ASNA Logo Volume 7, Issue 1 - December 5, 2008
Image Collage

the Auto Show Report
A compilation of news and developments for and about Auto Shows of North America. To find out more, visit www.asna-atae.com

Contents:

Industry News
  • VW Jetta TDI gets Green Car honors
  • Detroit dealers lobby Nissan
  • NADA creates 'Best Time to Buy' ad series
  • Leading agency gets name change
  • Ford reduces stake in Mazda to below controlling interest
  • New auto show book hits the stands
  • Get in and drive; auto show Ride & Drives put seats in seats
  • Tough times call for creative measures
  • NAIAS unveils partial intro list
  • Comings and Goings

    Show Profiles

  • Albany: 'Overwhelming' crowds at Empire State Plaza show
  • Sacramento: Ride and Drives add to the excitement
  • Seattle: Ticket giveaways, early marketing . . . it all worked
  • Tampa Bay: E-ticket success gives show marketing momentum

    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.



    VW Jetta TDI gets Green Car honors

    Volkswagen's Jetta, equipped with the automaker's TDI diesel engine, is the "Green Car of the Year," beating out the BMW 335d (another diesel) as well as a hybrid version of the Ford Fusion, the Saturn Vue two-mode hybrid and the Smart Fortwo subcompact. The awards, developed by the Green Car Journal, were revealed at the LA Auto Show last week. Editor and Publisher Ron Cogan said the future of the auto industry depends on having the high-mileage vehicles that consumers demand. "It's no longer an option for carmakers to build these cars," he said. "It's an imperative." The new Jetta TDI hits 41 miles per gallon on the highway and 30 mpg in the city, according to EPA testing.

    "Green Car of the Year": VW's Jetta TDI.





    Detroit dealers lobby Nissan

    Nissan Motor Co., which at one point cited cost cutting as reason for pulling the plug on its participation at auto shows in Chicago and Detroit (later coming to an agreement with its Chicagoland dealers to stay put), is now being urged to reconsider its position at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The request is coming from the 10 Nissan and Infiniti dealers in the Motor City selling region who have expressed willingness to share some of the cost burden.

    Nissan's Cube, introduced at this year's LA Auto Show.

    NAIAS co-chair Doug Fox (a Nissan dealer), says one possibility would be for dealers to provide vehicles and staff the show. The concern among dealers is that vacating the Detroit show might prove harmful in the long term, given the fact that space at Cobo Center is at a premium.

    "Once you vacate it, you run a high risk that it will be gobbled up fast," said Joe Serra, NAIAS senior co-chair (another area Nissan dealer), quoted in The Detroit News.

    Rod Alberts, executive director of Detroit's NAIAS, while acknowledging the extremely difficult economic times, said maintaining perspective is also important.

    "Every automaker is being pressured to cut costs," he said. “It’s a difficult time, but this situation won’t last… and we’ll get through it.”

    Rod Alberts

    Alberts says some 25 press conferences are scheduled for NAIAS 2009, to announce more than 45 planned new vehicle intros.

    “Maintaining a presence at auto shows – the industry’s most focused marketing environment – is going to be critical to the recovery we all know will eventually occur,” added Alberts.

    “We need to be extremely responsive to automaker concerns, providing innovative opportunities to help make that happen."

    Alberts said Nissan’s decision to stay in the Chicago Auto Show is a positive move that, ultimately, will be good for shows around the country.




    NADA creates 'Best Time to Buy' ad series

    The National Automobile Dealers Association has created a series of advertisements designed to encourage potential buyers to get off the fence. The campaign, "The Best Time to Buy," includes print and broadcast spots (radio and television) that can be downloaded for use. According to the NADA, numerous media outlets have already agreed to publish or air the ads free of charge as a means of helping the automotive industry get out of the current slump. The TV and radio public service announcements were distributed to all of the 10,000 radio and 4,500 television stations in the country; to date, the TV spots are running in 60 markets (including across several Time Warner, Comcast and Cox cable networks), and the radio ads in 60 markets. Print ads have been sent to every newspaper in the country and are running in 45 markets.




    Leading agency gets name change

    Among the events handled by C4 Communications was a series of launch events for the new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, including this one which used the London Bridge as a backdrop.

    The people, the office, and the clients are the same. But the agency once known as Clear!Blue is now C4 Communications, the result of a court action launched in North Carolina. "The four Cs - creativity, content, conversation and connection - are key ingredients to provide the spark needed for effective communication - or as we see it, explosive communication," says President Mike Rosenau. C4 Communications' heritage includes production of some of the industry's most spectacular media events for clients such as Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors. One of the company's most memorable events was an authentic cattle drive in the streets of Detroit for the 2008 North American International Auto Show, in which the all-new Dodge Ram pickup was "separated from the herd" of competitive makes. In a recent General Motors press event held in London, England, C4 dropped a new Opel Insignia 137 feet on a wire at an alarming rate of 27.1 feet per second and landed it safely on the ground. C4, on the Web at www.c-4communications.com, continues to provide a full suite of event and communications services to international automotive and non-automotive clients.




    Ford reduces stake in Mazda to below controlling interest

    Even as it reduces its once-controlling stake in Mazda as a means of generating much-needed cash, Ford Motor Company says the partnership that has involved sharing platforms and powertrains will continue. Indeed, Ford, with 13 percent ownership in Mazda, remains its largest shareholder. The sale of shares in Mazda generated $450 million for Ford.




    New auto show book hits the stands

    (Courtesy of Momentum Books)

    "Sirens of Chrome, the Enduring Allure of Auto Show Models" is a visual joyride through auto show history. Written by Margery Krevsky, president and CEO of Productions Plus, a talent agency with its footprint in auto shows across the continent, the new book includes dozens of photographs, programs and posters culled from libraries, corporate files, and auto enthusiast portfolios capturing decades of hot vehicles and torrid models.

    "The allure of beautiful people has played an enchanting role at auto shows in the USA for more than 100 years," says Krevsky. "Automakers and marketers have painted posters, erected statues, and chrome figureheads long before they commissioned human beings to dazzle the audience. Perched high on the altars to autos, they add drama, product knowledge and a little swing to the shows."

    Margery Krevsky
    (Steve Ragland photo)

    Today on the North American auto show scene, "models" have been replaced by presenters and product specialists - bright, attractive, highly trained and knowledgeable women and men whose job it is to talk cars, engage consumers, and answer just about any question thrown in their direction.

    Krevsky, who plans public book signings at auto shows this season, can be reached at 248.644.5566.

    Sirens of Chrome, which retails for $24.95, is is available through the publisher, Momentum Books or on Amazon.com and at select Borders and Barnes and Nobles bookstores.




    Get in and drive; auto show Ride & Drives put seats in seats, and consumers in dealerships

    Millions of potential new vehicle buyers will visit auto shows this season as manufacturers partner with dealer associations to put their best on display. And, once again, motorists will be enticed to do more than look - as shows from coast-to-coast host ever-popular Ride & Drive programs.

    A Toyota FJ Cruiser maneuvers through the waterfront course at the San Diego International Auto Show.

    "You can't get any more interactive at an auto show than a Ride & Drive," says Kevin Leap, director, San Diego International Auto Show, which will host Ride & Drive events for Ford, Hyundai and Toyota from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4. "We work closely with manufacturers year round to help get people excited about new vehicles, and Ride & Drives are one of the best ways to inspire people to go from the auto show to the dealership show room."

    At the Sacramento International Auto Show, the Chevy Driving Experience, one of four Ride & Drives (Hyundai, Toyota and the California Green Initiative were the others), was successful at introducing consumers to some 14 different models, including the new Corvette and Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell hydrogen-powered concept vehicle.

    "We had a steady flow of consumers - more than 900 registered - who drove Chevy products," says Geff Phillips, vice president, Gail & Rice, which produced the Chevy Driving Experience in association with GM R*Works and General Motors. Phillips, whose product specialists accompanied drivers to demonstrate vehicle features and answer questions, says Ride & Drive enthusiasts get fired up about the experience.

    A participant enters the Chevy Driving Experience at the Sacramento International Auto Show.

    "This is great!" said one participant, from behind the wheel of the 430-hp Corvette convertible. "You guys need to do this every year. I've driven almost every Chevy here and I haven't even been inside the show yet."

    Manufacturers acknowledge that while consumers use the Ride & Drive experience to help decide which vehicle is right for them, it also helps spike traffic at local dealerships.

    "Auto shows are a huge resource for consumers in the buying process," says Hyundai's Monique Morin Kumpis. "The Ride & Drive gives enthusiasts the chance to truly experience our vehicles in a dynamic way and extend the Hyundai brand beyond the auto show floor."

    The Mitsubishi i MiEV tackles New York City traffic (above) and the Southern California countryside (below).
    At last month's LA Auto Show, a fleet of hybrids, alternative fuel vehicles and electric vehicles were available for a Ride & Drive produced specially for credentialed media. Among the offerings, clean diesel models from Volkswagen, and the quiet (and quick) Mitsubishi i MiEV plug-in vehicle.

    In the case of Mitsubishi, its media Ride & Drives began at last April's 2008 New York International Auto Show, providing many journalists the opportunity to get behind the wheel (albeit, a right-side wheel) of an i MiEV prototype.

    Mitsubishi Product PR Manager Moe Durand says that opportunity was timely in that it helped lead to greater awareness of the product across North America.

    "Because the i MiEV's New York appearance coincided with the display of the Nissan EV-01 Concept as well as the pure electric version of the Subaru R1, our media Ride & Drive helped to create overall awareness of the unique vehicle, which ultimately lead to the fleet testing program with Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric," says Durand. "Our activities in LA helped further evolve the i MiEV story as vehicles wearing SCE and PG&E graphics commemorated the prototype deliveries to these utility agencies. The fleet testing program will help evaluate the i MiEV in U.S. driving conditions, explore the vehicle's relationship with a major U.S. utility, and, hopefully, help steer a determination about i Miev's viabilty for U.S. consumers."




    Tough times call for creative measures

    In an effort to work with their auto manufacturer partners, auto shows across the country are putting their best foot forward to help reduce costs for exhibiting OEMs. The Chicago Auto Show recently announced a new program which offers free staging, lighting and audio visual services for manufacturer press conferences in the Grand Concourse of McCormick Place. Detroit's North American International Auto Show said it will continue to provide free staging along with lighting and video needs for the OEMs in its Michigan Hall, site of opening ceremonies and the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.



    Jerry Cizek

    "Two things remain constant," says Jerry Cizek, general manager, Chicago Auto Show. "Manufacturers still need to get their messages out, and auto shows are a critically important marketing tool to sell cars and trucks. We want to offer manufacturers the opportunity to use the show to present their news, but more cost-effectively."

    Watch for other efforts dealer associations are taking to help ease the pain, while still producing first class auto shows, in the next issue of ASNA's The Auto Show Report.




    NAIAS unveils partial intro list

    Detroit’s North American International Auto Show today released its partial list of product introductions for the upcoming NAIAS 2009, Jan. 11-25.

    “Showcasing product on a global stage during Press Preview, and then to the Motor City during the public show, is more than a marketing strategy. It’s about the passion and the pride that the product ignites in people around the world, while also recognizing the reality of current budget constraints,” said NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts.

    NAIAS provided the following product intro preview:

    • GM will hold the world debut of three new production vehicles: 2010 Buick LaCrosse; 2010 Cadillac SRX crossover; and 2010 Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV.
    • Ford promises some show-stoppers but is playing coy on details. Executives have teased the media with hints that the models unveiled in Detroit will be the next step in Ford’s future global design direction.
    • Chrysler will hold three world debuts, the details of which have not been released.
    • Audi plans at least two world debuts.
    • Toyota said it will use NAIAS 2009 as the stage to unveil its highly-anticipated next-generation Prius Hybrid. In addition, a new Lexus Hybrid will be unveiled.
    • Honda said it will unveil a Hybrid – the highly anticipated 2010 Honda Insight.
    • Mini will hold the world reveal of its new Cooper convertible.
    • Kia plans the world debut of a new concept vehicle.
    • Volkswagen promises the debut of a green model.
    • Mazda is set to unveil the five-door version of its highly successful Mazda3.
    • Chinese automakers BYD and Brilliance Auto said they plan new model debuts at NAIAS.
    • Bentley plans the world introduction of a new model, details of which are being withheld.
    • BMW said it has major product news for the show.
    • Maserati will show its Grand Turismo S to the world.





    Comings and Goings

    Steve Stanford, who for the last decade has been involved with auto show activities at General Motors, has transferred to the company's Trademark and Licensing Department. A GM veteran since 1980, Stanford most recently was shows & exhibit manager for Cadillac/Saab/Saturn. Stanford is well known and respected on the auto show scene, and has spent his entire career in various promotion, marketing and sales positions with Cadillac. His auto show duties at GM will be shared by colleagues Scott Settlemire, shows & exhibit manager, Chevrolet/Hummer; and Angela Kalatzis, shows & exhibit manager, Buick/Pontiac/GMC.

    Jason Vines

    Is he back? Compuware Corp.'s top spokesman, Jason Vines, has left his position at the Detroit-based software company less than a year after taking the job. A former vice president of communications for Chrysler LLC, Vines joined Compuware in January 2008 as its communications chief and senior vice president. He said he didn't have immediate plans for his next career move or if that entailed a return to the auto industry. "Right now, I'm going to get on a plane and go to Washington," said Vines in a Detroit News article. Vines is one of the organizers of an online rally designed to drum up support for the Detroit Three as they seek bridge loans from Congress.




    Albany: 'Overwhelming' crowds at Empire State Plaza show

    Kim Perrella, show manager of the two separate auto shows in Albany, New York's capital city, admits she was somewhat apprehensive in the weeks prior to the Empire State Plaza Auto Show, held Nov. 7-9, 2008.

    "We just didn't know what was going to happen," says Perrella, one of a handful of staff members at the Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Retailers (headed by ATAE Deborah Dorman). "Certainly we were hoping for the traffic, but we were overwhelmed by the number of actual buyers."

    Kim Perrella

    Perrella, who also manages the Albany Auto Show (upcoming next April 3-5, 2009), says it's too early to tell what impact the economic slowdown may have on that event.

    Still, for a number of reasons, she's obviously delighted with what transpired at the most recent show.

    Besides the free attendance (the show is held on state property), the show got a welcome boost by being in close proximity to the Times Union Ski and Snowboard Expo.

    "We helped each other," says Perrella, referring specifically to a special lift ticket giveaway that was particularly helpful from a cross-attendance perspective. "Having thousands of people in line before we even opened the doors was something to see."



    Another positive factor was the weather - cool and rainy. "That's always something that helps to bring people inside."

    Deborah Dorman

    While special features have never been a part of the Empire State Plaza show (space being the limiting factor for the sold-out event), Perrella continued with a tradition of having walk-around entertainment such as face painters and balloon artists.

    "We also had a mystery shopper contest for staff that were working the show," she adds. Car buyers hired by a contractor were sent out to judge exhibit personnel on a variety of criteria, with cash awards to the day's winners.

    Perrella says the dealer organization is following up with the momentum generated by the auto show with a series of advertisements, developed by the National Automobile Dealers Association and intended to spur local auto sales.

    Profile: Empire State Plaza Auto Show

    Dates:
    Nov. 7-9, 2008

    Next Year:
    Nov. 6-8, 2009

    Place:
    Empire State Plaza

    Exhibit Space:
    Little over 50,000 square feet

    Tickets:
    Free

    Show Hours:
    Fri.: 9 am-9 pm; Sat.: 11 am-7 pm; Sun.: 11 am-6 pm.

    Produced by:
    Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Retailers, Inc.

    Show Contact:
    Kim Perrella, auto show manager
    kperrella@enycar.org, 518.452.0584, ext. 202

    Show Web site:
    www.enycar.org






    Sacramento: Ride and Drives add to the excitement

    Stacey Castle had her own "word of the day" when it came to the Sacramento International Auto Show that she and the staff at the Central Valley New Car Dealers Association produces.

    On display at the Sacramento International Auto Show: Definitely not for the driver who wants to blend in with the environment, unless that environment is in Africa.

    It's "flexible."

    Castle, who runs Castle Communications, Inc., and is the ATAE for the Sacramento area, shares production duties with Sheri Sundahl.

    "We sell the space, lay out the floor, write and design the auto show program, execute the media buy and all the creative for the ad production, plus we handle the public relations," notes Castle.

    And the flexibility part?

    "As you can imagine, this year things were changing just as fast as we could touch them so we decided to make 'flexible' our key word. Trust me, Gumby didn't have anything on us in the flexibility department, but I honestly have to say - this auto show has never looked better."

    The M&M-branded NASCAR vehicle was popular with crowds at the Sacramento International Auto Show.
    As evidence, Castle points to two additional Ride and Drive events this year, one featuring a California Fuel Cell Partnership hydrogen vehicle. Chevrolet also came on board with its Chevy Driving Experience, a line up of vehicles that included a 2009 Corvette.

    Returning to the Sacramento show were Toyota, with its rebranded "Toyota Behind the Wheel Adventure," as well as Hyundai, with its own Ride and Drive attraction.

    Castle said crowds were enthusiastic about the opportunities offered by the manufacturers.

    "It takes an auto show experience to a new level when the consumer can get behind the wheel and drive some of the great automotive products out there."

    Exotics like the Bugatti Veyron were crowd pleasers at the Sacramento International Auto Show this year.

    Other special features included the M&M race car in the Infineon Racetrack display, a $1.6 million Veyron Bugatti in the Silicon Valley Auto Group display, and some very unusual drivable works of curiosity in the Art Cars display.

    One of Castle's biggest changes for this year was to adjust the media buy in the face of an election advertising season.

    "With the election the Tuesday before our show opened, we went out early with a huge outdoor campaign and bombarded with television and radio during election returns and for the rest of the week," she adds. "Amazingly enough I have never had so many people say they saw and heard the ads, so we must have targeted correctly."

    The other massive change was a complete floor plan redesign. "General Motors moved into a cluster of eight buildings to have their own brand alliance and this prompted a complete redrawing of 11 out of my total of 13 buildings," says Castle. "But it's always good to look at the floor with a fresh set of eyes and I think the show looked and flowed better with all the changes."

    Stacey Castle

    Castle also focused on ways to make the Sacramento event more family friendly.

    In addition to the Tyke Trike Track and Toddler Play Area in the Kid's Time Out space, they added an indoor bounce house and a radio-controlled car track for the bigger kids.

    They then moved in additional seating so the parents could take a break and still be able to watch their children as they played.

    Chevrolet's Ride and Drive program was extremely popular with crowds at the Sacramento International Auto Show.

    Castle says with the popularity of the two new Time Out features, there are already plans to repeat them next year. "The parents we spoke to said it was a great place for them to get off their feet and for their little ones to decompress. The more time the families spend at the auto show the better for everyone."

    Despite market conditions, the Sacramento International Auto Show grew again this year to become over 600,000 square feet of inside and outside space. "The auto show is a benefit for the Sacramento area," notes Castle. "This was one of our most challenging years ever, but we came away knowing it was a great success as we actually raised more money for our causes than any previous year. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to make this auto show thrive - and this year we needed an amazing amount of help and we got it."

    Profile: Sacramento International Auto Show

    Date:
    Nov. 6-9, 2008

    Next year:
    Nov. 12-15, 2009

    Place:
    Cal Expo, Sacramento

    Exhibit Space:
    500,000 square feet

    Tickets:
    $9 adults, children 12 and under free

    Show Hours:
    Thurs & Fri: 11 am-9 pm
    Sat: 11 am-8 pm
    Sun: 11 am-6 pm

    Produced by:
    Central Valley New Car Dealers Association

    Show Contact:
    Stacey Castle, ATAE
    Executive Director, CVNCDA
    Stacey@castlecommunications.net
    916.635.2728

    Show Web site:
    www.sacautoshow.com

    Discount Coupons:
    $2 off coupon available at dealer members and show Web site






    Seattle: Ticket giveaways, early marketing . . . it all worked

    With every reason not to be overwhelmingly positive about the state of the auto industry (and the economy in general), Jim Hammond is still buoyant about how the Seattle International Auto Show played out this year.

    Yabadabadoo: The "vehicle" used in the Flintstones movie was on display at this season's Seattle Auto Show.

    The event, held Nov. 5-9, 2008, managed to retain some 85 percent of its market from last year, says Hammond, who says a 30 percent hit was more likely, given the economic conditions.

    "Everything considered, we did very well indeed," he adds.

    And the reason? Hammond credits a greatly enhanced media blitz with much of the momentum that had show goers heading to the Qwest Field Event Center.

    "We had five times the coverage we would normally have," says Hammond, adding that advance news surrounding the show amounted to more than $1 million in free publicity. "Every radio station, every newspaper, every television station went out of their way to give us coverage," he says.

    Exotics at the Seattle Auto Show included an offering from Spyker.

    Indeed, there were some 86 television broadcasts related to the auto show in one week and more than $600,000 worth of TV coverage.

    With the election season over and automotive advertising back in the driver's seat as the dominant sector, the media had every reason to bump up their support of the auto show.

    Show media consultants also went to work with a reconstituted marketing campaign, something Hammond admits was a departure from what had become the norm for some 30 years.

    Jim Hammond

    "We had to trust the media people," he says.

    That new strategy included having gender specific voice over talent (male and female for stations catering primarily to those audiences) but with a single, compelling message: Make the wise drive to more hybrids, more crossovers, more sports cars, more everything, more auto show.

    Hammond says the message hit home.

    "Once a year, everything is here," he adds. "If you're in the market, thinking about changing what you drive, or you just love cars, make the wise drive."

    Consumers already understand it's a buyer's market and Hammond says the Seattle auto show acknowledged that with an added message: Never are you going to be able to get the car you want with these incentives.

    Evergreen Electromotive displayed its ECH--Electric Composite Hatchback--model, a plug-in vehicle at the Seattle Auto Show.

    "People listened," says Hammond.

    With a wide variety of green vehicles on display (including General Motors' "Green Kit" that included a full line of hybrids and fuel efficient offerings), the show also included specialty electric, hydrogen and biofuel alternative fuel vehicles.

    Even motorcycles were part of the mix, with nine separate manufacturers featured.

    Hammond was also pleased to feature the blazingly fast Porsche G2, which reaches 60 mph in a scant 3.6 seconds (99 mph in 7.4 seconds). "We literally got it from a customer," he adds.

    The Xebra sedan is among the latest in electric vehicles, this one from Zap on display at the Seattle Auto Show.

    Other highlights included exotics such as the Rolls-Royce Phantom and models from Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lotus and Spyker.

    In the concept car department, Hammond says manufacturers, notably Ford, exceeded his expectations. "They did an incredible job."

    Hammond credits an advanced marketing program that started a month before the show (at least a week earlier than normal) as helping with the show's success.

    "We started leaking things out to the media and that also helped drive enthusiasm for the show," he notes, adding that an e-campaign (complete with YouTube videos and e-cards that made their way around the Internet) generated new and renewed interest.

    The auto show also worked with the 550,000-member Boeing Employee Credit Union to promote the event, a key to Hammond's strategy of keeping the show full.

    "We gave away thousands of tickets this year," he adds. "And the people came."

    Profile: Seattle International Auto Show

    Dates:
    Nov. 5-9, 2008

    Next Year:
    First or second week of November, depending on NFL schedule (show shares building with Seattle Seahawks).

    Place:
    Qwest Field Event Center

    Exhibit Space:
    500,000 square feet

    Tickets:
    Adults, $10; Children (under 12) free

    Show Hours:
    Wed.-Fri.: noon to 10 pm; Sat.: 10 am-10 pm; Sun.: 10 am-7 pm

    Produced by:
    Puget Sound Automobile Dealers Association

    Show Contact:
    Jim Hammond, ATAE
    Executive Director
    Puget Sound Automobile Dealers Association
    206.542.3551
    jim@psada.com

    Show Web site:
    www.seattleautoshow.com






    Tampa Bay: E-ticket success gives show marketing momentum

    With one of the early shows of the season now wrapped up, the Tampa Bay International Auto Show (held November 6-9, 2008) left ATAE George Wilson in good spirits.

    "It was a very good show," says Wilson, who manages the Greater Tampa Bay Automobile Dealers Association, Inc.

    Nissan's GTR caught the eyes of crowds attending the Tampa Bay International Auto Show this season.

    John Marriott, senior vice president and general manager of Motor Trend Auto Shows, which produces the event, was equally positive.

    "All in all, we were very pleased with the show," says Marriott, who acknowledges a softening on the exhibitor space side of the business. "In the case of Tampa Bay, we've been sold out there for many years, so any space that dropped off was quickly picked up by other manufacturers."

    One of the Tampa Bay show's highlights was the success of e-ticket sales, which Marriott says more than doubled over last year - 122 percent. "It's something we've been emphasizing," he adds. "When you do e-tickets, you not only have a ticket purchase, but you have their name and e-mail address, which is an important advantage for future marketing of the show."

    This year, Marriott and his staff are taking the e-marketing to its next level, matching vehicle registrations with the data consumers provide when they sign up for e-tickets or free magazine subscriptions.

    While it may be too early to judge the long-term success of the subscription initiative (most have not come up for renewal), Marriott says having the data is an important advantage.

    "It gives us the ability to quantify the return on investment for exhibitors," notes Marriott. "We can identify exactly how many vehicles, by make and model, were purchased following a show."

    Marriott admits the earlier shows like Tampa Bay may have largely escaped what he expects to be "rolling cuts" as the season progresses.

    "They may be fairly dramatic," he says.

    What Marriott and the dealer organizations are emphasizing to their members is the unique marketing opportunity represented by the auto show.

    The message: counter a dramatic reduction in traffic to dealerships with a targeted investment in a presence at the auto show.

    "They could take some of the money they're already spending in marketing and invest it in an event that is within a couple of percentage points of last year," says Marriott.

    Dealers are seeing the logic in that argument.

    "They're telling us 'we see more people in one day than we saw in the last month in our showroom.'"

    Among the special attractions at the Tampa Bay International Auto show were several classic cars.

    And GM reported some 57 percent more participants in its Ride and Drive program over last year.

    At Tampa Bay, continuing to emphasize the latest in automotive offerings, including concepts such as the rear-wheel-drive Ford Interceptor, the Ford Airstream, the Lincoln MKR or the pre-production Chevy Camaro. All were on display in Florida alongside production newcomers such as the Audi R8, Nissan GTR, Dodge Challenger and Corvette ZR1.

    Anyone who has been at a show where the DuPont Registry is featured will understand why Tampa Bay continues to welcome its collection of celebrity vehicles.

    "We've been working with DuPont for a number of years," notes George Wilson. "This year, we had General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard among the vehicles featured."

    Marriott says dealer response to the Tampa Bay International Auto Show was positive, judging by several impromptu visits to the show offices. "My hope is that we continue that success throughout the season."

    Profile: Tampa Bay International Auto Show

    Dates:
    Nov. 6-9, 2008

    Next Year:
    Nov. 5-8, 2009

    Place:
    Tampa Convention Center

    Exhibit Space:
    250,000 square feet

    Tickets:
    Adults (13 plus), $9; Seniors (62 plus) $4; Military, students, children (7-12), $4; under 6, free

    Show Hours:
    Thursday & Friday, noon-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm

    Produced by:
    Motor Trend Auto Shows

    Show Contact:
    George O. Wilson III, ATAE
    Executive Vice President
    Greater Tampa Automobile Dealers Association
    813.837.1114
    gowIII@aol.com

    Show Web site:
    www.motortrendautoshows.com/tampa

    Discount Coupons:
    $2 off on Web site






    Auto Shows of North America Show Directory

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

    Albany
    Empire State Plaza Auto Show
    11/6/2009 - 11/8/2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Birmingham
    Alabama International Auto Show
    11/12/2009 - 11/15/2009

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

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

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

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

    Charlotte
    Charlotte International Auto Show
    11/19/2009 - 11/22/2009

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

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

    Cleveland
    Cleveland Auto Show
    2/27/2009 - 3/8/2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hartford
    Connecticut International Auto Show
    11/6/2009 - 11/8/2009

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

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

    Indianapolis
    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
    11/27/2009 - 11/29/2009

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

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

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

    Milwaukee
    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
    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

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

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

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

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

    Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh International Auto Show
    2/12/2009 - 2/15/2009

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

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

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

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

    Sacramento
    Sacramento International Auto Show
    11/12/2009 - 11/15/2009

    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
    Seattle International Auto Show
    11/1/2009 - 11/15/2009

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

    Tampa
    Tampa Bay International Auto Show
    11/5/2009 - 11/8/2009

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

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

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

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





    Credits/Contacts:

    Automotive Trade Association Executives
    8400 Westpark Drive
    McLean, VA 22102
    703.821.7072
    703.556.8581 - fax
    www.info@atae.info

    Kevin Mazzucola, ATAE President
    mazz@adagp.com

    Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director
    jlindsey@nada.org

    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

    joe@joepr.com

    J.D. Booth, editor
    jd@jdbooth.com




  • ASNA Partners





    ASNA Manufacturing Partners