The last time Ron Williams was written about in an ASNA newsletter, Nov., 2005, he'd just retired from The George P. Johnson Company
Sadly, Mr. Williams passed away January 17, 2012, at the age of 66.
Former Executive Vice President of GPJ, Mr. Williams spent 40 years with the Detroit-based exhibit and event marketing firm. He made many friends in shows and events, and in the exhibit business in Detroit and around the world. He was known in the auto show business for his integrity, and also for his willingness to help those younger and less experienced.
He was instrumental in the development of Auto Shows of North America
, and looked for ways to help smaller shows get connected to the right industry people who could make a positive difference.
"From the beginning, he'd come to the auto show committee meetings, and say, 'what can I do?'" said friend and NAIAS executive director, Rod Alberts. "Ron was determined to help smaller shows get noticed. He was all about sharing experiences, and advice. I wonder if people really knew how valuable that was."
John Tulloch, who was hired at GPJ by Mr. Williams 20 years ago, says his former boss always looked out for the next generation, and enjoyed helping people along in their career paths.
"Ron was eager to lend a hand to those who showed promise, but needed a break," says Tulloch, GPJ senior vice president, who worked alongside Mr. Williams for much of his career. "He was generous with his time and with his advice, which often went unnoticed. And he preferred it that way."
Tulloch says those who knew Ron Williams enjoyed spending time with him, and appreciated his wisdom. "He really had a special touch and respected others."
At a recent cigar club gathering during the Detroit auto show, friends remembered the easygoing Ron Williams, and talked of his sense of humor, love of cigars, and passion for auto shows.
Meanwhile, the Detroit auto show went on.
He wouldn't have had it any other way.
A rule approved by the California Air Resources Board that would require between six and seven out of every 100 vehicles sold to be electric, fuel-cell or plug-in hybrid by 2025 is being lauded by automakers even as the state's dealership organization argues consumer demand for the vehicles is being overestimated. Jonathan Morrison of the California New Car Dealers Association
said that consumer acceptance is at the core of the concerns. The regulatory plan emissions objectives are aligned with federal emissions regulations proposed by President Barack Obama.
Competition is heating up in the full-size truck market and that's
likely to continue with the latest entry--the Ram-labelled entry,
which debuted at the Chicago Auto Show
. With a Cummins six-cylinder
turbo diesel under the hood, delivering 800 lb-ft of torque and 350 hp of power, the gross vehicle weight rating is now 30,000 pounds with a maximum
trailer weight of 22,700 pounds. A 390 hp Hemi V8 is an option.
A new study by Deloitte
has found six of 10 Millennials - a wave of young buyers born in the 1980s, 1990s and as recently as the year 2000 - are eying hybrid or electric vehicles rather than conventionally powered transportation. There are about 80 million Americans in that group, which may be good news for automakers introducing EVs or hybrid models.
EEI Global's "Pearls of Wisdom" campaign was named 2011's best
online/multimedia self- promotion effort by The Exhibit Designers and
Producers Association (EDPA). The EDPA's EDDIE Award recognizes
outstanding achievement in self-promotional marketing among exhibit
builders, designers, manufacturers and suppliers nationwide. The award
was presented during EXHIBITOR 2011
the world conference and exhibition for trade show and corporate event
marketing, which was held November 30 - December 2, 2011, in Las Vegas.
"It's an honor to be recognized by our peers for this campaign, which marked EEI Global's first
use of a fully-integrated digital campaign at EXHIBITOR," EEI Global Chief Marketing Officer
David Varady said of the award. "We successfully leveraged the web, social media, in-booth
interactives and our proprietary lead capture tool to execute a 360-degree campaign. We'll
continue to explore new technologies and applications as we work to define the next generation
of experience marketing."
President Barack Obama toured last
month's Washington Auto Show, observing that the auto industry has made
a dramatic comeback from the days when bailouts were needed by most
automakers. "When you look at all these cars, it is testimony to the
outstanding work that's been done by workers -- American workers,
American designers," Obama told reporters at the Washington Convention Center.
"The U.S. auto industry is back." The president said the infusion of cash was
essential to the industry, which is enjoying a resurgence, as evidenced
by increasing numbers of auto show attendees across the U.S. and Canada.
President Barack Obama reviews the Mustang Cobra,
while Washington Auto Show Executive Director, Gerry Murphy, provides narration.
, previously business manager for the New York International Auto Show
, has been promoted
to show director. Liebensohn's career prior to joining NYIAS was with the trade show and exposition industry. He worked for several companies and at one
point was director of conferences and trade shows for the World Gaming Congress & Expo, the gaming industry's premier international trade show and
conference. He was also assistant manager of event services at the Jacob Javits Convention Center when it opened in 1986.
Liebensohn can be reached at
Meanwhile, Jessica Hodges
, who'd been NYIAS marketing coordinator, has been named marketing manager. Hodges has been with NYIAS since 2007,
creating and selling integrated sponsorship packages, developing and executing news worthy special events to drive ticket sales and satisfying sponsor
interests. She is also responsible for coordinating celebrity appearances, promotional projects and other special programs and social media and online
properties. Hodges can be reached at jessica@autoshowNY.com
recently joined AMCI Global as its public relations practice leader. The company, which has offices in Los Angeles, Detroit,
New York, Tokyo, London and Beijing, counts all automotive brands among its clients, providing a variety of services, including test drive events at
auto shows, third party performance validation and dealership training. Keyes, who was last at Saab Cars North America and previously at
Volkswagen of America, can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com
, president of the Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association, has
been elected chair of Automotive Trade Association Executives for 2012. Todd
was elected at the annual meeting of ATAE, held in conjunction with the National
Automobile Dealers Association meeting in Las Vegas in early February. He replaces
, who heads the Silicon Valley Auto Dealers Association and the Silicon
Valley International Auto Show.
The big news coming from the Central Florida International Auto Show as far as Barbara Miller is concerned is how a still relatively new e-tool is bringing visitors in the door.
"We found great success with Groupon
," said Miller, executive vice president of the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association
, which owns the show. "In fact, 18.3 percent of visitors took advantage of it, which was tremendous."
The Groupon deal offered two auto show tickets for $9 (a 50-percent savings) with more than 1,000 taking the offer, according to the discount site.
|For dealers needing people to work in an expanding industry, the auto show is a logical place to make that need known.||
|Members of the Orlando Fantasy of the Lingerie Football League appeared at the CF auto show.|
Miller said the show hosted four Ride and Drives: Kia, Hyundai, Toyota and Chrysler (Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Fiat). With the Ride and Drives located in the parking lot behind the Orlando Convention Center, visitors were shuttled to and from off-site lots with a fleet of buses.
"This is about showcasing new cars, so we do everything we can to make the experience a good one for our visitors," said Miller.
With the show held over Thanksgiving weekend, visitors were encouraged to take a break from their Black Friday shopping.
Heavy use of Facebook was another opportunity for Miller and her team from Motor Trend Auto Shows to highlight various features, including a number of antique and classic cars.
Among those was a Ford Model A Display, courtesy of the Model As of Greater Orlando
; several antique vehicles provided by the Antique Automobile Club of America
, Orlando Region; a collection of Chevrolet Corvettes, courtesy of the Corvette Club of Orlando
; and a showcase of vintage Mustangs, courtesy of the Mid Florida Mustang Club
The cheerleaders and mascot from the Orlando Predators Arena Football Team were also at the show, as were several members of the Orlando Fantasy of the Lingerie Football League.
A 1995 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Monster Truck was also featured, with its 49-inch Irok tires, 20-inch chrome wheels and 27-inch suspension lift kit.
|Toyota was one of several manufacturers featuring a Ride and Drive event at the Orlando show this year.||
|Orange County Convention Center|
Profile: Central Florida International Auto Show
Public Show Dates:
Nov. 24-27, 2011
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando
561,000 square feet
$9 adults (13 and over), $5, seniors (65+), $5, military (with ID), $3, children (7-12), children 6 and under FREE with accompanied parent or guardian.
Thanksgiving Day: 12 noon to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-5 pm.
Motor Trend Auto Shows
Barbara Miller, ATAE
Central Florida Auto Dealers Association
A record number of Ride and Drive events set the course for success at the San Diego International Auto Show (SDIAS), held Dec. 29-Jan. 1, 2012. The show hosted 10 of the popular interactive events, including the ever-popular indoor Camp Jeep, now in its third year at SDIAS.
"The more experiential we can make our show, the better our results will be here, and in our members' showrooms," said Dean Mansfield, president of the New Car Dealers Association of San Diego County, organizer of the event. "And there's nothing more interactive than a Ride and Drive, and that's why manufacturers continue to support them at major market shows across North America."
San Diego media are incredibly supportive of the show, says Dean Mansfield.
Ride and Drive events at the San Diego show were presented by: Chevy; Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Fiat; Ford Motor Company; Hyundai; Kia; Toyota; Scion and first-time exhibitor CODA.
Meanwhile, the action inside the convention center was also exciting, according to Kevin Leap, SDIAS show director, as the family-oriented event hosted impressive crowds, pointing to a renewed sense of optimism for car sales, and the industry in general.
"With the average age of consumer vehicles now nearing 11 years, there's definitely a demand for new vehicles, and it was clear that there was some serious shopping going on at the show," said Leap.
The show also provided a family destination during its Mazda Family Day, especially advantageous during the holiday season. And, of course, classic and exotic cars, including the Porsche Club of San Diego, were major draws.
Street legal bumper cars.
Gotta love Southern California.
New this year, an appearance by legendary Hollywood movie car designer "Fireball Tim" Lawrence
, and his Hollywood Garage, including 14 famous movie cars ("Scooby Doo," "Kitt" from "Knight Rider," "Herbie" the Love Bug) and others that helped line the aisles with fans of all ages.
But possibly the most standout, and certainly most nostalgic exhibit in San Diego, was the display of street legal, modified bumper cars rescued from amusement rides from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.
Finally, in an effort to assist the San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation
, the show hosted "The Firefighters' Ball," held on New Year's Eve amid the new vehicles at the San Diego Convention Center. The fundraising event began with a cocktail reception on the show floor, followed by a banquet, and capped by a live performance by Davy Jones
of the Monkees fame.
Profile: San Diego International Auto Show
Dec. 29, 2011-Jan. 1, 2012
San Diego Convention Center
500,000 square feet
$11, adults, children 12 and under FREE, seniors, $9. Show has a number of discount ticket opportunities.
Thursday and Friday, 10 am-9 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10 am-7 pm
New Car Dealers Association San Diego County
Dean Mansfield, ATAE
President, New Car Dealers Association San Diego County
Steve Smith has no doubt a recent 11.4 percent upsurge in attendance is one more piece of evidence for the Silicon Valley Auto Show being the premier event in the area.
With a theme that resonates with the tech-savvy audience - Where Technology Meets the Road - the auto show is well-positioned to be the place where area buyers turn to first prior to their dealership visit.
"When you look at the average age of vehicles on the road being more than 10 years, we're feeling very positive here," said Smith.
While the last couple of years may have been challenging to the Silicon Valley Auto Show, notably with the temporary departure of some brands, that has definitely turned around, Smith added.
"We had more than 31 brands," he said. "Virtually everyone was well represented."
That enthusiasm flowed over to the Ride and Drive part of the show, where there were more manufacturers than ever, among them Chrysler Group brands such as Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Fiat joining Ford, Toyota and GM in the Ride and Drive line up for a total of 25 different vehicles.
The show was also demonstrating its eco-friendly side, said Smith,
including the announcement by Ford that it would build a tech center
in the area.
Even with the obvious attention to driving up attendance, Smith said he was somewhat taken aback by the size of the crowds, with attendance lines stretching out the front gates, something he said he's never seen before.
But every "problem" has a solution. "We went up and down the line, encouraging people to buy tickets online and then we would scan their phones," said Smith.
In the end, some 37 percent of tickets were bought online.
Inside the show, several manufacturers used QR codes to encourage attendees to check out the details on vehicles being displayed.
"That was a great connection to our 'Technology Meeting the Road' theme."
Profile: Silicon Valley International Auto Show
January 5-8, 2012
San Jose McEnery Convention Center
280,000 square feet
Adults, $10; Children, $7; Seniors (62 plus, weekdays), $7; under 6 free
Wed.-Thurs., noon-10 pm; Fri.-Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun., 10 am-7 pm; Mon., 10-7
Stephen C. Smith, ATAE
Executive Director, Silicon Valley Auto Dealers Association
Motor Trend Auto Shows
Utah's Craig Bickmore speaks to media
on behalf of area dealers.
Living in a state renown for its alpine sportsters, Craig Bickmore may be one of many to strap on the skis, but during the Utah International Auto Show, held Jan. 13-16, he was quite content to enjoy crowds pouring into the South Town Convention Center.
"It was an exciting show," said Bickmore of the four-day event, three of which had no snow to impede show goers. "The fact that we were up five percent in attendance over last year translates to really good growth for the show."
Bickmore said a combination of great advertising, good public relations and a show floor that was full of manufacturers ready to showcase their product had everyone smiling.
"Everything is coming together in sync," said Bickmore.
He was also particularly happy with how a returning Camp Jeep event bolstered the crowds.
"They were very happy with the results," said Bickmore, not only referring to Camp Jeep organizers, but the other manufacturers who showcased their latest and greatest product.
Even with one day of snow on the last day, attendance was still up.
Bickmore said success for the Utah show has come from a concentration mostly on events related to cars, not simply things that organizers might once have thought would work to drive traffic.
"Features like Olympic talent just didn't do it," noted Bickmore.
What does seemingly work is a collection of vintage cars from Ardell Brown Classic Cars
that give a very nice contrast to the most modern of vehicles the manufacturers bring to the show.
The 1,700 free parking spots, with free overflow parking may be the icing on the cake.
"We really have been become a family event," said Bickmore. "There's something for everyone, including derby car competition from the Scouts. Kids have things to do and adults, of course, love the latest cars, some of which haven't made it to the showrooms. We're running on all cylinders."
Profile: Utah International Auto Expo
January 13-16, 2012
South Towne Exposition Center
Over 270,000 square feet plus 25 ride and drive vehicles
Adults, $7, Seniors (62+), $5; Military with ID, and Children, $5; six and under, FREE
Friday, 11 am-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday and Monday, 10 am-8 pm.
Craig Bickmore, ATAE
Executive Director, New Car Dealers of Utah
Motor Trend Auto Shows
Ford Motor Company reveal
If the industry is seeing resurgence, it was evident in Detroit.
For nine days, the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and the global auto industry generated a steady flow of positive news heard around the world as manufacturers returned to the Motor City with a resounding message: 'We're back.'
Among the 5,000+ journalists who covered the show from 61 countries, Dan Neil, a columnist from The Wall Street Journal
, may have said it most eloquently:
"Today, I am reborn. Today I am again completely fascinated by the automobile - as a machine, as an instrument of human ingenuity, as a political and economic force, as an expression of art and design to rival Cremona violins and Shanghai skyscrapers. Last night I dreamt about cars for the first time in ages. Today I'm seriously considering drawing cars on my notebooks like an obsessed 12-year-old. Thanks, Detroit. I needed that."
Mercedes Benz reveal
NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said the more than 40 vehicle unveilings hosted by NAIAS were a demonstration of the returning confidence of OEMs.
"We saw it in the new exhibits, in the larger-than-life HD screens, in the energy and disposition of the media and, of course, in the fantastic worldwide concept and production vehicle launches," said Alberts. "Everyone is optimistic and feels good about the auto business again. And, I have to tell you" he added, "everything just went right."
Attendance, Alberts said, was the highest at NAIAS, including Industry Preview, which brought thousands of designers, engineers, and others tied to the industry from around the world; and Charity Preview, the black tie gala, which raised $3 million in one night for children's charities.
Among those attending NAIAS was a bevy of elected officials, including Detroit Mayor Dave Bing; Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and governors from Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri; several members of the U.S. Congress; and four members of President Barack Obama's Cabinet, including: Department of Commerce Secretary John E. Bryson; Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu; EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson; and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who briefly addressed the media during the NAIAS welcome ceremony.
"It's always a challenge to accommodate high-ranking officials who visit the show while manufacturer press conferences are taking place," acknowledged Alberts. "Even so, we were thrilled to have them, and are pleased they chose Detroit to learn about the changing landscape of the automotive technology, and the major news that was generated here."
In addition to the parade of dignitaries, the show unveiled another parade - of luxury cars, which ran twice daily during the Public Show - inside the show.
Created in cooperation with The Parade Company, which produces the nationally seen "America's Thanksgiving Parade"
from Detroit every year, the idea was to assemble a half dozen luxury vehicles (Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, etc.) throw in a few celebrities, beauty queens and professional athletes, along with some traditional parade characters, and just have some fun.
"You wouldn't believe the attention it got," said Alberts, who came up with the idea while brainstorming with The Parade Company's Tony Michaels. "Kids loved it, families loved it . . . people lined the route (an inner loop around the show floor) three and four deep. I've never seen so many digital cameras and smiling faces..."
Profile: North American International Auto Show
Jan. 9-22, 2012
1 million square feet
$12 adults (13 and over), $8, seniors (65+), $6, children (7-12), children 6 and under FREE with accompanied parent or guardian.
Every day except final day: 9 am-10 pm. Sunday, Jan. 22: 9 am-9 pm.
North American International Auto Show LLC,
a division of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association
Rod Alberts, ATAE
Executive Director, Detroit Auto Dealers Association
The Portland International Auto Show opened during a period of steadily increasing motor vehicle sales in the Pacific Northwest, and a growing optimism about the industry in general.
Camp Jeep appeared for the first time in the Pacific Northwest at the Portland show
Produced in house for the second year by the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association, the show experienced strong support from automakers and solid attendance from would-be car buyers.
In one of the greenest states in the country, it's no surprise that the Portland show hosts one of the largest Eco-Centers, according to Greg Remensperger, the show's executive director.
"We just do things differently in the Northwest," said Remensperger. "We're such a green state that it was relatively easy for us to fill our 30,000-square-foot Eco Center with everything imaginable that positively impacts the green lifestyle."
Electric vehicles, charging stations, personal mobility devices, clean burning diesel vehicles, and mopeds were popular attractions, he added, and
officials from the Oregon Department of Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric were on site to talk about the implementation of electric and alternative
fuel vehicles into the changing automotive landscape.
Another major feature: the exotics, of course - Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Lotus and Fisker.
But the premier of Camp Jeep Portland may have been the greatest draw of all, said Remensperger.
"We have a great outdoor lifestyle in the Northwest and knew when we went to Detroit last summer to make our case to the Chrysler-Jeep team, that Camp Jeep would find success here," said Remensperger. "The lines were steady and long and the Camp Jeep people were outstanding to work with, and we really appreciated the confidence and the partnership with the entire team. The whole experience was incredible."
As if that weren't interactive enough, the show hosted six additional Ride and Drives from General Motors, Kia, Subaru, Toyota, Scion, and Volkswagen.
Two new features: the Under 21 Club and Over 35 Club found success at the show, offering the most affordable cars (under $21,000) and those with the
best mileage (over 35 MPG). Both areas, off the main show floor, were filled with new vehicles and show patrons from start-to-finish. As was the area where "Survivor's" Boston Rob appeared, signing autographs for fans.
"We had a lot to learn two years ago when we took our show in house," said Remensperger. "Today, we're doing very well, but we're still learning . . . from our friends in the auto show business, and from the manufacturers and exhibit builders.
"We've worked hard and we're enjoying our success, but we wouldn't be here were it not for a supportive and talented team of people. We all took a chance . . . and it's beginning to pay off."
Profile: Portland International Auto Show
January 26-29, 2012
Oregon Convention Center
400,000 square feet
Adults, $12; Seniors (62+), $10; Military with ID, $10; Children, $7; six and under, FREE
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm
Greg Remensperger, ATAE
Executive Vice President, Oregon Auto Dealers Association
Automotive Trade Association Executives
The Auto Show Report
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
ATAE Executive Director