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.
New York's Schienberg to be lauded by Automotive Hall of Fame
The Distinguished Service Citation, the AHF's oldest recognition, was initiated in 1940, and recognizes individuals who have significantly improved the industry or their respective organizations. A recipient is either currently employed in the industry or recently retired. The 2009 Distinguished Service Citation recipients are:
The awards will be presented at the AHF annual awards luncheon on Jan. 25, 2009, held at the New Orleans Marriott in conjunction with the NADA convention. For information, or to reserve
seating for the event, contact the Automotive Hall of Fame at (313) 240-4000 or automotivehalloffame.org.
Chinese OEMs to exhibit on main floor at NAIASBrilliance Auto of China will make its first appearance at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, joining another Chinese automaker, BYD Auto, on the main floor of Cobo Center. The move signifies growing interest from media and the general public and the emerging presence of Chinese automakers, according to a release from the NAIAS.
Chrysler asks dealers to help with auto showLocal Detroit area Chrysler dealers are being asked to help with the expense associated with the automaker's appearance at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. While spokesman Rick Deneau would not say how much money the automaker is spending at the show this year or how much the dealers are being asked to contribute, he said it shouldn't be a surprise that Chrysler is planning to spend less. "That's just common sense," he told the newspaper. "We wouldn't be asking the dealers for any extraordinary share."
Mercedes may bring eco-concepts to DetroitA report by AutoWeek's Dale Jewett suggests Mercedes-Benz is likely to bring three eco-friendly concept vehicles to the upcoming 2009 North American International Auto Show. The three "BlueZero" concepts are expected to include an E-Cell version pure electric vehicle with a lithium-ion battery pack, the E-Plus Cell plug-in hybrid (its turbocharged three-cylinder engine turning a generator to extend the range) and an F-Cell that uses a fuel cell and hydrogen tanks to generate electricity for the electric motors. Mercedes is reportedly eyeing the possibility of the next generation of the A- and B-class coming to North America.
Toyota cancels dealer meeting to save cashToyota says it will save about $1 million by cancelling its 2009 dealer meeting, opting to use those resources to support its retailers. The company says it will hold regional meetings as an alternative to a national meeting. Toyota will, however, resume the national gathering in 2010. "Marketing resources normally used in the planning and the staging of the meeting will instead be focused on activities that directly support dealers and their day-to-day business activities," Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight told Automotive News. "We will use other opportunities to communicate with our dealer body."
Study validates auto shows as key to purchase decisionA study this past fall by Foresight Research seemingly validates a long-standing belief that auto shows form a major part of the buying process. When nearly 4,000 recent vehicle buyers were asked what influenced them to shop for and ultimately purchase or lease the vehicle they chose, more than half (51 percent) said the auto show influenced their interest in a brand or type of vehicle. Some 39 percent said the show influenced their decision to shop at dealerships for that vehicle and 19 percent said the auto show influenced their final purchase decision. "Auto shows offer a unique opportunity for shoppers to discover brands and carlines that they would have overlooked," said Steve Bruyn, CEO of Foresight. Further information on the study is available at Foresight Research.
NACTOY announces finalists
Birmingham: A good show during a challenging timeBrett McBrayer admits he's one competitive person.
"That was my goal from day one," says McBrayer, who says he simply wasn't sure of the outcome going into the auto show, held Nov. 13-16, 2008.
"Our show occurred at a time when the market was facing extreme challenges," he adds. "So we didn't really know what to expect."
But with a philosophy centered on bringing potential buyers to the auto show, McBrayer set out to do just that -making it possible for a wide range of supplier companies to send employees to the event on a complimentary basis.
In the end, that meant addressing a long-standing issue surrounding the show: overcrowding on the weekend days.
"By encouraging people to attend on Thursday and Friday, we were able to accomplish both objectives - reduce overcrowding, which had caused us problems from a facility capacity standpoint - and bringing people to the show."
"At the end of the day, I see my job with the auto show being to get people into those exhibit halls," says McBrayer. "And we did just that."
Once people were in the doors, they took in many of the attractions that have proven to be popular with show goers around the country, including two Ride and Drive opportunities, Toyota's Behind the Wheel Adventure and the Chevy Driving Experience, which featured a variety of the automaker's vehicles.
Having "come off the best show ever" last year, McBrayer says dealers have repeatedly commented on the quality of this year's show, with "unbelievable" being one of the most-often used adjectives.
"There were a lot of positive aspects to the event," says McBrayer. "We had great traffic flow, still heavy on the weekends, but very positive on Thursday and Friday. And our efforts this year to bring in more and more of the downtown business groups to experience what we have to offer is definitely something we'll want to consider doing again."
The icing on the Alabama International Auto Show cake may be how it began: a charity gala - the second annual - raising $150,000 for two area charities: the Arthritis Foundation and the Autism Society of Alabama.
Boston: Percentage of likely buyers risesFor years, proponents of the auto show as a key marketing tool have pointed out the high percentage of attendees who say they're likely to make a purchase within the next year. If the New England International Auto Show, held Dec. 3-7, 2008, is any indication, that number may be rising.
Pudney says that while there may have been fewer "tire kickers," the result was a higher percentage of serious buyers.
In addition, several dealer groups ran after show specials that are still producing results.
Another area increasingly popular with consumers was that featuring alternative fuels. "It's an area people very much look forward to," says Pudney. Perhaps as a contrast to the latest technology was a display of an original 1908 Stanley Steamer, which was developed in Massachusetts.
"We held our floor space, which is very important."
Given the fact that people love winning stuff, the New England International Auto Show featured several contests, including a repeat of the "Crushed Cube" (guess the make and model of the vehicle) and one that had attendees correctly guess the number of cans of energy drink there were in a vehicle ("Crunk in the Trunk").
Show giveaways included a Dodge Journey and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Still, one of Pudney's more memorable highlights was the appearance of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, on hand to promote Dirico Motorcycles (formerly Red Wing Motorcycles). Tyler, who co-owns the venture, used the auto show venue to announce the name change - in honor of his brother-in-law Mark Dirico, the engineer behind the line of bikes.
Tyler also participated in at least one awards program - handing out the Yankee Cup for Technological Ingenuity, which went to Volvo's City Safety system.
"We also had all the exotics," she adds. "They're always popular."
Additionally, a Corvette Café, featuring iconic vehicles from every decade (except the current model, on display in the Chevy exhibit space) became a popular stopping point.
"People had a lot of fun eating among the old cars."
Hartford: Area likely to recover quickly, new ATAE predictsAs the new ATAE heading the Greater Hartford Automobile Dealers Association and the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, Jim Fleming admits he's taken the helm of the Connecticut International Auto Show at an interesting time.
While the job of managing auto show operations belongs to Ann Kish, Fleming says he nonetheless "hit the ground running."
Having taken the pulse of public opinion for so many years, Fleming is quick to mention a plethora of green vehicles in any discussion of auto show highlights. "It was something both the media and the attendees certainly wanted to see," says Fleming. "We had a good variety of vehicles on display, including the hybrids, those running on ethanol and those featuring clean diesel technology, like the ones from Volkswagen."
Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, who heads the Senate Banking Committee, was among the notables on hand.
Among the exhibits featured at the show was one promoting safe driving among teenagers. Developed in cooperation with the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, the Teen Safe Driving Challenge included a mock traffic accident extraction using the Jaws of Life.
The auto show also showcased the multi-state East Coast Greenway initiative, designed to provide a 3,000-mile long urban trail system using existing trails and abandoned rail corridors.
Attendees were encouraged to consider choosing "Rail to Trail" license plates as a means of supporting the initiative.
A charity event tradition continued, with two groups - the Boys & Girls Club of New Britain and the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley each receiving $5,000.
On balance, displays and an economy that Fleming believes is likely to recover more quickly than others in the nation resulted in a strong auto show.
A bigger challenge, says Fleming, was generating interest in the weeks leading up to the auto show.
From an exhibitor standpoint, the Connecticut International Auto Show came out the other side in good shape.
"This year we were sold out," says Fleming, who adds that being in the Connecticut Convention Center helped. "It's a really spectacular venue for the auto show and the state's largest venue."
Los Angeles: 'Perfect storm' of media interest hitsFrom the standpoint of the automotive industry, in general, it might not have been entirely positive - all the news about bridge loans and the ensuing punditry surrounding the importance of having a robust manufacturing infrastructure - but for the LA Auto Show, held Nov. 21-30, 2008, it meant being front and center.
Indeed, it was a sense that the automotive industry is focused on not only surviving but thriving in the years ahead that became an underlying theme of the show.
Even though attendance was down slightly from last year, Flynn says this year's show continued to gain momentum following a series of date changes that has the event better positioned on the auto show calendar.
"When we first talked about changing dates, it threw the consumers off," he adds. "It meant a lot of education, getting people used to having the show around Thanksgiving."
He also says the auto show is continuing to provide automakers with a solid stage for reaching the world's media.
"We're getting more and more media and some important debuts," says Flynn. "LA has become a good stage for carmakers and we're seeing substantial media interest in Japan and Germany as well as North America."
In particular, Flynn notes, automakers see LA as an important market for vehicles with strong green attributes as well as those focused on the luxury and performance markets.
LA also continues to provide a distinctive forum for advancing the design component of the automotive industry through Design Los Angeles.
"This year's Motorsports 2025 theme had designers pretty excited," says Flynn of the competition.
The winner? The MAZDA KAAN, an electric racecar capable of using the "sub-level electro-conductive polymer" of California highways "that powers the electric cars of the modern world."
Now in its third year, the event has grown exponentially in terms of media interest, notes Flynn.
"The first year there was a smattering of interest," he adds. "Last year, it was decent but this year, the press conference was the size of a manufacturer debut and we saw global coverage of the VW Jetta TDI winning the award."
News media attention, of course, went beyond a focus on the environment.
"It was something of a perfect storm from the standpoint of the news media," says Flynn. "With the domestics going before Congress, we had many, many crews wanting to do live shots from the show, much more than we had last year. And that presented its own set of challenges."
Phoenix: Looking ahead to bright new facilityIf you were listening very carefully, you might have heard the great big sigh of relief coming from Knox Ramsey.
Ramsey, the ATAE who heads up the Valley Auto Dealers Association in Phoenix, is now looking forward to a brand new facility, having spent the last few shows juggling space for exhibitors at the Arizona International Auto Show, held Nov. 27-30, 2008.
"We've had to operate out of three different facilities," notes Ramsey. "It's been a challenge, having the convention center torn up and even having construction for a light rail system going right through the complex."
Next year's show will be in the all-new Phoenix Convention Center, all on one floor, something Ramsey is justifiably excited about.
"We're very much looking forward to it," he says.
But looking back at the most recent show, Ramsey says dealers found themselves presenting to what turned out to be a high-quality caliber of show attendee.
"We were probably off less than half of what the market has experienced," says Ramsey of the show's attendance. "We've heard from several dealers that were complimentary of the traffic that came through this year. They were walking away with some very strong leads."
"We used one of the lobbies for our exotics display," notes Ramsey. "It was a high end salon that included Rolls-Royce and Maserati among the brands. We used subdued lighting and background music to create a unique atmosphere that was very popular with attendees."
Other notable vehicles on display included the 2010 Ford Mustang and Hyundai's new Genesis coupe.
Certainly, while markets throughout the U.S. are experiencing challenges of their own, Ramsey says Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the U.S., is a market where automakers want to be visible.
"It's a key, high-growth market," he says. "That's going to continue to be the case. Once we move through the current situation, that will continue."
Ramsey is also looking forward to a resumption of a long-standing tradition that has been put on hold due to construction - a luncheon for community leaders.
He's also gearing up for about 50,000 square feet of additional space, up from the 260,000 square feet currently available.
As is the case with many other shows, Arizona has embraced the e-ticket concept, with notable success.
"It has definitely helped the development of our database," says Ramsey. "It's certain to pay huge dividends as we are able to capture names and e-mail addresses."
Ramsey ran something of a twist to the e-marketing program this year: an offer of a free ticket for next year's show in return for a show attendee providing their name and e-mail.
"We expect that will allow us to direct market to another several thousand individuals."
Auto Shows of North America Show DirectoryAlbany
Albany Auto Show
4/3/2009 - 4/5/2009
Salt Lake City
Credits/Contacts: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
The Auto Show Report
J.D. Booth, editor