ASNA Logo Volume 6, Issue 8 - October 2008
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the Auto Show Report
A compilation of news and developments for and about Auto Shows of North America. To find out more, visit


Industry News
  • Gill rolls out red carpet to ATAEs
  • Earth, Wind & Power Awards to debut in Detroit
  • Trend toward Asian brands increasing in U.S.
  • Chrysler coming on board with electric vehicles
  • Pet safety advocate heads for auto shows
  • Toyota to show natural gas-hybrid concept at LA
  • Revamped Toyota test drive event revs up
  • NA auto show delegation visits Paris Motor Show
  • Comings and Goings

    Show Profiles

  • Anaheim: Entertainment counters soft market; ride and drives grow
  • Cleveland: Plenty of space and free parking
  • Greenville: Safe driving focus, green vehicles draw crowds
  • Las Vegas: On Black Friday, out come the car shoppers
  • Providence: Show teams up with college students in unique program
  • Vancouver: Vintage cars help drive interests

    Show Directory

  • Alphabetical listing of ASNA shows and dates for 2008-2009

    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.

    Gill rolls out red carpet to ATAEs

    Sometimes, membership really does have its privileges. In this case, it's membership in Automotive Trade Association Executives that is the key to an invitation to Press Days for the LA Auto Show, Nov. 19-20. Charlie Gill, who heads the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association, will also host a luncheon for ATAE members on Nov. 19. ATAEs should contact Shirley Aldana Schwarz by October 31 for luncheon reservations.

    Earth, Wind & Power Awards to debut in Detroit

    While to the boomers it might sound like a concert by a band best known for its 70s hits, “Earth, Wind and Power” is very much modern in its approach, celebrating the best environmentally friendly vehicles the industry can deliver.

    That’s how executive producer Courtney Caldwell sees the new category, which will be presented at the 13th Annual International Car of the Year (ICOTY) awards program, Jan. 10, 2009, at the MGM Grand Detroit, on the eve of press preview days for the North American International Auto Show.

    Caldwell, who is founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Road & Travel Magazine, a 20-year-old online publication, says the need to recognize automakers’ efforts in the area of eco-friendly vehicle development has never been greater.

    “With global warming and concerns about dependence of foreign oil becoming more mainstream today, more and more people are turning to fuel-efficient or alternative fuel vehicles,” says Caldwell. “It’s become of vital interest to consumers, automakers, and the future of our planet to produce vehicles that are compatible with our environment.”

    In addition to the inaugural “Earth, Wind & Power” Awards, ICOTY will present its 2nd Annual Earth Angel Award, honoring an automaker for the most progress on its environmental programs, partnership and initiatives.

    Trend toward Asian brands increasing in U.S.

    Even more U.S. new car buyers are leaning toward purchasing Asian-branded vehicles than ever before, says a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. A survey of nearly 30,000 new-car buyers showed 58 percent of those considering both American and Asian new cars chose those from Asia, up from 55 percent a year earlier. Only 40 percent of potential buyers looking at vehicles from both regions chose American, down from 43 percent. Tom Gauer, senior director of the study, acknowledged in a story in Automotive News that while “domestics have done an amazing job” of improving quality, “the ability to change the public’s perception is something that takes a long time to do.”

    Chrysler coming on board with electric vehicles

    Chrysler’s announcement that it will sell one of three electric vehicles it will produce by 2010 is said to put the automaker on pace with General Motors and its Chevrolet Volt, also due in 2010. Chrysler also said it will produce electric versions of the Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler Town & Country and a “Peapod” vehicle based on the GEM car. It did not say which of the three vehicles it would produce by 2010.

    Pet safety advocate heads for auto shows

    It all started when Christina Selter, who was driving down a San Diego street where she lives, was forced to brake hard. When that happened, her dog Betty, a Boston Terrier, was knocked off her feet, skidding across the floor of her vehicle and into the back of the passenger seat.

    While Betty was not seriously injured, the experience got her owner thinking.

    Selter, who was already running, a pet-oriented Web site, quickly unveiled as the launching pad for a nationwide campaign on pet travel safety.

    One of the first stops on what has become a growing and emotionally rewarding venture was last season’s San Diego International Auto Show.

    And at opening day of the New York International Auto Show, Bark Buckle UP gave away $20,000 in pet travel and safety products, a model that Selter says was repeated at this year’s Orange County Auto Show in Anaheim and will be at other shows as she crisscrosses the country this season.

    Last year Selter ran the “Pet Safe Vehicle of Choice,” a no-cost to the manufacturer honors program that ultimately resulted in Volvo Cars endorsing Bark Buckle UP (its XC90 took top honors).

    Bark Buckle UP founder Christina Selter is frequently on hand at auto show events (the pet safety organization has been invited to all Motor Trend Auto Shows this season). Here she and furry friends Betty and Princess are with Carl Bjerke, Battalion Chief of the Santa Monica Fire Department in last year's "Pet Safe Vehicle of Choice," the Volvo XC90.

    This year, at least six manufacturers have already expressed interest in competing for the Pet Safe Vehicle of Choice, the winner of which will be announced at the Chicago Auto Show in February.

    Selter will again tour the country in support of pet safety, likely exceeding the 20 cities in 12 weeks she did this past year.

    Each stop, for which Bark Buckle UP is compensated, includes pre-shipment of pet safety products that are presented to consumers. “We like to have people bring a picture of their pet to the stop,” notes Selter. “This helps us select the right product for their particular breed.”

    If the reaction to last year’s tour is any indication, concern for pet safety is a timely issue.

    Selter points to statistics showing that travel with pets went up 300 percent between 2005 and 2007, with fewer than 2 percent of pet owners restraining their pets while driving.

    “Anything that increases that fast is bound to have an impact,” says Selter, who uses the Bark Buckle UP Web site as a showcase for products that meet high standards for pet safety.

    “Equipment manufacturers first send in their products, which we evaluate,” she says. “If they meet our standards, we allow them to advertise.”

    Part of the educational effort includes helping pet owners choose the right restraining device for their particular breed.

    “There is no one size or style fits all,” says Selter. “You wouldn’t, for example, put a harness on a dachshund or wiener dog. It would break its back in an accident.”

    Selter is also working closely with first responders, whose experience at the scene of an accident includes sometimes having to deal with an injured or aggressive pet. “If that happens, they have to call animal control and wait. Or if they open the door and the pet runs out, it might cause a second accident, with additional injuries.”

    More information on the pet safety program is available at

    Toyota to show natural gas-hybrid concept at LA

    Toyota plans to display a CNG (compressed natural gas) hybrid version of the Camry at the LA Auto Show in November. The announcement was made at a Sustainable Mobility Seminar hosted by the automaker in September. While CNG refueling stations are rare - only about 1,000 exist across the U.S. - Toyota says the vehicle highlights the growing emergence of natural gas as a domestic energy source that’s in abundant supply. While Toyota has built a CNG-fueled Camry as recently as 1999 (for which there was little consumer interest) and Honda has built Civics running on CNG for years, the thought is that adding the hybrid-electric drive may boost interest.

    Revamped Toyota test drive event revs up

    A complete refresh of Toyota’s popular 4x4 showcase event - formerly known as the Toyota Off Road On Site Adventure - is heading to nine venues belonging to the Auto Shows of North America circuit.

    The new program, “Toyota Behind the Wheel Adventure,” made its 2008-2009 debut in Anaheim at the Orange County Auto Show (Oct. 2-5), says Mark Ruvelson, executive producer of the event, which the George P. Johnson Co. is producing on behalf of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

    The new event will also be featured at: Sacramento International Auto Show, Alabama International Auto Show, Central Florida International Auto Show, San Diego International Auto Show, Silicon Valley International Auto Show, Saint Louis International Auto Show, Dallas Auto Show and Cleveland Auto Show.

    Toyota has come up with a new name for its Ride and Drive - now it's the Behind the Wheel Adventure. The Orange County Auto Show was one of its first appearances this season..
    “Returning guests will notice the changes right away,” says Ruvelson. “While the theme has changed, the core draw remains the same: guests get behind the wheel and test drive a Toyota 4x4 on a challenging off road course built with hundreds of tons of dirt and rock.”

    The off road test track is filled with a number of challenging obstacles, including large moguls, steep berms, big hill, tunnel and teeter totter. “The always popular extreme breakaway leg is back and highlights the rugged off road capabilities of the FJ Cruiser,” says Ruvelson.

    While vehicle mix will vary by market, the four possible off road vehicles that will be used include the Toyota Tundra, Tacoma, FJ Cruiser and Sequoia. In certain markets an autocross course will be set up in addition to the off road course - in those cases the Toyota Venza, Camry SE and Matrix would be among the vehicles featured.

    Toyota’s test drive event debuted three years ago and was an instant success. Since then, some 92,000 show goers have participated. For more information, please visit

    NA auto show delegation visits Paris Motor Show

    Six North American auto show executives visited the 2008 Paris Mondial de l’Automobile earlier this month. The group met with manufacturers, attended press conferences and industry receptions, and visited with Thierry Hesse, director general of the Paris Motor Show.

    Hesse welcomed the group into his office and said he was pleased by the interest of the delegation, saying he is fortunate to have many American friends. He also acknowledged the importance of auto shows around the world, and the positive role they play in the economy.

    The meeting was attended by Steve Smith, San Jose International Auto Show; Dean Mansfield, San Diego International Auto Show; Greg Remensperger, Portland International Auto Show; Don Hansen, Milwaukee International Auto Show; Bill and Mary Jo Abraham, Minneapolis International Auto Show; and Tom Tonks and Dongi Pranaitis, Canadian International Auto Show.

    The Paris Motor Show, one of the most important industry events in the world, broke a new attendance record this year with 1,432,972 visitors. The show welcomed more than 13,000 journalists from 92 countries, and hosted more than 90 new product unveilings.

    Above, from left to right, Bill Abraham, Don Hansen, Mary Jo Abraham, Thierry Hesse, Greg Remensperger, Dongi Pranaitis, Dean Mansfield, Tom Tonks and Steve Smith.

    Below, the NA delegation also met with Guohua He (below, center) executive vice president of Brilliance Auto, a Chinese manufacturer which plans on marketing its vehicles in the United States beginning with Detroit’s 2009 North American International Auto Show.

    Comings and Goings

    Martha Cusimano
    Martha Cusimano, the ATAE responsible for the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association (and, of course, the Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show), is retiring at the end of 2008. Tom Kwiatek, who previously ran a local management consulting business, takes over the helm Jan. 1.
    Tom Kwiatek
    Grace Morgan, who spent 10 years working on the agency side of the auto show business before moving to Hyundai two and one half years ago, is no longer involved in auto shows. Her new position is manager of dealer marketing and resource management.
    Chuck Cyrill, who had handled media relations for the Greater Cleveland Auto Dealers Association and the Cleveland Auto Show, is now director of public affairs for the National Automobile Dealers Association.

    Anaheim: Entertainment counters soft market; ride and drives grow

    With a market that was 26 percent down from a sales perspective, John Sackrison had time to counter what could have been a major impact on the Orange County Auto Show, the unofficial opener of the 2008-2009 auto show season.

    A new Motor Trend Auto Show feature is the Green Trail, an innovative way for the show producer to help show goers find eco-friendly products throughout the venue.

    As it was, the show - held October 2-5, 2008 - which Sackrison co-directs along with Todd Leutheuser of the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association, was just 8 percent off last year’s attendance.

    “We beat the market,” notes Sackrison, executive director of the Orange County Auto Dealers Association.

    What did go up - by a dramatic 185 percent - were e-ticket sales, something Sackrison says is attributable to a combination of convenience and database growth.

    “There’s no waiting in line at the box office,” he says. “But another reason for the growth is the amount of time and effort we’ve spent in developing our database.”

    That comes at least in part from the magazine subscription promotion introduced by show producer Motor Trend, which offers a one-year subscription to its flagship magazine.

    In a move designed to counter a weak economy, the OC Auto Show brought entertainment to the show floor--a concert by Sugar Ray.

    Motor Trend also brought its Green Trail concept to the OC Auto Show, an idea that includes flagging eco-friendly vehicles throughout automakers’ displays. Show goers get a customized map where they can find the latest technologies and future products designed to save on fuel.

    “It’s something that’s becoming more and more important,” says Sackrison. “The Green Trail was a concept that was a big hit with media as well as consumers.’

    Sackrison also points to a very successful “First Look for Charity” preview event that raised $60,000 for Children’s Hospital of Orange County, double the amount raised last year.

    In an effort to counter an obvious market slowdown, organizers concentrated on bringing additional entertainment to the show, among them a concert by Sugar Ray, which was brought to the main show floor and included as part of the auto show admission price.

    The show also included the OC Auto Show Pageant, the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Model Search, and a return of Auto Show Underground, sponsored by Al & Ed’s Autosound.

    Among the “underground” features was a large selection of tricked-out vehicles from various music and sports celebrities, courtesy of DUB Magazine.

    DUB magazine featured several customized vehicles at their display as part of the OC Auto Show.

    The OC show also invited representatives from Bark Buckle UP (see item in this issue of “The Auto Show Report”), whose mission is to help pet owners keep their four-legged friends safe while motoring.

    Finally, Sackrison pointed to ride and drive programs sponsored by Toyota, Hyundai, Mazda and Chrysler as being very well received.

    Chrysler in particular, although a latecomer in the schedule, found its expectations tripled or even quadrupled.

    “By the second day, they’d already achieved the number of consumer rides they had anticipated,” says Sackrison. “And Saturday and Sunday were gangbusters.”

    As Sackrison notes, the process of getting consumers into vehicles is an important one.

    “This is typically the fifth or sixth step in the car buying process. When they’ve got great products, they sell themselves. And we’ve already received very positive feedback from dealerships. In this market, leads like these are highly valued. The sales teams at the dealerships jump at them.”

    Profile: Orange County Auto Show

    Oct. 2-5, 2008

    Next show:
    Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2009

    Anaheim Convention Center

    Exhibit Space:
    665,000 square feet

    Adults (13 plus), $10; Seniors (62 plus), $6; Children (7-12), $5; under 6, free

    Show Hours:
    Wed.: 4 pm-10 pm; Thurs.-Fri.: 10 am-10 pm; Sat.: 9 am-10 pm; Sun.: 9 am-7 pm

    Produced by:
    Motor Trend Auto Shows

    Show Contacts:
    Todd Leutheuser, ATAE, 562.595.4326

    John Sackrison, ATAE, 714.424.6090

    Show Web site:

    Cleveland: Plenty of space and free parking

    With an impressive 1.5 million square feet of exhibit space, the Cleveland Auto Show, held at the I-X Center, is one big event.

    Hours and hours of media coverage gave Cleveland area residents an extra push to get themselves down to the auto show.

    “It makes us the largest show in North America,” says Gary Adams, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, which runs the event.

    With a recent boost in space that took the I-X Center from over one million square feet to its current size, Adams and his show organizers were in an expansive mood.

    “While we were able to expand the motorcycle and RV displays, more importantly we were able to dramatically expand our ride and drive offerings,” says Adams, specifically mentioning those by Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Kia and Toyota.

    While the ride and drive programs are hardly new, the additional space gave Adams the impetus to put more emphasis on marketing. He’s also become even more enthusiastic about the potential the test drive format represents.

    “We think it’s a natural extension to all auto shows,” says Adams. “If you look back to the 1900s, auto shows were entertainment venues, with promoters bringing in big bands--that was what attracted the crowds and people got to look at the cars. Now the cars are central; people get to sit in them and touch them, and the ride and drive gives them the opportunity to actually test drive the vehicle.”

    Camp Jeep made another great impression at the Cleveland Auto Show.

    And test drive they did.

    “There wasn’t a time when there wasn’t a line,” says Adams.

    Other show highlights included an Automotive Career & Education Day, and Family Day sponsored by Medical Mutual of Ohio, highlighted by a Disney family cruise giveaway.

    Also featured: a NASCAR Day, with appearances by Sam Hornish Jr. (Dodge), Travis Kvapil and Matt Kenseth (Ford), Johnny Benson (Toyota), and Regan Smith (Chevrolet).

    Football enthusiasts enjoyed Browns’ Night and Ohio State University’s Buckeyes’ Football Night, featuring future NFL stars Vernon Gholston and Kirk Barton as well as 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith.

    The auto show also held its 10th Annual Classic Car Show Awards presentation.

    Yes, this is how someone reacts when they've just won a Dodge Nitro at the Cleveland Auto Show (Cynthia Smith of Fairview Park).

    Also highlighting the show was the 9th annual “Night of Lights” Charity Gala Preview Fundraiser that has raised more than $250,000 for three organizations: the Western Reserve Historical Society, Epilepsy Association, and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

    That same day marked the Harvest for Hunger/Dealership Employee Appreciation Night food drive and the airing of “Auto Show ’08” on WEWS NewsChannel 5, the local ABC affiliate.

    As Adams explains, the program was one of several that helped generate interest in the auto show.

    “We had some 36.5 hours of broadcast programming from the auto show,” he notes.

    More to the point, the auto show represents a significant opportunity for area dealers who see show goers as buyers-in-waiting.

    “Our exit surveys tell us that roughly 40-50 percent of attendees are going to be in the market for a vehicle in the next 12 months,” notes Adams, who adds that organizers continue to do what they can to cater to that audience.

    One way, he says, is by continuing to provide complimentary parking.

    “When people walk into the door, they’re in a better mood if they don’t have to pay for parking. Otherwise, it makes for an expensive day.”

    The economy might be a little weaker than auto dealers might wish for, but crowds are still on hand at auto shows, looking for the latest and greatest vehicles.

    It’s that kind of thinking that has Adams already gearing up for the next show, Feb. 28-March 8, 2009.

    “Dealers are going to need every boost they can get to help market their product,” he adds. “This next show, which is our 35th, could be the most important one we do for the business itself.”

    Profile: Cleveland Auto Show

    Feb. 23-Mar. 2, 2008

    Next show:
    Feb. 28-March 8, 2009

    I-X Center

    Exhibit Space:
    1.5 million square feet

    Adults, $11.50; Seniors (62 plus)/pre-teens, $9, Children under 6 free. Weekday special seniors (M-F, noon to 5 pm), $8.50, free parking.

    Show Hours:
    Friday and Saturdays: 11 am-11 pm; Sundays: 11 am-8 pm; Monday-Thursday: noon-10 pm

    Produced by:
    Greater Cleveland Auto Dealers' Association

    Show Contact:
    Gary Adams
    President, Greater Cleveland Auto Dealers' Association

    Show Web site:

    Greenville: Safe driving focus, green vehicles draw crowds

    With a slew of car accidents involving student drivers in the months leading up to the South Carolina International Auto Show, ATAE Patrick Watson and his dealer members at the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association looked to Motor Trend Auto Shows for help.

    All eyes are on this beauty at the South Carolina International Auto Show.

    The result was a focus on safe driving tips at the event, held Jan. 11-14, 2008.

    “We had a number of initiatives to help with that theme,” notes Lauren Holzman, Motor Trend’s vice president of public relations. “They included the distribution of a ‘safe driving pledge’ and tips on how to become a safer, better driver.”

    A section of the show floor was set aside for the safe driver initiative, something Holzman says positioned the show well in the community.

    With high fuel prices now a fact of life, it also made sense for the auto show to help those in the market for a new vehicle to broaden their choice. That came in the form of the Green Trail, a way the show was able to organize the alternative fuel vehicles on display at the show.

    Chevy's new Camaro was always a popular attraction on last season's auto show circuit.

    “We had them clearly marked on the floor,” notes Holzman. “Guests were also given a map that had those vehicles highlighted and we had stickers on the carpet as well.”

    Those attending the show also got to see the results of a newly renovated Carolina First Center (formerly the Palmetto Expo Center).

    The $22 million project now features 315,000 square feet of exhibit space.

    “Having what amounts to a new facility is always a highlight for auto show attendees,” says Holzman. “They get to see a refreshed convention center and people are always interested in seeing something new.”

    Additional highlights at the show included the Ride and Drive “Chevrolet Experience” which featured the Malibu, Silverado and Impala vehicles.

    The vehicle doesn't have to be a new one to be of interest to auto show attendees.

    A number of exotics from Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin were also on hand, courtesy of Foreign Cars Italia, a local dealership.

    Show goers were also able to take a trip down memory lane, thanks to a special collection of street rods and muscle cars made possible by Lowcountry Street Rodders of Charleston.

    There was also a customized vehicle display with the latest aftermarket parts and accessories, courtesy of Team Mean Street.

    Motor Trend also continued with a special one-year free subscription offer to its flagship magazine, courtesy of the dealership organization.

    Profile: South Carolina International Auto Show

    Jan. 11-14, 2008

    Next show:
    Jan. 16-18, 2009

    Carolina First Center

    Exhibit Space:
    218,000 square feet

    Adults (13 and over), $8; Seniors (62 and over), $5; Children (7 to 12), $4; Children (6 and under, Free

    Show Hours:
    Fri.-Sat. 10 am-10 pm; Sun.-Mon. 10 am-6 pm.

    Produced by:
    Motor Trend Auto Shows

    Show Contact:
    Shannon Packard
    Motor Trend Auto Shows

    Show Web site:

    Las Vegas: On Black Friday, out come the car shoppers

    How do you get people to an auto show that happens to be in a city like Las Vegas?

    The Ford Ride and Drive brought exactly what the automaker hoped for: crowds eager to test drive their latest offerings.

    If you’re Lauren Holzman, representing Motor Trend Auto Shows (and more particularly the Motor Trend International Auto Show - Las Vegas), it’s a matter of taking what you’ve got and working with it.

    “To start with, this is a 24-hour town,” says Holzman, Motor Trend vice president of public relations. “We took a different look at things and decided to open an hour earlier but close earlier as well, knowing it’s pretty quiet at night.”

    Another challenge? Dealing with the American Thanksgiving weekend - and, of course, “Black Friday,” purported to be the biggest shopping day of the year, as retailers gear up for Christmas.

    “Our media pitch was ‘on the biggest shopping day of the year, come window shop at the auto show,’” says Holzman. “It worked. The show has great attendance on Friday and we promote it as an alternative to the craziness of the malls - especially for the guys. The idea was to find a way to become part of the news that is being covered.”

    Increasingly, prospective buyers are eyeing what automakers have to offer in the area of hybrids.

    And getting people shopping at the auto show didn’t seem to be a problem, either, at least not as far as events such as the Ford Challenge Ride & Drive was concerned, the automaker bringing its F150, Mustang, SuperDuty, Edge, Taurus and Fusion models to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

    Also drawing crowds (who, after all, can likely handle only so much turkey anyway) was Toyota’s Highway to the Future: Mobile Hybrid Experience, located in the automaker’s display area. Among its features: the Prius Experience driving simulators which allows show goers to experience how Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system performs.

    This is the town where Motor Trend first launched its program that offers a free subscription to its flagship publication, something Holzman says caught on like proverbial wildfire.

    “We tested this at the Vegas show and it was so successful we did it at almost all the rest of the shows in the ’08 season and all shows will do it in ’09.”

    Like other shows are expected to do, Las Vegas leveraged the subscription promotion to enhance its e-ticket strategy, the result being stronger online sales.

    Regardless of the market, shows like that at Las Vegas, create an ideal shopping environment for motorists. Maybe not the most fuel efficient, but they do create their own brand of energy.

    Profile: Motor Trend International Auto Show - Las Vegas

    Nov. 23-25, 2007

    Next Show:
    Nov. 28-30, 2008

    Las Vegas Convention Center

    Exhibit Space:
    300,000 square feet

    Adults (13 and over), $8; Seniors (62 and over), $5; Military (Active with ID), $4; Children (7 to 12), $4; Children (6 and under, Free

    Show Hours:
    9 am-7 pm

    Produced by:
    Motor Trend Auto Shows

    Show Contact:
    Lauren Holzman
    Motor Trend Auto Shows

    Show Web site:

    Providence: Show teams up with college students in unique program

    A combination of more concepts than might otherwise be expected and an interesting twist related to the Motor Trend “College Two-Fer” program made the Northeast International Auto Show in Providence, Rhode Island, a special one for ATAE Jack Perkins this past season.

    The familiar yellow lined lanes of Motor Trend included motorcycles at the Northeast International Auto Show.

    The show, held Jan. 24-27, 2008, featured more exhibitors and brought in about the same number of people than a year earlier, says Perkins, head of the Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association, who credits his members for a bump in the number of concept cars at the show.

    “I think they were fairly persistent in requesting them,” he says. “When there is more than one show going on at once, there’s competition for the concepts so it makes it more difficult for us.”

    Lauren Holzman, vice president of public relations efforts for Motor Trend Auto Shows, which produces the event, says one traditional promotional effort--the College Two-Fer (two students share one ticket for admission)--got an unexpected boost.

    Ford's display of vehicles included the automaker's Flex (background left).

    “We work with all the local colleges where there is an auto show,” says Holzman. But when we approached Johnson and Wales University, the event marketing students really jumped at the chance to participate. They asked if we could use interns at the show and it just made a lot of sense to have them pitch in.”

    Holzman says the idea took off from there.

    “They got to see first hand how we promote a show that’s only going to be in town for a few days, connecting with media and pitching story ideas,” she says. “They also helped out with faxing media alerts; they were a big help.”

    But it got even better, says Holzman.

    “They knew we were interested in expanding our relationship with colleges, so when we asked how we could do that, they got involved with the marketing of the show, using some of the tools they use to communicate to their fellow students.”

    Regardless of the view, show goers at the Northeast International Auto Show got a unique perspective on new vehicles.

    Those included communicating online and with the flyers college students seem to love.

    “It really worked out quite well,” says Holzman.

    Jack Perkins says additional features, such as the traditional Kid’s Day (on the Sunday of the show), continued to help drive attendance, steady over the previous year.

    Show goers could also print a $2 off coupon from the dealer association Web site.

    “It was a show that worked out very well for us,” says Perkins.

    Profile: Northeast International Auto Show

    Jan. 24-27, 2008

    Next year:
    Jan. 8-11, 2009

    Rhode Island Convention Center

    Exhibit Space:
    140,000 square feet

    Adults, $9; Seniors, $6; Children (7-12) $4 (six and under free)

    Show Hours:
    Thurs.-Fri. 12 noon-10 pm; Sat. 10 am-10 pm; Sun. 10 am-6 pm

    Produced by:
    Motor Trend Auto Shows

    Show Contact:
    Jack Perkins, ATAE
    Executive Vice President, Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association
    Jack, 401.732.6870

    Show Web site:

    Discount Coupons:
    $1 off online weekday adult admission coupon.

    Vancouver: Vintage cars help drive interests

    Paul McGeachie admits he was surprised by the positive attention the Vancouver International Auto Show received with a new feature launched this past year.

    British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell opened this past season's Vancouver International Auto Show.

    The show, held March 29-April 6, 2008, included an invitation to British Columbia’s three collector car shows to bring one car each to Canada’s most westerly auto show.

    “The media loved it,” says McGeachie, general manager of the show.

    In setting up the competition, the “rules” were clear.

    “We told the folks at the collector car shows - Port Coquitlam, Gastown Steamworks, and the Langley Cruise In - ‘bring one car each. That will be your ambassador car.’”

    With show goers voting the “Best of the Best,” McGeachie told each of the collector car shows they “would have to be okay with the public’s choice.”

    The result was a very positive experience, he says.

    Paul McGeachie

    “Everyone had a great time. The clubs were surprised but pleasantly so,” adds McGeachie, who says plans are underway for a repeat performance. “The cars will change every year, but we’ve got the bugs worked out for the event.”

    When it comes to promoting its event, Vancouver is not alone among auto show cities in not being certain as to what concept vehicles will be on the floor.

    McGeachie has sidestepped that in his promotions by commissioning a student poster competition, offering a $1,000 honorarium as well as smaller prizes for work produced.

    The awards program, which is open to second-year applied design students at Capilano College, generates at least two dozen entries.

    One lucky auto show attendee was Ron Meys, pictured with his brand new Toyota Corolla.

    Other highlights of this year’s Vancouver show included the awarding of a grand prize - a 2009 Toyota Corolla XRS6 featuring customized accessories from Toyota Racing Development.

    Other contests included an annual Driving Adventure prize, featuring a $9,000 VIP Porsche Driving Experience one-day classroom and course session at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.

    And one of the local tourism associations got involved in offering a celebrations package to auto show attendees.

    McGeachie credits Vancouver-area media for helping successfully promote the show.

    “We have a very diverse cultural mix in Vancouver, which is something that’s important to our show,” he notes. “We were impressed with how the ethnic media work well together.”

    McGeachie is also looking ahead to a substantial renovation of the host B.C. Place facility that will include replacing the air-supported roof with one that retracts.

    “Just eliminating the air locks is going to make a big difference to our move in and move out times,” he notes, adding that the Vancouver show will be the first to use the revamped facility in 2011, a year after the area hosts the Winter Olympics.

    “There’s an excitement returning back to the downtown core.”

    A very popular "Best of the Best'" classic car showcase brought vintage vehicles from various clubs
    in British Columbia to the Vancouver International Auto Show.

    Profile: Vancouver International Auto Show

    Mar. 29-April 6, 2008

    Next show:
    Mar. 31-April 5, 2009

    BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia

    Exhibit Space:
    250,000 square feet (approximate)

    Adults, $12; Seniors/students, $10; Children 7-12 (accompanied by adult), $4; under 6 free; Family (2 adults, unlimited children 12 and under), $28; Multi-day pass, $17.

    Show Hours:
    Opening Friday, 3 pm-10 pm; Saturdays, 10 am-10 pm; Sundays, 10 am-6 pm; Mon.-Fri., 3 pm-10 pm

    Produced by:
    New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

    Show Contact:
    Paul McGeachie, ATAE
    General Manager
    New Car Dealers Association of B.C., 604.214.9964, ext. 303

    Show Web site:

    Auto Shows of North America Show Directory

    Albany Auto Show
    4/3/2009 - 4/5/2009

    Empire State Plaza Auto Show
    11/7/2008 - 11/9/2008

    New Mexico International Auto Show
    4/17/2009 - 4/19/2009

    Orange County Auto Show
    10/29/2009 - 11/1/2009

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution International Auto Show
    3/14/2009 - 3/22/2009

    Austin American Statesman Auto Show
    4/17/2009 - 4/19/2009

    Baltimore International Auto Show
    2/5/2009 - 2/8/2009

    Bethlehem, PA
    Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show
    3/26/2009 - 3/29/2009

    Alabama International Auto Show
    11/13/2008 - 11/16/2008

    New England International Auto Show
    12/3/2008 - 12/7/2008

    Buffalo Auto Show
    2/4/2009 - 2/8/2009

    Calgary International Auto & Truck Show
    3/11/2009 - 3/15/2009

    West Virginia International Auto Show
    1/16/2009 - 1/18/2009

    Charlotte International Auto Show
    11/20/2008 - 11/23/2008

    Chicago Auto Show
    2/13/2009 - 2/22/2009

    Cincinnati Auto Expo
    2/19/2009 - 2/22/2009

    Cleveland Auto Show
    2/21/2009 - 3/1/2009

    Columbus International Auto Show
    3/19/2009 - 3/22/2009

    Dallas Auto Show
    2/18/2009 - 2/22/2009

    Iowa/Illinois Regional Auto Show
    2/6/2009 - 2/8/2009

    Dayton Auto Show
    3/26/2009 - 3/29/2009

    Denver Auto Show
    4/1/2009 - 4/5/2009

    North American International Auto Show
    1/17/2009 - 1/25/2009

    Edmonton Motor Show
    3/5/2009 - 3/8/2009

    Fort Worth
    Greater Tarrant County Auto Show
    1/29/2009 - 2/1/2009

    South Carolina International Auto Show
    1/16/2009 - 1/19/2009

    Harrisburg, PA
    Pennsylvania Auto and Boat Show
    1/22/2009 - 1/26/2009

    Connecticut International Auto Show
    11/21/2008 - 11/23/2008

    First Hawaiian International Auto Show
    3/26/2009 - 3/29/2009

    Houston Auto Show
    1/24/2009 - 2/1/2009

    Indianapolis Auto Show
    12/26/2008 - 1/1/2009

    Jackson, MS
    Mississippi International Auto Show
    1/23/2009 - 1/25/2009

    Kansas City
    Greater Kansas City International Auto Show
    3/11/2009 - 3/15/2009

    Las Vegas
    Las Vegas International Auto Show
    11/28/2008 - 11/30/2008

    Los Angeles
    Los Angeles Auto Show
    11/19/2008 - 11/30/2008

    Carl Casper Custom and Louisville New Car Auto Show
    2/20/2009 - 2/22/2009

    South Florida International Auto Show
    11/7/2008 - 11/16/2008

    Greater Milwaukee Auto Show
    2/21/2009 - 3/1/2009

    Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Greater St. Paul & Minneapolis International Auto Show
    3/21/2009 - 3/29/2009

    Montreal International Auto Show
    1/16/2009 - 1/25/2009

    New Orleans
    New Orleans International Auto Show
    3/20/2009 - 3/22/2009

    New York
    New York International Auto Show
    4/10/2009 - 4/19/2009

    Oklahoma City
    Oklahoma City International Auto Show
    3/5/2009 - 3/8/2009

    Midlands International Auto Show
    1/22/2009 - 1/25/2009

    Central Florida International Auto Show
    11/26/2008 - 11/30/2008

    Philadelphia International Auto Show
    1/31/2009 - 2/8/2009

    Arizona International Auto Show
    11/27/2008 - 11/30/2008

    Pittsburgh International Auto Show
    4/17/2008 - 4/21/2008

    Portland International Auto Show
    2/5/2009 - 2/8/2009

    Northeast International Auto Show
    1/8/2009 - 1/11/2009

    Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show
    3/13/2009 - 3/15/2009

    Rochester International Auto Show
    2/25/2009 - 3/1/2009

    Sacramento International Auto Show
    11/6/2008 - 11/9/2008

    Saint Louis
    Saint Louis International Auto Show
    1/28/2009 - 2/1/2009

    Salt Lake City
    Utah International Auto Expo
    1/16/2009 - 1/19/2009

    San Antonio
    San Antonio Auto & Truck Show
    10/2/2008 - 10/5/2008

    San Diego
    San Diego International Auto Show
    12/31/2008 - 1/4/2009

    San Jose
    Silicon Valley International Auto Show
    1/8/2009 - 1/11/2009

    Seattle International Auto Show
    11/5/2008 - 11/9/2008

    Spokane International Auto Show
    2/13/2009 - 2/15/2009

    Tampa Bay International Auto Show
    11/6/2008 - 11/9/2008

    Greater Toledo Auto Show
    1/22/2009 - 1/25/2009

    Canadian International Auto Show
    2/13/2009 - 2/22/2009

    Vancouver International Auto Show
    3/28/2009 - 4/5/2009

    Washington Auto Show
    2/4/2009 - 2/8/2009


    Automotive Trade Association Executives
    8400 Westpark Drive
    McLean, VA 22102
    703.556.8581 - fax

    Kevin Mazzucola, ATAE President

    Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director

    ASNA Focus Group Steering Committee
    Mike Gempp, Philadelphia International Auto Show
    Holly Riedel, Greater Milwaukee Auto Show
    John Sackrison, Orange County Auto Show
    Shayne Wilson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution International Auto Show

    The Auto Show Report
    Joe Rohatynski, senior editor

    J.D. Booth, editor

  • ASNA Partners

    ASNA Manufacturing Partners