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.
Automakers plan introductions at LA ShowSome 14 world premieres and nearly 30 North American debuts are expected at the upcoming LA Auto Show, to be held Nov. 16-25, 2007 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The introductions include Nissan's all-new midsize Murano crossover. Hyundai will unveil a new sports car and Volkswagen will show a minicar concept. For its part, BMW is planning to show its 1 Series coupe. Other North American unveilings include Jaguar's XF performance sedan, Mitsubishi's 10th generation Lancer Evolution, Nissan's GT-R sports car and Subaru's all-new WRX STI.
Paragon to produce Denver showThe retirement of long-time producer Bill Barrow and his wife, Merilee Keene, from the Denver International Auto Show has paved the way for a new production team — the Paragon Group. "Our association board decided to go with a successful company that could expand and enhance an already vibrant show, and we believe the Paragon Group can take the show to the next level," says Tim Jackson, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Automobile Dealers Association, who replaced Barrow when he retired from the dealership group (though Barrow continued to run the show). The Denver show is scheduled for March 26-30, 2008. Paragon also produces the New England International Auto Show, the Portland International Auto Show, the Connecticut International Auto Show and the Jacksonville International Car & Truck Show.
San Jose is now Silicon Valley International Auto ShowWhat's in a name? For Steve Smith, who runs the Silicon Valley Auto Dealers Association, having the name "San Jose" for an auto show just didn't cut it, especially in light of the event's geographic reach. "The auto show encompasses an area that is much larger than just San Jose, as the 66 dealerships that make up our association are from all over Santa Clara County." The new name - Silicon Valley International Auto Show - better reflects the larger geographic area. "It also more effectively communicates to the millions of people who live throughout the area that this is their auto show," says Smith. The show is scheduled for Jan. 10-13, 2008 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Visit www.svautoshow.com.
VW turns to Gail & Rice for auto show staffingGail & Rice will provide auto show staffing and other event services for Volkswagen of America, Inc. this auto show season. “Volkswagen has five new model introductions in 2008 and we have announced plans to dramatically increase sales in the U.S. over the next 10 years,” said Michael Koehler, auto shows team leader for the Volkswagen brand. “One of the important elements of our marketing efforts is auto shows. We found in Gail & Rice a creative energy and true partner that will allow us to reach new heights at these venues.” Agency owner Tim Rice says the 76 year old company’s experience in auto show marketing, and understanding of the VW brand, will enable product specialists to deliver targeted Volkswagen messages to diverse and discriminating audiences.
Ford without Volvo would likely still be linkedAs automotive Website Edmunds.com observes, even if Ford sells its stake in Volvo Cars, the automaker is likely to have a hand in the future of the Swedish company. All Volvos in the foreseeable future are based on one of two Ford-based platforms: the C1 small car chassis and CD-EU architecture, both engineered by Ford Europe. Volvo currently uses the C1 platform (featured on the European Ford Focus and Mazda3) for its C30, C70, S40 and V50 models.
Philadelphia selects GES for services contractThe Philadelphia International Auto Show has signed a three-year deal with GES Exposition Services as its official services contractor, beginning with the upcoming show--Feb. 2-10, 2008. Show Director Michael Gempp cited GES’ global presence, depth and experience as well as its focus on exhibitor service as reasons for the selection. "We also were very impressed with GES' design capabilities." GES, based in Las Vegas, services every major exhibition and event market across North America.
ClarificationAn "Industry News" item in the last issue of The Auto Show Report inaccurately described the awarding to H.B. Stubbs of work for Chrysler's "major" auto shows. The shows are, in fact, regional shows which do not include "major" shows such as Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York. Long-time Chrysler experience marketing partner George P. Johnson Company will continue to do much of the Chrysler business this year.
Comings and goings in the auto show communityBarry Toepke, formerly director of communications with the LA Auto Show and Houston Auto Show, is now director of global communications at RWB, a marketing and communications agency whose clients include Dow Automotive, Ford Racing, Lexus Motorsports and Toyota Motor Sales. He will continue to be based in Los Angeles. PR for the LA Auto Show is now being handled by the Rogers Group.
John Lyboldt, a former president of ATAE who ran the Rochester Automobile Dealers Association for 17 years, is now vice president of dealership operations at the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Anaheim: 'Come here often?'While most people go to auto shows in pursuit of their next vehicle, visitors to the 2008 model Orange County Auto Show had another option - finding someone who very well might be their soul mate.
But no longer.
"The public and the media ate it up," says Sackrison of the idea, which may find its way into other shows under the Motor Trend Auto Shows banner. The idea behind Eight Minute Dating is centered on couples meeting in a controlled, friendly and safe environment. At the auto show, the venue is the cars - and specifically those by Chevrolet, the event sponsor.
"Their area was more crowded than they've seen in years," says Sackrison. "It was the busiest at the show."
The auto show, which helped launch the 2007-2008 North American auto show season, was busier as well - with attendance up about 3.3 percent - bolstered by a repeat of the hip Auto Show Underground (sponsored by Al & Ed's Autosound).
Another highlight of the auto show was Toyota's Off-Road, On-Site Adventure, a very popular "ride and drive" that had show goers lined up to experience. "It was packed," says Sackrison.
Bringing additional features to the show was a deliberate strategy for show organizers, especially in a sales climate that's seen better days.
"We're down overall for the year and in August, sales were off 16 percent," says Sackrison. "We wanted to make sure we went heavy on the entertainment side so those who maybe weren't looking for a vehicle in the next couple of weeks would still come in and maybe we'd be able to help create the demand."
Sackrison says making a strong effort with manufacturers and committing to heavily promote the appearance of the concepts in the marketing campaign leading up to the show went hand-in-hand.
And when media opportunities arose, the concepts were front and center.
An additional strategy that worked well was having a tri-fold map of the show floor with concepts clearly highlighted for show goers. "It gave people a path for seeing those concepts, which helped everyone," says Sackrison.
Another show highlight was a first-ever charity preview event, which Sackrison says will be repeated next year. Beneficiary this year was the Children's Hospital of Orange County, which received just slightly more than $36,000.
Bethlehem: Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show celebrates 10thThe Incredible Hulk, Miss Pennsylvania and Eagles Star David Akers helped usher in the 10th Anniversary Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show. Big band sounds rocked Rauch Field House as Lehigh Valley auto dealers welcomed 1,000 guests to celebrate with community leaders, industry colleagues, customers, family and friends, who enjoyed an evening of great food and fun while checking out the latest products the auto industry has to offer.
"We started out in 1997 as a three-day event, with 85,000 square feet, 15 brands and 150 vehicles, and now it’s the largest consumer show in the region, a four-day event, with 110,000 square feet, 30 brands and over 200 vehicles," adds Scott. "Even more significantly, attendance has grown by 250 percent."
According to Scott, fully 84 percent of attendees found the auto show helpful in making their purchase decision.
"The last year has been a challenging one for our industry and we all know that we have to work harder than ever for every sale," says Scott. "One of the most effective venues we have to win new customers is the auto show. They walk in that door ready to learn about the newest products and discover what best meets their needs. Each company has a singular opportunity to show them their best ideas and win their confidence. It’s a big opportunity for an industry show and tell, and the auto show puts the experience on steroids for attendees as the manufacturers send in their best exhibits and product specialists to show product."
GM Corporate Show Exhibit Manager Garrett Hansen: "The media coverage on this show was exceptional. It has an A-show media level and we were pleased and amazed with the coverage we received."
Chrysler District Service Manager George Lupos: "This is the most organized show we have seen."
Kurt Kelechava, Bethlehem Ford: "Our Web site hits were up significantly during and after the show."
"We went into Monday with at least 100 + fresh leads from the show." Greg Kelly, Kelly Mitsubishi.
The West Pavilion venue was added five years ago and has become an enormous draw. Guests purchase tickets immediately outside the huge clearspan structure and pour through the entrances to see the exhibits.
Notable celebrities included the reigning Miss Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Eagles star David Akers, children’s favorite Patrick Star and Greg Luzinski.
A Hero Show, featuring Marvel Comics characters, was a hit with families. Pennsylvania State Police provided parents with DNA kits, fingerprinted their children and demonstrated proper use of child and infant safety seats.
Auto Technology Day welcomed 1,000 students, teachers and family members from the technology schools in the region to enjoy the show. Active military, fire and police personnel were the guests of GLVADA.
Cusimano says the show continues to grow and serve its main purpose: to shine a spotlight on the industry, show off the best products, and send customers into showrooms.
"The secondary effects are the success of the dealer association and the establishment of the GLVADA Fund within the Pennsylvania Automotive Association Foundation, which endows dealer supported Lehigh Valley charities in perpetuity."
Chicago: 'Space is there if we want it'For Jerry Cizek, it just keeps getting better.
Whether that expansion comes to fruition or not, Cizek is certain about plans for the upcoming show, which will see General Motors increase its space by 14 percent as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. Coincidentally, the Chicago Auto Show is also marking its 100th show, which takes into account the period of 1942-1949 when World War II suspended such events.
"It's a multi-year commitment from GM," says Cizek, who notes GM will use some two-thirds of the McCormick Place North Hall. The long-term arrangement was asked for and granted in light of the displacing of some 16 exhibitors; they'll be part of an all-new look for the South Hall.
The most recent show was successful at a number of levels, says Cizek, one being the "Best of Show" voting, which turns over the role of picking out the industry's best to the "ultimate judges" - consumers who vote with their wallets.
One of the most popular areas of the show continued to be the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge "Chicago Drive" display, which for three years has been voted as the "Consumers Choice" in independent surveys. The incremental improvements to the exhibit area, developed by the George P. Johnson Company, have included a Jeep mountain (which stole the show in year one), an SRT performance zone with acceleration and braking demos (in year two), most recently, a Dodge Truck hill and ice track to demonstrate stability and antiskid braking.
An additional awards program, the MotorWeek Drivers' Choice Awards, has its home at the Chicago Auto Show. Its "Best" line up of 13 winners included the Honda Fit (small car), Saturn Aura (family sedan), Hyundai Entourage/Kia Sedona (minivan), Volkswagen Eos (convertible), Lexus LS (luxury sedan), Infiniti G35 (sport sedan), Ford Shelby GT 500 (performance car), Honda CR-V (small utility), Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon (large utility), GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook (crossover utility), Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra (pickup truck), Toyota (eco-friendly), and Jaguar XKR, Ferrari 599 GT B Fiorano, and Porsche 911 Turbo (dream machine).
Chicago was also the venue for Ford announcing its return of the Taurus brand, which replaces the Five Hundred.
Continental Automotive Systems brought its new "Safely There" exhibit to the Chicago show. The hands-on display features kiosks that consumers can use to test their knowledge of safety systems available and learn about near future systems that will help prevent crashes, reduce injuries and save lives.
"Continental is contributing to the increasing intelligence of today's vehicle with equipment that is increasing a car's brainpower, making the driving experience safer and more enjoyable," says Bill Kozyra, Continental's North American president and CEO. "Vehicle-to-vehicle communications is a key technology for us and one that is growing in importance."
Cizek, who doubles as president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, is decidedly positive about the future of the First Look for Charity event - and for that matter the entire show.
"We’ll be giving away three vehicles at the event, just as we did this past year," says Cizek. "At $225 a ticket, we still have 14,000 people attending."
Cizek sees even bigger possibilities relating to the venue, such as making room for offshore manufacturers (think China and India) who want to display their wares.
"When they decide they want to be a player in the North American market, we want to be the destination."
Milwaukee: Beer city celebrates a century of auto showsHistory buffs might have thought they had died and gone to heaven, walking into the Midwest Airlines Center to attend the Greater Milwaukee Auto Show.
A display of "Vehicles Through the Decades" commemorated the extensive history of the auto show, dating back to 1907 and featuring a collection of rare roadsters, speedsters, convertibles and touring cars that represented the paste 10 decades of automotive design.
Among the vehicles shown were a 1912 Metz Roadster, 1915 Chevrolet Baby Grand Touring car, 1917 Ford Model T, 1920 Kissel Speedster, 1934 Ford Convertible Roadster, 1952 Crosley Convertible, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, 1957 Nash Ambassador, 1964 ˝ Ford Mustang, 1970 Plymouth Superbird, 1971 Honda 600, 1973 VW Thing, and 1999 Shelby Series One.
The Shelby was one of a display of original vintage vehicles that included a 1965 Cobra 427, 1966 GT350H, 1967 GT500, 1968 GT500KR Convertible, 1969 GT350 Convertible, and a 2007 Shelby GT500, all courtesy of the Northwoods Region Shelby Club.
The auto show featured a Black Tie Charity Gala, with funds from the $250/ticket event going to the Froedtert Hospital Foundation, Midwest Athletics Against Childhood Cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin.
Other show features included an appearance by Miss Milwaukee 2007 Janel Mayer, Motor Trend's classic "College Two-Fer Day," a Field Trip Day, where students from local schools were invited to learn driving safety tips from the Automobile Dealers of Mega Milwaukee (and get free admission to the show), and a Kids Day, where children 12 and under were admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
New York: Much more than cars and carpetCertainly, New York is among the largest automotive markets in the nation, a good reason in itself for a major auto show.
But as Greater New York Auto Dealers Association President Mark Schienberg explains, the show has continued to try to do more than simply showcase vehicles, as important as that is to the dealers and the overall economic impact in the community.
"One of the things we keep trying to do is bring additional people and groups to the table," says Schienberg. "There are topics that are important to the industry, and not just the manufacturers and dealers, and we've been able to have a discussion on those at our show."
"There's a recognition that ad agencies and manufacturers have done a good job," says Schienberg. "We wanted to put some light on the role the media and advertising plays in moving product and we did that and we're planning to do it again."
Another repeat performance is likely with the World Car of the Year presentations; this past year the Lexus LS 460 took the honors from a field of 28 contenders nominated by jurors from 22 countries.
New York's reputation as being a forum for discussing issues of importance to the industry is hardly new; some 17 years ago, the show began its World Traffic Safety Symposium. It was a time when now commonplace innovations such as side air bags were merely discussion points.
He says the show has also had some success in bringing visibility to products and services that in another era might have been strictly in the
court of the manufacturer. An example: satellite radio services from XM and
Sirius. "There are clearly things going on that the consumer wants to know about," says Schienberg.
"It's created a whole new set of messages and relationships that we haven't had before."
Next year, Schienberg says the show, which will be an OICA-sanctioned event, is looking to present a discussion on how personalities at the senior level of an automotive manufacturer affect the visibility and marketing. Think Jim Press, formerly of Toyota and now at Chrysler. Or Jim Farley, who recently moved from Toyota to Ford.
Schienberg says the future of auto shows in general is bright.
"There's no better place for manufacturers to market their vehicles than at auto shows. There are billions of dollars being spent on various forms of marketing, but when it comes down to it, auto shows are about getting people excited about the vehicles. It's a message we don't get out enough."
Richmond: Show expands floor plan, adds Ride and DrivesFor most auto shows, space is a challenge.
But it was in the show where the action could be found, notably in two new Ride and Drive exhibits: the GM Experience Ride & Drive and the Chrysler Mobile Marketing Tour, an interactive exhibit with the latest vehicles, video games, film shorts and a free gift. There was also the opportunity for show goers to test drive several Chrysler models at the show.
For many auto show attendees, new is not always everything and such was the case in Richmond with a display of classic and performance Ford Mustangs, made possible by the Central Virginia Mustang Club. Notable models included a 1964 ˝ Mustang, 1966 Mustang Convertible, 1995 Mustang Cobra and a 2002 Saleen Mustang.
Other popular features at the show included an appearance by World Wrestling Entertainment's Mick Foley (who is also a New York Times best-selling author) and an appearance by Courtney Hansen, who hosts two TV shows: “Destination Wild,” a travel series on Fox Sports Net, and Spike TV's “PowerBlock.”
But back to cars. Also on display was the Roush Racing/AAA #6 Ford Fusion Nextel Cup series car as well as a race car simulator that offered show goers a virtual racing experience.
Vancouver: Coping with nice weather, advancing green messageIn Vancouver, Canada's major west coast city, a temperate climate has both its good points and challenges.
But from the perspective of the auto show and Paul McGeachie, general manager of the New Car Dealers Association of BC (owners of the event), having good weather can present a problem from an attendance standpoint.
"You need two weekends if the weather gets too good," says McGeachie, referring to the nine-day event that this past season ran through Easter weekend, which was unusual in itself.
"I can't remember the last time that happened," says McGeachie. "But Good Friday was off the scale. It was one of the busiest Fridays we've ever had, with Saturday and Sunday a little softer."
Even though the venue is maxed out as far as the auto show is concerned, McGeachie and his association are looking for new opportunities to drive traffic to dealerships, including organizing events throughout the week of the show, the obvious intention being to bring even more people in the doors while allowing the show to expand its reach to the community.
A charity VIP night this year (the first time in five years it was held at BC Place) helped raise funds for the Special Olympics, a long-standing charity of the dealer association.
One new feature for the show was an area where consumers could shop for accessory items, among them tires, rims, sound systems and the like.
McGeachie says plans are underway to expand the exotic vehicle display. And the auto show is on track to introduce a test drive feature that will allow consumers to book ahead for select vehicles, meshing the system into the dealer system, again helping to bring shoppers into the dealership.
Another event to look forward to, and one that McGeachie hopes will tie in nicely to the auto show, is GLOBE 2008, a bi-annual international conference and trade fair designed to highlight advances in green technology. The event, held just before next year's auto show, will also include an Auto FutureTech Summit.
"We don't conflict with it," says McGeachie. "Rather, they help our green message and consumers get to see how new cars fit into the program."
Auto Shows of North America Show DirectoryAlbany
Albany Auto Show
4/4/2008 - 4/6/2008
Salt Lake City
Credits/Contacts:Automotive Trade Association Executives
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
703.556.8581 - fax
Denise Brennan, ATAE Chairman
Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director
The Auto Show Report
J.D. Booth, editor
John Koenig, industry editor