their support toward the show as well as the rebirth of the city. They include, in alphabetical order, BMW, General Motors, Infiniti, KIA, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, and Volvo.
"Some 78 percent of the area in and around New Orleans is occupied now, which is great," says Schultis Fricke.
"This is a huge community effort and most companies see the value in being part of the rebuilding of the community -
a community that's supported them in the past."
ASNA Sponsor Profile:
In an interview nearly six years ago, just before Exhibit Works opened a West Coast office, primarily to service a major client – Lincoln – Silvio outlined a work ethic honed not only from immigrant parents but from his early days selling washing machines for Sears.
“Don’t worry about how much money you’re making or how profitable the job is,” he told a magazine interviewer. “Worry about the company and the rest will come.”
It’s a philosophy to which Silvio and the approximately 500 employees of Exhibit Works still hold true.
And now, with Silvio having formed an employee stock ownership program, he’s found a tangible way to bring “the rest” to those who’ve joined him in the enterprise.
The company’s roster now includes a number of other Ford Motor Company badges, including Ford, Mazda, and Volvo, as well as Mitsubishi, Subaru, Porsche, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, Bentley, and now Suzuki.
Croke agrees that people are an essential differentiator for Exhibit Works, an integrated marketing company that does not only exhibits but produces events, designs museum displays, retail store interiors, plus mobile marketing, business theatre and various business-to-business marketing campaigns and initiatives.
“We know our core competencies, but it really does come down to people,” says Croke, who joined Exhibit Works nearly six years ago. A veteran of a competing organization, Croke and two partners had first left to form their own venture. Then they ran into Dominic Silvio.
“We really appreciated Dominic’s approach to business and particularly with people,” says Croke, who shortly thereafter closed up the venture to join Exhibit Works.
Exhibit Works' projects have included displays for Hyundai and Lincoln-Mercury among other manufacturers.
“We really like to bring an intense focus to the products and programs we’re involved with,” says Croke. “Our clients know we work hard to give their brands a very strong three dimensional presence at auto shows around the world.”
That world-wide focus is now extending to China, where Exhibit Works has plans to open a Shanghai office in early spring.
In many ways, the company’s role continues to be one of partnering, says Croke.
“We are very much a partner with our clients. That means working with their marketing departments and with other agencies, coming up with marketing plans that include areas where we can contribute and support other efforts. And in doing so, we’re very often having an impact before the marketing plans are made public, which allows us to help our partners reach their strategic marketing objectives.”
Those face-to-face opportunities to make a difference is another Exhibit Works strength, says Croke.
And as the auto business becomes an increasingly world-wide marketplace, Exhibit Works will continue to serve clients focused on making inroads into those emerging markets.
“It’s probably one of the biggest challenges we have,” says Croke, referring to the obvious trend to market on a global basis. “But we’ve been able to stay ahead of the marketplace.”
With divisions in Detroit, Chicago, L.A. and Orange County, Exhibit Works has the breadth and depth to continue serving a growing client base. But still, it’s the people that make Exhibit Works work. And, for Michael Croke, the connection is obvious.
“This is a company that’s absolutely focused on building strong relationships with our clients — and our people are at the heart of our ability to continue doing that.”
Indeed, Pudney, who serves as vice president, says the company takes a decidedly individualistic approach to the business of producing auto shows. In the case of Paragon, that plays out at Boston’s New England International Auto Show and the Portland (Oregon) International Auto Show, as well as the Jacksonville International Car and Truck Show in February.
A sponsor of Auto Shows of North America, the Paragon Group, also owns an annual golf show in Boston — National Golf Expo — this year scheduled for March 3-5.
“In all cases, we work closely with the association and usually the board, plus a volunteer show committee,” says Pudney. “Once we know their primary focus, we then work to build a number of features that will support their objectives.”
As an example, Pudney points to the New England show, where the owners — the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association — wanted to maximize the funds it raises for its charitable foundation.
“One of their key events is a preview party,” notes Pudney. “We were able to come up with a number of ways, within the context of the preview event, to raise additional funds through the sale of sponsorships.”
Again with Boston, consistent with the association’s objective of improving teen driving safety, the show featured a highly-visible opportunity for visitors to sign up for the “skid school” training program.
At Portland, Jan. 26-29, Paragon installed kiosks that outline the various automotive-related jobs available, an initiative that’s also consistent with a desire of dealers to boost recruitment.
While Pudney underscores her belief that the cars are the stars at any auto show, there’s often an opportunity to bring people in who might otherwise miss an event.
“A big part of it is figuring out what additional features we could produce that will bring in people who are on the fence,” she says. “Our desire is that people come out saying ‘Wow! I had a really good time.’”
The Paragon Group also makes it a point to deliver more.
No space? Paragon Group has just a little extra with a tent it puts up every year for the New England International Auto Show in Boston.
And even when space is seemingly fixed, Paragon Group has been able to make something work, which they did by adding a 40,000 square foot heated tent at the New England International Auto Show.
With show goers consistently expressing their intention to buy or lease a vehicle within three to six months of attending an event, the attendance is one area where Pudney and Paragon Group focus their attention.
“That’s a big part of our overall objective,” she says. “Getting people excited about attending, especially when they’ve got so many other choices for their time, is key.”
Paragon is bringing 'Adrenaline Jam' to the Portland auto show as a way of driving attendance.
While Pudney says Paragon Group is not without ambitions for growth, it expects to do so in a way that retains its ability to provide the customized approach to producing a show. That, she says, may translate into five or six auto shows in total.
“We expect to play to our strengths,” says Pudney. “If that allows us to do what we do for others in the auto show community, we’ll certainly look to serve in that capacity.”
As Lauren Holzman, public relations director, Motor Trend Auto Shows, explains, it’s one of the three-day show’s busiest. And yes, on Friday, it’s mostly a guy thing – an unabashed escape from what might otherwise be a day at the dreaded mall.
Afficionados delighted in a display of vintage Porsche cars.
A good portion of those would be hybrids, an area of growing emphasis.
“It was one of the first shows of the season where we saw a major emphasis on hybrids from both the media and show goers,” says Holzman. “It was the primary story the media wanted to cover at the show — hybrids and fuel efficiency.”
And it’s not just people concerned with the environment that are gravitating toward the gasoline/electric hybrids.
“Even people who are currently driving big trucks and sport/utilities are interested in hybrid vehicles,” says Holzman. “There was always a big crowd around the Chevy Silverado Hybrid, and of course, the Toyota Prius.”
One notable highlight of the Las Vegas show included a first-ever Aftermarket Alley, an area of emphasis that Holzman says has captured the imagination — and the budget — of more and more show goers.
“There are fewer people driving stock vehicles these days,” says Holzman. “It’s now about personalizing vehicles with rims and tires, stereos, and more. The fact that people could see so much in the aftermarket area this year was really well received.”
Features included an on-site demonstration of some of the technology involved in creating a custom paint job, thanks to Paintmaster Art Studio, of Las Vegas.
Other highlights included a display of vintage Mustang, courtesy of the Mustang Club of Las Vegas. Not to be outdone was the Las Vegas Region of the Porsche Club of America which commemorated the club’s 50th anniversary with a special exhibit.
Movie/comic book character "The Thing" demands instant respect at the Las Vegas International Auto Show.
And as an extra benefit to those doing their “window shopping” at the auto show in Las Vegas, WWE Diva Torrie Wilson greeted fans and signed autographs on Saturday.
Profile: Las Vegas International Auto ShowDate:
Nov. 25-27, 2005
With her Central Florida International Auto Show moving from one building of the sprawling Orange County Convention Center complex to another this year (one-half a mile away), and the promise of moving back come next season, it’s meant a complete new set of signage as well as floor plans.
But Miller, executive vice president of the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association, isn’t complaining, pointing out that the most recent move — the result of the host facility adding one million square feet of exhibit space — gave the show a sprawling one-room area and covered docks.
“Before we were in an ‘L’ shaped configuration,” says Miller. “This is much better for exhibitors and they said so.”
In entertainment-intensive Orlando, features like Spider-Man are a necessity for drawing families to the Central Florida International Auto Show.
“A larger issue is dealing with the move-in and move-out days of other shows,” says Miller.
Still, this year’s auto show was a resounding success, says Miller.
Features included a Saturn Xtreme Ride Revamp in association with the Saturn Retailers of Central Florida and a sponsoring radio station (which included a giveaway of the vehicle, an all-new Saturn ION Quad Coupe). The vehicle, completely tricked out with the latest in aftermarket enhancements, was a crowd-pleaser in itself.
A number of exotic cars from the duPont Registry, including Tiger Woods’ Porsche and Hulk Hogan’s Viper were also on hand at the show, as were various concept vehicles from numerous manufacturers.
While Kid’s Day events are hardly unique to auto shows across North America, in Orlando, it’s even more important.
“There are so many options here that we have to add the entertainment,” says Miller.
Toyota's "Off Road On Site Adventure" was a popular feature in Orlando.
Outside, Toyota Trucks Off Road On Site Adventure, located adjacent to the show’s entrance, did a brisk business, but not without its own moments, as Miller explains.
“Someone forget to turn off the automatic sprinkler system one night. They didn’t realize it until one of the hills started to disappear.”
Profile: Central Florida International Auto ShowDate:
Nov. 23-27, 2005
The Arizona International Auto Show once again captured the imagination of Phoenix-area car fans.
Knox Ramsay, president, Valley Auto Dealers Association, says the donation program, which has run for the last six years, produces ongoing results.
“It helps position our dealers as being able to serve the community,” says Ramsay. “And the donation program gives us enduring visibility, with our logo on both sides and the rear of the vehicle.”
The types of vehicles donated depend on the needs of the organization being served, but typically are vans, bus conversions, pick-up trucks or cargo vehicles.
The donations are a key part of an opening day luncheon, sponsored by the Arizona Republic newspaper that effectively takes the place of the typical preview event present at many other shows.
Nissan's 350Z vehicle was one hot property at the Phoenix show.
What does work is the luncheon format that includes a high-profile media speaker (this year it was Leslie Stahl, of CBS’ 60 Minutes). ABC’s Sam Donaldson, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, and power media couple Mary Matalin and James Carville are past speakers.
The public days for the show included a Ford-sponsored ride and drive event, which attracted more than 500 participants.
Also at the show was the state-level competition held by Automotive Youth Education Systems, a partnership with manufacturers, dealers, and high schools that promotes careers in dealerships. Some eight teams competed at the show, the challenge being to “find the fix” for a vehicle that was rigged to malfunction. The winner of the competition now heads to the New York International Auto Show for the national competition in April.
Profile: Arizona International Auto ShowDate:
Nov. 24-27, 2005
“We talked about putting something like this in place for a number of years,” says Mansfield. “It certainly helps with show attendance, but even more important is the fact that it gets younger people involved earlier in the auto show experience.”
Mansfield is also looking to points south for even more growth in the most southern of California auto shows.
“Although about 30 percent of our visitors are Hispanic, we’d like to have even more. One area that we see strong potential is Tijuana.”
Indeed, the Mexican city, just 20 miles from downtown San Diego, has a disproportionate share of millionaires — and at least 1.2 million residents. Clearly, Mansfield would like to see more than a few of them at the auto show.
He’d also like to see more of the area’s military personnel take in the event.
“We’re home to the largest military facility in the world,” says Mansfield. “We’re working diligently to see more of them at the show and we’re doing very well in that regard.”
One popular feature at San Diego was Ford's "Live Build" that saw a transformation of a stock 2006 Mustang GT convertible during the show.
“That’s really what it comes down to,” says Mansfield. “The number one reason we exist is to bring people through the doors, excite them about the products and get them in to the dealerships to buy. Everything else is secondary.”
And dealers, Mansfield says, see it working.
“We are told by our dealers that the show does spark the market,” he says. “That will be particularly helpful this year.”
Additional highlights at San Diego included the Ford Mustang California Dream Live Build, a feature that saw the manufacturer team up with Performance West Group, an automotive enhancement company, to transform a stock 2006 Mustang GT convertible over a two-day period.
Two hands-on events, an increasingly popular feature at auto shows, included the Ford Fusion Experience and Chevrolet Test Drive Experience. Vehicles such as Ford’s Explorer and Mustang and Chevrolet’s Corvette, HHR and Impala SS were available for on-site test drives.
Teaming up with radio station 91X, the auto show also featured a Chevrolet Customized Cobalt Giveaway, as well as a number of customized vehicles recently showcased at SEMA 2005.
Profile: San Diego International Auto ShowDate:
Dec. 28-Jan. 1, 2006
“The economy here is very good,” says Wilson. “We’ve got new condos coming in and new businesses moving here and that rolls over to dealerships and purchases of new vehicles.”
Tampa Bay show goers got a chance to see a Carrera GT owned by golfer Tiger Woods.
Tampa may not be unique in one respect but it’s certainly maintaining a trend toward Ride & Drive events — this year sponsored by Volvo, which brought its S40, S60 and S80 sedans, as well as V series wagons and the XC90 sport/utility vehicle.
New vehicle models shown included the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, the Aston Martin DB9 Coupe, Audi A3, Dodge Charger, Honda Ridgeline, Lexus RX 400h (hybrid), Hummer H3, Maserati Quattroporte and Pontiac Solstice.
A number of ultra high-end exotic and celebrity-owned vehicles were also on display. The duPont Registry display included Tiger Woods’ Porsche Carrera GT, Hulk Hogan’s “Hulkster” Dodge Viper, a Spyker C8 and a Mercedes-Benz limousine equipped with more than $80,000 in audio/entertainment extras. Ferrari of Central Florida came through with several models as well.
Motor Trend Auto Shows, which produces the Tampa Bay event, leveraged its Primedia magazine titles to show a collection of classic muscle cars — part of a display chosen by the editors of “Hot Rod" magazine, “Popular Hot Rodding” and “Super Chevy.” Vehicles such as the 1957 Project X Chevy, 1969 Crate Camaro and 1970 Goodmark Camaro were part of the display.
Carnell "Cadillac" Williams meets a fan in front of (where else?) a Cadillac sign.
George Wilson says the future of the show remains as bright as the Tampa Bay weather, although he admits sunshine isn’t always a good thing for bringing people to the auto show.
“It’s a bit of a Catch 22,” he says. “We like to have the nice weather, but it sometimes means people then have to decide: do we go to the beach, sailing or to the auto show? We’re never sure if it’s helping us or not.”
Still, a new hotel in the downtown area and the specter of an even bigger convention center, which the city is studying, augurs well for the Tampa Bay International Auto Show.
Profile: Tampa Bay International Auto ShowDates:
Nov. 10-13, 2005
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Columbus International Auto Show
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DFW Auto Show in Dallas
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Dayton Auto Show
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Denver Auto Show
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North American International Auto Show
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Edmonton Motor Show
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DFW Auto Show in Fort Worth
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Pennsylvania Auto Show
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Connecticut International Auto Show
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First Hawaiian International Auto Show
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Houston Auto Show
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Indianapolis Auto Show
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Kansas City International Auto Show
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Las Vegas International Auto Show
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Los Angeles Auto Show
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Miami International Auto Show
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Greater Milwaukee International Auto Show
2/24/2018 - 3/4/2018
Twin Cities Auto Show
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Montreal International Auto Show
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Greater New Orleans International Auto Show
3/16/2018 - 3/18/2018
New York International Auto Show
3/30/2018 - 4/8/2018
Oklahoma City International Auto Show
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Oklahoma State Fair Auto Show
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Midlands International Auto Show
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Central Florida International Auto Show
11/23/2017 - 11/26/2017
Philadelphia International Auto Show
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Arizona International Auto Show
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Pittsburgh International Auto Show
2/17/2017 - 2/20/2017
Portland International Auto Show
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Northeast International Auto Show
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Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show
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Rochester International Auto Show
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Sacramento International Auto Show
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Saint Louis International Auto Show
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Salt Lake City
Utah International Auto Expo
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San Antonio Auto & Truck Show
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San Diego International Auto Show
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Silicon Valley International Auto Show
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Seattle International Auto Show
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Spokane International Auto Show
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Tampa Bay International Auto Show
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Greater Toledo Auto Show
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Canadian International Auto Show
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Tulsa Auto Show
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Vancouver International Auto Show
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Hampton Roads International Auto Show
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Washington Auto Show
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John Lyboldt, ATAE President
Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director
Todd Leutheuser, ASNA Chairman
The Auto Show Report
Joe Rohatynski, senior editor
J.D. Booth, editor