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.
LA celebrates green
Philly brings interactive features to new Web site
San Diego features Web press kitMeanwhile, on the other side of the country, the entire press kit of the San Diego International Auto Show is now available online at the show’s new site, www.sdautoshow.com. “Our media contacts have said they prefer access to news, images and other information online instead of through traditional printed press kits,” says Amy Foley, director of PR for SDIAS. “It’s more user-friendly, it’s accessible 24 hours a day, and provides opportunities for updates right up to show time.”
Chicago credentials available onlineRegistration for Chicago Auto Show credentials is now available online, according to show organizers. The process is similar for both working media and corporate credential purposes: Media applicants should go to www.chicagoautoshow.com where they can find “Working Media Registration” and “Corporate Credentials” buttons, both located within the Media Information Center box. Manufacturers who have multiple requests for credentials are advised to contact Robyn Graves, Chicago Auto Show communications assistant, at 630.424.6016. Press preview days for the Chicago Auto Show are Feb. 7-8, 2007, with some evening press events on Feb. 6.
Jury names finalists for NACTOY awardsThe jury for the North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awards has released its list of finalists: the Honda Fit, Saturn Aura and Toyota Camry; and Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7 in the truck category. Winners will be named Jan. 7 at the start of press preview days at the North American International Auto Show. Meanwhile, auto journalist and NACTOY juror Paul Eisenstein writes on TheCarConnection.com that an inadvertent omission of the Jeep Wrangler is necessitating a re-vote, which may (should the Wrangler score high enough) produce four truck category finalists. The awards program started with a candidate pool of 12 cars and 14 trucks and were determined by the votes of 49 auto journalist jurors. In a new procedure for 2007, jurors will vote a second time to choose a winner from among the three finalists for each category (in past years, the top three vote getters in each category were named finalists, with the top vote-getting vehicle named the winner).
Pudney lauded by New England auto media group
SAE increases visibility at North American International Auto Show
Indeed, the SAE and the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which sponsors the NAIAS, have pledged to continue working together to underscore the connection between the design and manufacture of vehicles and the sales and marketing side, as represented by auto dealers.
As Dave Amati, director of both global automotive business and SAE’s automotive headquarters, based in Troy, Mich., explains, the organizations have been actively pursuing opportunities to work together for the last four or five years, with the most recent initiatives reflected in the upcoming NAIAS 2007 event in January.
“There’s a great deal of interest in what happens at the NAIAS,” says Amati, who puts the Detroit event among the top three shows worldwide. “Thousands of our members take the time to go to the show to see the results of not only their work but the work of others.”
Amati says opportunities that would benefit automotive engineers at other major auto shows are also being explored.
Indeed, NAIAS organizers have long recognized the critical role automotive engineers play in bringing the latest vehicles to market, one reason the show includes Industry Preview Days (Wed. Jan. 10 and Thurs. Jan 11) on its schedule. During those days, automotive engineers can be seen poking, prodding, and measuring various parts of vehicles for which they have a particular interest.
Both Amati and his colleague at the NAIAS, executive director Rod Alberts, see the strategic benefit of helping consumers connect the role of automotive engineers with all the automotive industry has to offer.
And there’s no better place, says Amati, than at the NAIAS and events like it.
With a resurgence in so-called “green” technology, Amati says automotive engineers continue to play a critical role in developing and implementing environmentally friendly advancements in the automotive sector.
“A lot of the technology that is being introduced has its roots in SAE committee work,” says Amati. “Our members bring together all the various challenges that the automotive industry has for bringing these advancements to market, not only through design but in the writing of standards that automotive manufacturers and parts suppliers will adhere to as these technologies are rolled out to the entire industry.”
SAE will also hold its own 18th Annual Automotive Outlook Conference on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at the nearby Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, offering conference attendees the opportunity to share the NAIAS show floor with credentialed media (the last of the three-day of Press Preview at the show).
But it’s the general public that deserves to know how vital SAE members are to the development of vehicles they’ll drive in the future.
“My view is it’s good for people to not only see the engineering that’s being done on the products they see but to understand how the various parts and components are made and how that translates into the value of the vehicles themselves,” says Amati.
ASNA contact information up-to-date?The automotive industry is ever-changing, and its people, it seems, move through the revolving door non-stop. At ASNA, keeping track of the names, positions and contact information is something we want and need to do. What’s more: you’ve asked for it. That’s why we’re asking you to check out the information on our Web site to make sure it's accurate. A manufacturer? Click here. If you're an ASNA sponsor, click here. If you're part of the show resources section of the Web site, click here to make sure we've got you correctly listed. If something is missing, please e-mail us so we can make the necessary additions, deletions, etc. More and more, people are depending on ASNA – still the only organization for and about auto shows – for contact information. Help us out. It’ll take five minutes.
Charlotte: Bringing media on board continues to build momentumDick Lewis and those involved with the organization of the Charlotte International Auto Show continue to reap dividends from a strategy that began last year to bolster media support for the auto show.
“We did have more media support and more television on site at the show,” says Lewis. “All five TV stations had a presence and every one of the 12 radio stations had remote broadcasts.”
Lewis estimates a 20-30 percent increase in media participation. And he recommends the media meeting as a way to solidify that support.
“It brings them together in more of a partnering with the auto show,” says Lewis. “And it becomes more of an event for them. There’s a great deal of support for us continuing to meet on an annual basis.”
Charlotte’s format for the meeting includes a lunch at a local country club and a presentation by three dealers on the executive committee, all talking about the upcoming show.
It’s hard to argue with success: the show’s entire 280,000 square feet was sold and attendance was up 7 percent over last year.
Part of that, Lewis says, is likely due to a shift in broadcast advertising to news spots.
“We have five dealers on our executive committee and most of them do their own buying of radio and television,” says Lewis. “We rely on their expertise and they said ‘let’s give it a try.’ It seemed to be a more effective way to buy television.”
Other features included the appearance of Shannon Wiseman, co-host of the NASCAR Angels TV program.
On the attendance front, organizers were able to leverage the downtown location and the fact that Charlotte is one of the nation’s largest banking centers into a Thursday/Friday surge through the “free lunch” (a soft drink and a hot dog) for office workers.
Lewis says other attendance building methods are used as well. “We use a lot of coupons for the auto show, and we put them in grocery stores, dealerships, and all the bank branches.”
He also took a look at the area’s Charlotte-Douglas International Airport as a means of driving more attendance.
“We started using coupons at the airport a week before the auto show,” says Lewis. “Working with the airport marketing people, we were able to use banners and kiosks. There are a tremendous number of people coming in and out of the city and the cost was minimal to do it.”
Hartford: New location brings big changes to showIt’s a “first” for Barbara Pudney and Paragon Group, though definitely not her first auto show. But the fact remains that the Connecticut International Auto Show is in something of a transition with the retirement of Ed Isenberg in January and with it a decision to have Paragon Group take over responsibility for producing the event.
“It was a short period,” says Pudney. “But it was doable.”
Indeed, Pudney says plans for next year are already underway, even as she assimilates the new show into a schedule that includes producing the New England International Auto Show and the Portland International Auto Show.
But we digress.
This year was a major one for the Connecticut International Auto Show as it moved from its 63,000 square foot location at the Connecticut Expo Center to the 140,000 square foot Connecticut Convention Center, again part of the reason Paragon as a show producer was brought on board. “It was a big change for them,” says Pudney. “And we were able to bring in more factory support to the show.”
“First of all, we needed to make sure the public knew about the move,” says Pudney. “That was key.” So a strong marketing effort followed, including tapping in to Pudney’s media contacts.
“We were able to get some very positive stories in media outlets and we also had live remotes as well,” she notes.
That aside, Pudney was able to offer show goers features that simply weren’t possible in the smaller facility.
“We were able to bring in more display properties from manufacturers,” she says. “It gave us a whole new look as far as what the auto show is for Connecticut.”
And on the paid media side of the equation, Pudney and Paragon were able to bring in additional elements as well, including a giveaway program featuring a Dodge Nitro (working with the New England Dodge Dealers organization).
With a 23 percent surge in attendance, it’s clear everything came together in just the right proportions.
“Certainly, the costs of moving into the convention center are higher,” Pudney acknowledges. “But everybody’s happy with the results.”
They’re likely to be even happier next year: plans include adding another 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, making the show triple its size in just two years.
Orlando: Fire and Ice and snow, really, at Central Florida ShowWhile other auto shows throughout North America are trending toward fewer entertainment features, sometimes it comes down to: “When in Rome…”
Or, better said: “When in Orlando...”
Indeed, the executive vice president of the Central Florida New Car Dealers Association says several new features were added to this season’s show, among them a number of vehicles unlikely to be seen in neighborhood driveways.
They included two vehicles 50 years apart – 2007 and 1957 model year Corvettes – but with identical exterior and interior color and even identical VIN coding.
Yet another example of bringing something different to the show was the appearance of the world’s longest police car, a 27-foot security themed limousine dubbed “Hot Pursuit.”
Orlando was also the site of the popular Toyota Off Road On Site Adventure. And with the biggest hills in Orlando typically being limited to various amusement parks, the Toyota ride and drive was very popular indeed. “It’s what takes your breath away,” says Miller.
Miller says this year’s show was the largest ever, taking up 561,000 square feet of the Orlando Convention Center.
One interesting marketing effort for the show was the first-time use of a mobile billboard, which toured the Orlando area before and during the auto show.
Miller says the Thanksgiving weekend spot on the calendar is something she’d like to continue with, and she expresses her thanks to staff and others working the show with a Thanksgiving dinner, which has become something of a tradition.
“We have a very good day on Thanksgiving Day,” says Miller. “And Friday is just like another Saturday for us.”
While weather might not seem to be an issue on most days in Orlando, the Florida city got what might be called a “dusting” of the white stuff the night before opening day.
Miller says it was a big topic of conversation the next day, although any minor accumulation had long disappeared. “People kidded that the showstoppers insurance was in effect.”
Still, Miller does make sure the auto show is covered, especially from the effects of any tropical storms. And she gets her showstoppers insurance early, typically in May.
“You have to be careful, because as soon as there’s a ‘named’ storm, you won’t be issued a policy for any tropical storms that season.”
Sacramento: Doubling size produces surge in attendanceWhile many climates make the move out of the question, for the Sacramento International Auto Show, expansion by way of using more outdoor space is certainly an option when it comes to meeting increasing demand from manufacturers.
As Stacey Castle, executive director of the Central Valley New Car Dealers Association, explains, doubling the size of the auto show now makes the four-day event one of the largest events in the state capital, second only to the California State Fair.
“We took all 13 buildings this year,” says Castle. “That gave visitors twice as much to see.”
The expansion move was something Castle and her board had looked at for some time. But they took their time in developing the expansion plan.
“We didn’t want to do it unless we knew it would work well,” says Castle. “That meant taking the time to develop great exhibits and giving our visitors an outstanding experience.”
And what an experience it was.
With displays that included street rods, classic rods, alternative transportation (including electric golf carts and scooters), this year’s auto show was successful at a number of levels, not least of which was attendance – up 11 percent from last year.
Another new feature was a display of some 20 “horseless carriages” (all pre-1912) from the local Towe Auto Museum.
But simply having the extra displays wasn’t the end of it. Castle capitalized on the fact that the location of the eight buildings, forming a circle, includes a natural step down to a stage area, ideal for music performances.
“People follow sound,” notes Castle. “So we used that fact by bringing in live music entertainment. It really added energy to the area.”
And for good reason. As Castle explains, Sacramento’s proximity to the Sierra mountains makes the area a strong four-wheel drive truck market. “We have a lot of Jeep clubs here and some people buy four-wheel drive vehicles just to get over the hill. It’s also a true work truck market.”
Other notable show features added were a motorcycle display area and an expanded children’s play area.
Already looking ahead to next year, Castle says she expects to duplicate this year’s show blueprint, perhaps with some tweaking.
“We’ve had tremendous feedback from manufacturers and other exhibitors,” says Castle. “It seems this year we reached a whole new plateau.”
The success of the show will translate into additional dollars raised for charitable purposes, which is how the revenue is allocated.
“We’ve been able to create a brand new program to address the issue of reckless driving and impaired driving issues among young drivers,” says Castle.
Working with school districts and the California Highway Patrol, the dealer association is developing a “campus to campus” presentation complete with DVD support that will include bringing actual crashed vehicles to put on display at the schools, initially in Sacramento and eventually spreading to some 10 districts in the vicinity.
“Kids will be able to see the ramifications of reckless and impaired driving,” says Castle. “They’ll also get to hear from someone who can speak of the pain and suffering it causes.”
Auto Shows of North America Show DirectoryAlbany
Albany Auto Show
3/23/2007 - 3/25/2007
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