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.
Comings and Goings in the auto show communityWith this issue of The Auto Show Report, we're introducing "Comings and Goings" - highlighting various personnel moves. Please feel free to drop us a line with any moves you feel we should know about.
- As reported in last issue of The Auto Show Report, Kevin Leap is the new auto show director for the San Diego International Auto Show. He can be reached at 858.550.0080.
- Tony Fouladpour has joined Porsche Cars North America as manager of corporate communications. His contact number is 770.290.3667.
- Jay Cooney is GM's new staff director of global auto shows and events, replacing Stefan Weinmann (now director, Cadillac/Hummer/Saab communications). Cooney was previously GM's director of corporate communications for Asia Pacific. He can be reached at 313.665.3142.
- Jeff Kuhlman, who recently left General Motors after more than 20 years' service (most recently as communications staff director for GM North AMerican vehicle sales), has joined Audi of America as chief communications officer, a new position. Kuhlman can be reached at 248.754.5147.
- Alex Fedorak, a public relations veteran who has spent more than 20 years in the auto industry (most of it at Subaru), is now head of public relations at Kia Motors of America. He can be reached at 949.470.2809.
- Patrick McGrath formerly with Hyundai Motor America, is now working for The George P. Johnson Company on the Toyota auto show account. McGrath is based out of GPJ's Torrance, Calif., office and can be reached at 310.965.4300.
For 'California' it's now 'OC Auto Show'A decade into the increasingly successful California International Auto Show, the event has a new name that organizers say reflects the unique region and makes it "their own."
The Orange County Auto Show "debuts" Oct. 4-8, 2006 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
"Orange County's prominence has grown over the last 10 years and we feel the name change clearly defines the show's audience as one of the largest luxury and consumer markets in North America," says John Sackrison, co-director of the show. "The new name more effectively communicates to the 10.9 million people who live within a 30-mile radius of the Anaheim Convention Center that this is their show."
Todd Leutheuser, auto show co-director, agrees: "The Orange County Auto Show is one of the most exciting in the country, and the strength of the Southern California market, combined with the early timing of the show, allows us to work with the manufacturers to showcase the latest vehicles in the OC first."
The new Web site domain for the show is: www.orangecountyautoshow.com.
Nissan's Gallant, Infiniti's Joy head to NashvilleYou simply don't move your corporate headquarters halfway across the country without a number of personnel changes. And Nissan North America's trek from Gardena, Calif., to suburban Nashville is no exception.
Both have actually moved to the area and will be working in temporary quarters in space Nissan has rented until its new corporate building is ready for occupancy, sometime in 2008.
In the meantime, e-mail is the best way of reaching both Gallant and Joy.
Additional Nissan/Infiniti personnel moving to Tennessee include:
- Kurt von Zumwalt, director, product PR (leaves company Dec. 1).
Look to The Auto Show Report for further details as they become available.
Suzuki's Marty Haynes enthusiastic about future of auto showsWhen it comes to auto show boosters, it might be harder to find a more ardent supporter than Suzuki's Marty Haynes, a 31-year veteran of the company who began his career as a regional motorcycle dealer representative (in northern Michigan of all places).
Haynes, a native of Tennessee, attended Vanderbilt University and began teaching high school science, something he did for three years before joining Suzuki, ultimately moving to southern California in 1978. He and his wife Julie are "empty nesters" with their youngest of four children having headed to college last fall.
A key reason for the restructuring: growth.
"The automotive division is growing and our sales plans have been successful," says Haynes. "By separating out the events and shows, we're able to place more focus and specific emphasis on the auto show activity."
It's an area in which Suzuki is clearly setting its sights, says Haynes.
"This past season, we were involved in some 41 shows," he says. "We're looking to increase that number for sure."
Haynes sees auto shows as "the richest source of in-market consumers ready to buy now or in the next six months" and says Suzuki "plans to capitalize on that by presenting a stronger image, with new displays and presentation support."
An ongoing challenge, he says, is securing more space for Suzuki at the typical auto show, something Haynes acknowledges is difficult when auto show exhibit halls throughout North America are largely full.
"The short answer is you make the most of what you have," says Haynes to a question about how Suzuki deals with the space issue. "But it's also about building and maintaining relationships with producers. If we have a smaller space, perhaps we can maximize the effectiveness of that location - having it in a prominent corner of the hall, for example."
Haynes says he's appreciated working with auto show producers in his focused role with Suzuki's automotive division. "There are some very nice people out there, willing and able to cooperate and get things done. It's been a real pleasure."
He's also enthusiastic about the future of Suzuki, especially in the auto show environment.
"We're definitely on the move," says Haynes. "It's a growing division within a growing company and we're looking forward to the excitement that comes with an expanding program."
Denver: Additional space absorbed by growing aftermarket displaysHe may be retired from his job as executive director of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association, but Bill Barrow is fully entrenched as general manager of the Denver Auto Show - a job he's held along with running the CADA for nearly 30 years.
Today, Barrow, who works from a home office with his wife (and show coordinator) Merilee Keene, is every bit as busy running the annual event that's become big enough to require full-time attention.
"It's hard to extract yourself from the auto industry," quips Barrow.
As far as this year's auto show is concerned, even though available space at the Colorado Convention Center has increased by 100,000 square feet (it now uses a total of 400,000 square feet) Barrow says organizers were enthusiastic about the expansion when it was announced.
"We ordered the 100,000 square feet of additional space," he says. "But by the time it was finished, business was in the tank and no one was interested in expanding."
The solution? Barrow went back to an idea he and Merilee had toyed with for some time: aftermarket.
"We started doing that three years ago, and the first year we were able to sell about 30 to 40 percent of the additional space we contracted," says Barrow.
While he admits the sale of the space is a bit harder - "it's more of a 'mom and pop' exhibitor that requires a lot more work to sell" - it's caught on.
"People saw the displays we had the first year and they got excited about the possibilities," he says. "The second year we sold about 65 percent of the space. This year we sold out."
Barrow admits, laughingly, that "I never thought I'd have a display called 'Pimp Your Ride' in an auto show."
"Consumers just absolutely loved it," says Barrow. "It was crowded all the time and everyone involved now wants more floor space."
Getting more space from the Colorado Convention Center may be a challenge, however. Because the facility must give the auto show a full 18 months' notice, the additional space that could go to the auto show (there's a total of 600,000 square feet available to rent) would virtually eliminate any safety valve the facility wants to retain should a "must have" convention present itself.
Still, Barrow and Keene are doing their part to continue to look for innovative ways to promote the show with the space they do have. One example this year was bringing in a Chevy-sponsored complete radio studio, shipped from Detroit. The initiative translated into a number of radio remotes from all over the dial.
"Depending on the day, we had different remotes from throughout the show floor," says Keene.
It also resulted in an impressive 12 percent increase in attendance. "Radio remotes helped with that," says Keene, who also acknowledges the support of television in helping to drive attendance, particularly in the development of a commercial one station developed (at its own cost) for the auto show.
"TV stations recognize that 30 percent of their total advertising dollars come from auto dealers," she says. "They were ready to help."
Barrow's theory: people are increasingly getting their news either from TV or online. "Readership for newspapers has gone down, that's for sure."
Additional highlights at the Denver Auto Show included an expanded exotic car section as well as the requisite number of hybrids, one of the hottest genres at most auto shows these days.
Kansas City: Patriotism sells, contributes to successful showPatriotism works. Just ask Bill Morrison, who heard about a custom decorated Ford F-250 dubbed "Standin' Proud" - a tribute on wheels to fighting servicemen from the very early days of America to present day.
Customized by Matt Jones, of Effingham, Ill., "Standin' Proud" includes visuals of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, along with the names of servicemen from Afghanistan and Iraq who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
"It was a very popular tribute," says Morrison, who's been producing the show "from stem to stern" for some 12 years now.
While attendance at this year's show was off slightly from last year, Morrison says it was the result of something that can't be helped - the weather.
"We had hail and terrific thunderstorms on Sunday," he says, adding that competition with other downtown activities the weekend of the show was also a factor.
Still, the show's venue - Bartle Hall - contributed to the show's ability to maintain interest with exhibitors.
Morrison says a commitment to continuously improve the auto show includes getting together with a group of auto show producers (Auto Show Executives) that began meeting about a dozen years ago.
"We talk about nuts and bolts stuff, and we make a lot of comparisons to the way we operate," says Morrison. "We bounce ideas off one another and there's a great willingness on the part of all of us to do that."
Pittsburgh: Show capitalizes on Steeler interestWhen your city has just won the Super Bowl, as Pittsburgh's Steelers did, what special feature do you bring to your show? Football players, of course. In the case of the Pittsburgh Auto Show, coordinator Jill Costic and her team brought five Steelers to the event for autograph signings.
"We really don't have any one reason for it," she says. "Maybe it's the economy or higher gas prices."
Still, Costic planned for success and says the effect of a number of features generated strong interest if not record numbers of show goers.
"We had some very interesting vendor booths set up this year," says Costic, referring to space booked by insurance companies and vacation travel operators. "They all had giveaways, which were all very popular."
The auto show also became the backdrop for a General Motors commercial, with the automaker setting up some 25 vehicles in front of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, all of which then drove off with lights flashing just before dawn.
"It was very impressive," says Costic.
On the vehicle side of the auto show equation, Costic is working on the idea of an aftermarket alley for next year's show. "We don't yet have one but we're looking into it."
Looking ahead, Costic says the show itself enjoys strong support from manufacturers. "We're already booking space for next year. No one is decreasing space."
San Antonio: Steady attendance, focus on vehicles keeps show rollingUtilizing a respectable 400,000 square feet of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in the river walk city of San Antonio, November's San Antonio International Auto & Truck Show is one of the first on the auto show calendar and has maintained good public and manufacturer support.
"Because we're one of the first, we have the ability to secure a good selection of vehicles that the public is going to see in the weeks and months ahead."
A mainstay of the San Antonio show is a very successful preview party, attended by 850 guests including dealers, spouses and manufacturer representatives. While at this point the preview is not a charity event, Welch says that may change in the future. "It's not something we've adopted but we may consider it."
Welch and the San Antonio show generate strong dealer support, especially in light of the positive effect on business the event produces, an effect surely helped by media partners such as the "San Antonio Express-News," the show's official co-sponsor.
"We've tried that in the past, but the surveys we've done indicate that here, people are primarily interested in the cars, and not celebs," says Welch, "so we got away from that."
But with a maxed out show, which occupies the entire convention center, Welch is content to do what the San Antonio show has always done - generate public interest. Even with the challenges of downtown parking in the Alamo city, Welch says things are looking up.
"We've been holding steady with attendance as well," she says. "It's a great show."
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
Gary Thomas, ATAE Chairman
Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director
Peter Hodges, ASNA Chairman
The Auto Show Report
J.D. Booth, editor