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ASNA 2.0 - The Auto Show Report
Industry News
» ASNA Summer Meeting to include
   networking, ‘trade show light’
» Editor's Note: Share your news
   with the only auto show-dedicated
» Nissan debuts 'Taxi of Tomorrow'
   at New York
» Dates for Detroit's NAIAS 2013 to move
   by one week in deference to journalists
» World's fifth largest automaker has
   heir apparent moving up
» Dealers who survived appear to be
» SoCal Ride and Drive gathering steam
» People on the Move

Show Profiles
» Charlotte: Healthy auto market continues
   to drive interest in auto show
» Phoenix: More Ride and Drives, higher
   attendance put smiles on automaker
» Las Vegas: Social media outreach helps
   generate media attention, crowds
» Charleston: 'Best ever' show says ATAE
» Washington: Presidential visit among
   highlights of D.C. show
» Philadelphia: Show gets big boost with
   all-in-one space in new center
» Chicago: Strong pre-show sales bodes
   well for upsurge in Windy City
» Pittsburgh: Free parking, Groupon among
   attendance-boosting strategies
» Toronto: Record-breaking attendance
   points to economic resurgence

» Show Directory
» Credits/Contacts

Industry News

ASNA Summer Meeting to include networking, ‘trade show light’

Save the date: July 10-11, Park City, Utah.

The 2012 Auto Shows of North America Summer Meeting, scheduled for July 10-11 at the famed Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah, will include opportunities for ASNA members to network, and potential auto show suppliers to connect with show organizers in a "mini-trade show" environment.

“I call it ‘trade show light,’” said Stacey Castle, chair of ATAE’s ASNA Committee. “The addition of the informal trade show will bring an exciting and fresh component to this year's meeting," she said.

The meetings will also feature panel discussions on key auto show issues, including insurance, legal services and relationships with OEMs, said Castle.

"Coupled with a strong program that we are hopeful will include keynote speaker Phil Lebeau from CNBC, the committee believes this could be one of the strongest ASNA meetings ever."

Castle added that early support from members and OEMs and auto show partners "has been amazing.” She says many see this meeting as the most event of the year to renew relationships, and meet some of the many new people who have entered the auto show business.

A reception the day before the ASNA Summer Meeting begins is also being planned.

The format will include a "passport" that attendees will have stamped as they circulate around sponsor displays. Holders of passports bearing the stamps of all the exhibitors will become eligible for gifts.

The Summer Meeting will also feature a presentation by Univision National network on marketing in an increasingly fragmented media world.

Additional details on the ASNA Summer Meeting will be forthcoming in ASNA emails. Until then, save the date: July 10-11 in Park City, Utah.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities, contact Joe Rohatynski joe@joepr.com; Jennifer Colman jcolman@nada.org; or Stacey Castle Stacey@castlecommunications.net

Editor's Note: Share your news with the only auto show-dedicated newsletter

Got news?

Joe Rohatynski, editor
(I love this photo.)
Share it with readers of "The Auto Show Report," the only newsletter dedicated to the 65 member shows of Auto Shows of North America, a committee of Automotive Trade Association Executives.

Our readers are people from the organizations that make this business great: dealer associations and auto shows; auto manufacturers; exhibit houses; contractors; PR, advertising and experiential marketing agencies; numerous show vendors, sponsors, partners, Ride & Drive experts; and the media that cover the auto show business.
  • Win an award? Tell.

  • Hire someone sure to set the industry afire? Dish.

  • Conquer a certain show challenge from which others could benefit? Enlighten.

  • Have a funny show experience or photo?
    Share and we'll laugh with you.

Press releases, articles, photos, bar napkins. Whatever. Send me what you have and we'll take it from there. If it's easier to call, please do. While you're at it, if you know someone who should be receiving "The Auto Show Report," forward their email address.

Hope to hear from you.


Joe Rohatynski

Nissan debuts 'Taxi of Tomorrow' at New York

Where else would you want to debut a replacement for New York's ubiquitous yellow taxi cab? No wonder Nissan chose the Big Apple and the New York International Auto Show to unveil its NV200 Taxi, picked as part of a rigorous process that began in 2007 to replace the 13,000-plus cabs that daily take some 600,000 passengers to where they want to go. The new vehicle, which will be built at Nissan's Cuernavaca, Mexico, facility, will begin appearing on New York streets beginning in 2013 and running for a full decade. "The Nissan NV200 unveiled today will be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient taxi the City has ever had," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "New York City cabs have always been iconic, and now they will set a new standard." The new vehicle, on display at the New York Auto Show beginning April 6, will include a variety of "taxi-friendly" features. Suggested retail for the vehicle is just under $30,000. More information can be found at www.taxiofcomorrow.com.

Dates for Detroit's NAIAS 2013 to move by one week in deference to journalists

NAIAS 2013 Chair,
Jim Seavitt
Holiday celebrations will be a little easier to work around next year, say organizers at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. NAIAS will hold its Press Preview on Monday, Jan. 14 and Tuesday, Jan. 15, a week later than in the past. The date change will make it more convenient for journalists and industry executives who travel from around the world to participate in the show, said NAIAS Chairman Jim Seavitt. "Each year our dates move up one day on the calendar so every five or six years, we need to make an adjustment, and push the show back one week. We do our best to keep some distance between the holidays and our opening dates, and many people have expressed appreciation for that." Meanwhile, Industry Preview will take place Jan. 16-17; Charity Preview will be held Friday evening, Jan. 18; and the public portion of the show will take place Jan. 19-27, 2013.

World's fifth largest automaker has heir apparent moving up

The only son of the Hyundai group's 73-year-old chairman appears to be moving closer to taking over the entire organization. Chung Eui-sun, 41, is now vice chairman of the group's steel maker and has, in the past, served as head of Kia Motors. In the meantime, other members of family-owned conglomerates like Hyundai are in the same mode, readying for succession to a third generation, although not all have shown the business capability of Hyundai's Chung, according to an article in Automotive News.

Dealers who survived appear to be thriving

It may not have been pretty, but those dealers who did manage to survive the industry meltdown of 2008 and 2009 appear to be benefitting from the turnaround. Big time. Industry-wide per-store dealership profit has almost tripled from 2008 with some analysts saying the financial health of an industry that cut its dealer count by 12 percent is better than it's been in decades. John Casesa, senior managing director at Guggenheim Securities LLC in New York, and a former auto dealer, told Automotive News just that. "The businesses are just humming. That means dealers are hiring, with employment increasing steadily for 19 consecutive months."

SoCal Ride and Drive gathering steam

Todd Leutheuser
Todd Leutheuser, who runs the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association, continues to look forward to the inaugural So Cal Ride & Drive, scheduled for June 15-17 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Plans "are going great," said Leutheuser. "We are pleased the OEMs have really stepped up to the plate. Chrysler is even bringing Camp Jeep to the show." Leutheuser added that media is getting on board, with attention being paid to the fact that the dates are on Father's Day weekend. "They're headlining it as a 'Dads and Grads driving event,' which is great," said Leutheuser. "Consumers are going to be blown away. Never before has a person been able to buy a ticket, register at a single location and drive as many cars as they want in an afternoon."

People on the Move

Micha Rawlings
Micha Rawlings
Micha Rawlings is the new auto show marketing manager for General Motors' Chevrolet brand. Rawlings was previously customer retention creative marketing manager at GM. Her career at the automaker has included being manager of retail incentives and manager of events and recognition programs. Rawlings can be reached by e-mail at micha.rawlings@gm.com

Auto show veteran Candida Romanelli has formed her own consultancy to share two decades of expertise and experience. Through Romanelli Event Services, the former director of the New York International Auto Show is reaching out to auto shows across North America, offering ways to explore and develop new opportunities.

Candida Romanelli
"I'm able to take an overall and analytical look at things," said Romanelli, who offers an introductory package that includes an initial meeting with show management and staff, followed by the identification of key areas where the potential for growth, both in attendance and profitability, exists.

"Identifying operational profit centers is one of the key areas where I can bring great value to a show," she said. "Even analyzing the type and way in which advertising time is secured can often substantially improve the way a show performs."

Once that introductory meeting is completed, Romanelli negotiates an ongoing relationship that may mean working by project or on a more regular and sustained basis.

Confidentiality is always a given.

"Quite simply, we never share information with another show," said Romanelli of one of the pillars of her company, which opened its doors in November 2011.

While she's contacted many members of ATAE, Romanelli said growth in her base of clients has come almost exclusively by word of mouth.

"I obviously know a lot of people in this industry and there were some immediate expressions of interest that have already resulted in client relationships. I see great potential for Romanelli Event Services to help others as well."

One such industry notable and apparent fan, Ford Motor Company's Ray Day, vice president, communications, said he'd recommend Romanelli highly.

"Candida is a true professional with a strong drive for results, superb attention to detail, creativity and passion for the business," said Day. "She is pleasant to work with, and her hard-charging ethic produces impressive results."

"I like to work hard and take a behind-the-scenes, consultative approach to what I think is one of the most exciting businesses ever," she said. "Now I'm interested in helping others by contributing to their success."

Candida Romanelli can be reached at candida@romanellieventservices.com; Her website is at romanellieventservices.com.

Show Profiles

Charlotte: Healthy auto market continues to drive interest in auto show

When people in the Midwest lose their jobs, they quite often come to the Charlotte, North Carolina, area.

Rufus D. Lynx, the mascot of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, was on hand at the Charlotte Auto Show to meet his fans.
That's at least one of the observations of Dick Lewis, who runs the Charlotte Auto Show, held most recently last Nov. 17-20, 2011. Certainly Lewis is well-connected with the local market, having lead the Greater Charlotte Automobile Dealers Association before handing the reins over to Loretta Allman about six years ago.

Lewis, who organized the first auto show in 1993 shortly after joining the dealer association as its chief executive, said an unemployment rate of 10 percent is somewhat balanced by the fact that the area is a reasonably healthy market.

"The economy is probably a bit better than some other parts of the country," added Lewis. "Dealers are doing better than they have and we're gaining about 50,000 net in population a year."

With the second largest banking industry in the United States, the Charlotte area provides a lot of employment. And that means a steady flow of car buyers.

Lewis said a move to leverage media support a few years ago is continuing to pay off for the Charlotte Auto Show, which was up about 12 percent in attendance.

"About half the advertising in this area is from the automotive sector, so there's a good reason for the media to support us," said Lewis.

The dealership organization also has a good relationship with the Charlotte Convention Center, where the show will stay for another dozen years.

Dealer participation continues to be strong since there are 10 dealers on the local auto show committee. And, the area is home to at least two megadealers - Sonic Automotive and Hendrick Automotive as well as Keffer Automotive, which has five dealerships.

From a marketing standpoint, the Charlotte Auto Show continues to emphasize its website, through which some 30 percent of tickets to the show were sold.

Face painting at the Charlotte Auto Show
Lewis said social media sites like Facebookand Twitter were also used as well as e-mail blasts to past show attendees who registered their addresses.

An annual exit survey using local college students showed some 52 percent of attendees were first time visitors, up from 48 percent the previous year and 47 percent two years ago.

Even more importantly, 63 percent said they intended to buy in the next 24 months, up from 60 percent in the previous year.

The percentage of prospective buyers who are women is also up, from 30 percent two years ago to 36 percent in the most recent show.

Lewis said his staff tries to make the Charlotte Auto Show as friendly as possible, with a Sunday Family Day and appearances by mascots of all the local sports teams.

"We also have the Shrine Band perform and we're able to make a nice contribution to the Shriner's Hospitals for Children."

More and more, show goers take the opportunity to find out more about their potential vehicles of choice.

Like elsewhere this auto show season, Charlotte Auto Show organizers experienced an uptick in attendance.

Profile: Charlotte International Auto Show

Nov. 15-18, 2011

Charlotte Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
280,000 square feet

$8 adults; children under 12 free

Show Hours:
Thurs-Fri: noon-9 pm; Sat: 10 am-10 pm; Sun: 10 am to 6 pm

Produced by:
Greater Charlotte Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
Dick Lewis, Show Director
showell@carolina.rr.com, 704.364.1078

Show Website:

Phoenix: More Ride and Drives, higher attendance put smiles on automaker faces

Taking advantage of typical Phoenix weather, the Arizona International Auto Show continues to focus on its Ride and Drive program, adding Toyota and Hyundai to a mix that already included Chevrolet, Ford and Kia.

Demonstrations like this one involving Chrysler's Jeep brand are increasingly popular.
Knox Ramsay, who heads the Valley Auto Dealers Association, said the Ride and Drives, staged at the main entrances to the new Phoenix Convention Center, continue to be very popular. "Each of the manufacturers were pleased with the number of demonstrations they had."

The return of Mercedes as an exhibitor after a two-year absence was one of the auto show's highlights, said Ramsay. "We worked with both the company and the dealership group to get them back and they had a great display," he added.

Ramsay also cited the return of the indoor Camp Jeep, "always a very popular attraction," and show newcomer, Fiat, its corporate connection to Chrysler being widely heralded.

The show also featured a restaging of the popular exotic displays, which were positioned in the main lobby area. "When visitors entered the show, they came down an escalator and the exotics, including a Ferrari at the bottom of the escalator, made for a very nice welcome," added Ramsay.

Attendance was up only marginally over last year, a factor Ramsay said was most likely due to an easing off on the coupons organizers had previously done. "Paid attendance was up rather nicely," he added.

Profile: Arizona International Auto Show

November 22-25, 2011

Phoenix Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
Over 325,000 square feet, plus 5 ride and drives

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

Show Hours:
Thurs. 9 am-7 pm; Fri.-Sat., 9 am-9 pm; Sun., 9 am-7 pm

Show Contact:
Knox Ramsay, ATAE
Valley Automobile Dealers Association
knox@aada.com, 602.468.0888

Produced by:
Motor Trend Auto Shows

Show Web site:

Las Vegas: Social media outreach helps generate media attention, crowds

In Las Vegas, it's about the entertainment. But with all that's going on in the city that lives and breathes excitement, how do you amp it up for an auto show?

Lauren Holzman, who handles public relations for producer Motor Trend Auto Shows (on behalf of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association), points to a strategic emphasis on tools like Facebook as at least part of the solution.

"We really ramped up the social marketing emphasis this year," notes Holzman. "From Facebook to Twitter and Yelp, our goal was to attract the younger demographic, people who aren't necessarily going to traditional media for their news."

Once inside the Las Vegas Convention Center, features like "Rock-it the Robot," a nine-foot tall crowd magnet helped create the kind of atmosphere that brought crowds mingling.

Even so, the latest vehicles are always the key feature at any auto show and Las Vegas was no exception.

Holzman says social media activity didn't end at the gate. "We saw people all over the place holding up their phone cameras and taking shots that they'd post on Facebook. That helped drive even more attendance."

Holzman said employing "smart PR" helped make the Las Vegas show a success.

"When we ask ourselves 'who's buying cars and how do we attract those people to show?' the answer drove our strategy. You can create a buzz online if you're smart about it. Our success this year was in big part due to social marketing and word of mouth."

There's the latest in what consumers can see at their local dealerships and then there's the SHIFTR display at the Las Vegas International Auto Show to get the heart beating just a little faster.

Profile: Motor Trend International Auto Show - Las Vegas

November 25-27, 2011

Las Vegas Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
200,000 square feet

Adults, $9; Seniors (62 plus), $6; Military, $6; Children (7-12), $6; under 6, free; Kids Day - Sunday (12 & under), free

Show Hours:
Fri.-Sun., 9 am-7 pm

Show Contact:
Lauren Holzman
VP, Public Relations, Motor Trend Auto Shows
Lauren.Holzman@sorc.com, 858.523.0001
Terry Mayfield
Executive Director, Southern Nevada Franchised New Car & Truck Dealers Association
Wayne Frediani
Executive Director, Nevada Auto Dealers Association

Show Web site:

Charleston: 'Best ever' show says ATAE

There may be no more succinct comment on the current health of the auto show industry than that of Ruth Lemmon, head of the West Virginia Auto & Truck Dealers Association.

"It was the best we've ever had," said Lemmon of the association's 13th West Virginia International Auto Show, held Jan. 27-29.

A race car display by I-77 Raceway (home of the Hillbilly 400) was a popular one at the West Virginia International Auto Show.
Lemmon went a step further in her comments. "I think our show was very much the projection of where the industry is compared to where it was. Attendance was phenomenal and dealers are so upbeat right now."

Lemmon said she believes the resurgence can be directly linked to the perceived intention of purchasing a vehicle. "They seemed to be much more interested in the potential for purchasing," said Lemmon. "In the past, it might have been a bit of kicking the tires and seeing what's out there. But this year, they were very interested in talking to product specialists about particular vehicles."

Exhibits from the West Virginia British Car Club, the I-77 Raceway (home of the Hillbilly Hundred), and other classic vehicles all helped make the show a success, said Lemmon.

"But in the end, this is about new cars and it's obvious that people are ready to pull a new one into their driveway."

Specialty displays like this one from the British Car Club
of West Virginia are popular with show attendees.

Shows like the West Virginia event are one of the best places
to see all the new models in one place.

Profile: West Virginia International Auto Show

Friday, January 27 - Sunday, January 29, 2012

Next show:
January 25 - 27, 2013

Charleston Civic Center

Exhibit Space:
Over 100,000 square feet

Adults, $7; Seniors (62 plus), $5; Children (7-12), $4; under 6 free

Show Hours:
Friday & Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-5 pm

Produced by:
Motor Trend Auto Shows

Show Contact:
Ruth Lemmon, ATAE
President, West Virginia Automobile & Truck Dealers Association
rlemmon@wvcar.com, 304.343.4158

Show Website:

Washington: Presidential visit among highlights of D.C. show


President Barack Obama checks out the latest from Jeep Ram, while ATAE Gerry Murphy looks on.
It's the one word that comes to mind for Gerry Murphy, head of the Washington Area New Car Dealers Association, in recalling highlights of the most recent Washington Auto Show, held Jan. 27-Feb. 5.

Murphy, of course, is referring to a visit by President Barack Obama, who visited the show and checked out some of the latest muscle cars - a particular interest for the nation's chief executive and also a bit of an irony given that the president will likely never get to drive himself anywhere.

"He doesn't even have a valid driver's license," noted Murphy. "But it was fun showing him around and hearing that he's like a lot of other people."

Maybe so, but the president may be the only individual credited with making a recovery possible in the automotive engine that drives the economy, something Murphy and his dealer members aren't likely to forget.

For this year's Washington Auto Show, the turnaround in automotive fortunes included a 15 percent jump in public attendance.

"We're back to pre-recession levels," noted Murphy. "That's indicative of where the auto industry is today, making it a bright spot as far as the economy is concerned."

Keith Crain (left), Chairman of Crain Communications presented megadealer Roger Penske with a Lifetime Achievement award at the Washington Auto Show.
Part of the Washington Auto Show positioning as "The Public Policy Show" included sponsorship of pre-show activities at the Cannon Office Building and at the Washington Convention Center by the National Journal. Speakers included Ray LaHood, secretary of the Department of Transportation, as well as GM's Mark Reuss, Hyundai of America's Dave Zuchowski and Jonathan Browning of VW, headquartered in nearby Herndon, Va.

Among the special events surrounding the auto show was the presentation of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement award, this year going to Roger Penske, whose auto dealership group is the second largest in the country.

The public show, themed "Safety and Sustainability in Motion," was underscored with some 65,000 square feet of pavilion space focused on developments in electric, hybrid, hydrogen, clean diesel, natural gas and other eco fuels. Murphy said the Advanced Technology SuperHighway displayed more green cars than any other domestic, tier-one auto show, making it the show's most ambitious effort to support and promote progressive innovations for the automotive industry.

Profile: Washington Auto Show

Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 2012

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
725,000 square feet

$12 for adults, $5 children (12 and under); Ages under 5, free.

Show Hours:
Friday, Jan. 27, noon to 10 pm; Saturday, Jan. 28, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, Jan. 29, 10 am-7 pm; Mon., Jan 30 through Thursday, Feb. 2, noon to 9 pm; Friday, Feb. 3, noon-10 pm; Sat., Feb. 4, 10 am-10 pm; Sun., Feb. 5, 10 am-6 pm.

Produced by:
Washington Area New Auto Dealers Association

ATAE Contact:
Gerry Murphy, CAE
gm@wanada.org, 202.237.7200

Show Web site:

Philadelphia: Show gets big boost with all-in-one space in new center

For several years, the Philadelphia Auto Show has been spread out through four separate halls and three levels, giving show director Mike Gempp a set of challenges only a greatly expanded convention center in the City of Brotherly Love could remove.

Media interest in events like the Philadelphia Auto Show keeps traffic flowing, not only to the show itself but dealer showrooms as well.
That new space, an entire city block in size, opened a year ago with the most recent Philly Auto Show, taking advantage of what it never had before - contiguous space.

That "vastly improved" the show, said Gempp.

"For starters, manufacturers could (and did) bring much bigger exhibits. It also allowed us to have our first-ever ride and drive event, a Monopoly-themed 30,000-square-foot feature from Toyota."

In all, the show added about 70,000 square feet more than it did a year ago.

The show included three outdoor ride and drive events besides Toyota's, two from General Motors (for Buick, GMC and Chevrolet; a separate one for Cadillac) and a third from Kia.

Getting up close and personal with automotive technology may be part of a father-son bonding experience.
The weather, Gempp said, was the "icing on the cake" that resulted in a 10 percent increase in attendance.

"It was something I don't think we've ever experienced before," added Gempp. "Some days it was as high as 65 degrees and people were wearing flip-flops and shorts. It was crazy."

Good crazy.

While full survey results are still forthcoming, Gempp said public feedback was overwhelmingly positive. And dealers say they've had the predictable surge in traffic to their stores.

The Black Tie Tailgate event this year raised some $400,000 for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on behalf of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation.
Gempp said he continues to tweak show features, dropping the kid's day this year, but continuing with celebrity appearances from sports stars like LeSean McCoy of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles and at least a couple of NHL Philadelphia Flyers players.

The Black Tie Tailgate raised $400,000 on behalf of the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation with this year's funds going to support the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Gempp said he and his team will continue to work to maximize the effectiveness of their new space, possibly using the original halls for exhibits as well.

"Our intention is to always grow, providing a bigger and better show for the public."

Profile: Philadelphia International Auto Show

Jan. 28 - Feb. 5, 2012

Next show:

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
600,000 square feet

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

Show Hours:
Saturdays, 9 am-10 pm; first Sunday, 9 am- 8 pm; last Sunday, 9 am-6 pm; Mon.-Fri., noon-10 pm

Produced by:
Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia

Show Contacts:
Kevin Mazzucola, ATAE
Executive Director, Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia
mazz@adagp.com, 610.279.5229
Mike Gempp
Show Director
mike@phillyautoshow.com, 610.279.5229

Show Web site:

Chicago: Strong pre-show sales bodes well for upsurge in Windy City

Dave Sloan, general manager of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, knew going into the most recent Chicago Auto Show that the event would be among the most successful he's experienced.

"We felt a surge even before we opened the doors," said Sloan, who replaced the retiring Jerry Cizek nearly two years ago. Healthy pre-show ticket sales had Sloan predicting, then and now, that a great year for vehicle sales is ahead.

"Sky Guy," the mascot for Chicago's new WNBA team, the Sky, was a "featured guest" at the Chicago Auto Show.

With technology and gas mileage going hand-in-hand, show goers are increasingly paying attention to what's under the hood.

Unseasonably good weather helped. "That helped drive the show to its most successful finish since 2008," said Sloan. "The first weekend of our show generally leaves our members' showrooms a bit light, but by the second weekend, consumers are making decisions on where they're going to spend their money, and showroom traffic and purchases spike."

Sloan and his team also used video published on YouTube to "help keep the buzz going beyond the media preview."

An example of that can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVzQ4tTCAC8&feature=related

Still, it's in the dealer showrooms that the tangible effect of the Chicago Auto Show is being seen; Sloan said post-show traffic appears to be following last year's triple-digit sales for the closing weekend of the month.

Show features that included interactive technology displays demonstrated that manufacturers, even in a recession, had continued with their product research and development.

A "Best of Show" voting by Chicago Auto Show visitors resulted in several standout winners, among them the Ford Shelby GT500 ("Best All-New Production Vehicle" and "Vehicle I'd Most Like to Have in My Driveway"), the Lexus LF-LC ("Best Concept Vehicle"), and the Chevrolet Volt ("Best Green Vehicle"). Jeep was voted "Best Exhibit."

A successful "First Look for Charity" event generated more than $2 million for some 18 area charities, while the presentation of a Cadillac SRX and a Cadillac Escalade made two show patrons very happy.

Got a smart phone? You've got a camera. And you're likely capturing what's latest in vehicles at the auto show.

Various branches of the military find a display at the auto show can be a great recruiting strategy.

Profile: Chicago Auto Show

Feb. 10-19, 2012

McCormick Place

Exhibit Space:
1.3 million square feet

Adults, $10; Seniors (62 plus) and Children (7-12), $5; under 6: free with accompanying adult

Show Hours:
Every day, 10 am-10 pm, except last day, 10 am-8 pm

Produced by:
Chicago Automobile Trade Association

Show Contact:
Dave Sloan, ATAE
President, Chicago Automobile Trade Association
dsloan@drivechicago.com, 630.424.6055

Show Website:

Pittsburgh: Free parking, Groupon among attendance-boosting strategies

With a 27 percent increase in attendance at the Pittsburgh International Auto Show and a 17 percent increase in revenues, new ATAE John Putzier can't help but be pleased.

It's not just about new cars and trucks anymore with bike enthusiasts taking in what's new at the Pittsburgh Auto Show.
He's also happy to share some of the ways the Steel City auto show, held Feb. 17-20, managed to pull off such stunning year-over-year results.

One involved parking.

"Pittsburghers hate paying for parking, even when it's only $10," said Putzier, a former consultant to the auto industry, who worked at J.D. Power & Associates and Maritz before joining the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association in 2010.

Partnering with a downtown casino seemed to be a good idea. Especially when auto show patrons could park for free and get a shuttle bus to the nearby David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

"At first, we didn't think it would be as popular as it was," said Putzier. "But as it took off, we actually had to add shuttles."

Another attendance boost came when auto show organizers repeated an online promotion from last year - a 24-hour Groupon offer that resulted in 3,000 tickets sold. The difference this year was running the offer for three days, which resulted in the sale of 8,000 tickets.

"It drove a lot of traffic to the show, and brought in a much younger demographic," said Putzier.

The auto show also brought on David Amati, former director of Global Automotive Business at SAE International, as the show's director of development. Among the results so far: an attendance-boosting relationship with Allied Bank that brought in some $24,000 in tickets through a voucher offer that bank customers can print and redeem.

Aside from those examples, Putzier said the Pittsburgh show benefited from a pent-up demand that seems to be driving sales in many other areas as well.

The show also brought back its charity preview, the "RedCARpet gala" supporting the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

Get the kids involved and the parents (buyers of those vehicles) will follow.

Something a bit out of the ordinary gets the attention of showgoers at the Pittsburgh Auto Show.

Profile: Pittsburgh International Auto Show

Most recent show:
Feb. 17-20, 2012

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
340,000 square feet

Adults, $10; Seniors (60 plus), $8, Children (12 and under), free Half price Monday.

Show Hours:
Friday-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm (Kids Day); Monday, 10 am-6 pm (Senior Citizen Day).

Produced by:
Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
John Putzier
Executive Vice President, CEO, Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association
jp@gpada.com, 412.963.8909


Toronto: Record-breaking attendance points to economic resurgence

Tom Tonks will be the first to admit that the economic tide that swamped much of the North American automotive market in the last few years did not leave Canada and the dominant Greater Toronto Area market untouched.

Though it wasn't nearly as bad as south of the border.

Crowds attending the Canadian International Auto Show
in Toronto had lots to catch their eyes.
Still, Tonks was pleased to see record-breaking attendance for the most recent Canadian International Auto Show, held Feb. 17-26, topping a previous record set in 2002.

"It's been a long time coming," said Tonks. "But we made it."

Having a public holiday during the show (Family Day in Ontario) helped, as did the ability of organizers to keep up with current interests, among them a growing emphasis on the environment.

For the Toronto show that meant having an entire area devoted to eco-friendly technology. Dubbed "Eco-Drive," the section featured 21 vehicles with the latest fuel-saving technologies. The auto show had experts on-site to help educate consumers and provide information on cost, efficiency, performance and long-term viability.

Eco-Drive also featured the latest fuel-saving advancements, among them direct fuel-injection, turbocharging and valve control.

David McClean, director of Marketing Services for the show, said the showcase was a key component of the event. "Everybody wants to know where the future of the automobile industry is headed, and of course, everybody has this consciousness and concern about the environment." Consumer education is part of that link to the auto show.

"People have a lot of questions, people don't know what hybrid vehicles are in a lot of instances and people don't know what's involved with EVs," said McClean. "This is an opportunity to get your questions answered."

For his part, Tonks is delighted that the hard work done behind the scenes paid off.

"We pretty much play to the spring market with the show and we see strong evidence of a real turnaround in the economy. When you do this much work, when you have that much commitment, with no guarantees as to the outcome, it's a happy day."

Checking out what's under the hood is part
of the excitement at any auto show.

A blaze of color and motion had show goers
in Toronto enthralled.

Profile: Canadian International Auto Show

Feb. 17-26, 2012

Next show:
2013 Show - Feb. 15 - 24
2014 Show - Feb. 14 - 23

Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Rogers Centre

Exhibit Space:
850,000 square feet

Adults, $20 (Mon.-Thurs. $15 with coupon); Children (7-12), $7, under 6 free

Show Hours:
Daily 10:30 am-10 pm, final Sunday 10:30 am-6 pm

Produced by:
Toronto Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
Tom Tonks, ATAE
General Manager, Canadian International Auto Show/Toronto Automobile Dealers Association
tomt@autoshow.ca, 416.407.7472

Show Website:

Show Directory

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3/9/2012 - 3/11/2012

Empire State Plaza Auto Show
11/4/2011 - 11/6/2011

New Mexico International Auto Show
4/13/2012 - 4/15/2012

Orange County Auto Show
10/4/2012 - 10/7/2012

Atlanta International Auto Show
3/14/2012 - 3/18/2012

Austin American
5/18/2012 - 5/20/2012

Motor Trend International Auto Show—Baltimore
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Bethlehem, PA
Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show
3/22/2012 - 3/25/2012

Alabama International Auto Show
11/10/2011 - 11/13/2011

New England International Auto Show
1/12/2012 - 1/16/2012

Buffalo Auto Show
2/8/2012 - 2/12/2012

Calgary International Auto & Truck Show
3/14/2012 - 3/18/2012

West Virginia International Auto Show
1/27/2012 - 1/29/2012

Charlotte International Auto Show
11/17/2011 - 11/20/2011

Chicago Auto Show
2/10/2012 - 2/19/2012

Cincinnati Auto Expo
2/16/2012 - 2/19/2012

Cleveland Auto Show
2/25/2012 - 3/4/2012

Columbus International Auto Show
3/15/2012 - 3/18/2012

DFW Auto Show in Dallas
3/21/2012 - 3/25/2012

Iowa/Illinois Regional Auto Show
2/10/2012 - 2/12/2012

Dayton Auto Show
2/23/2012 - 2/26/2012

Denver Auto Show
3/21/2012 - 3/25/2012

North American International Auto Show
1/9/2012 - 1/22/2012

Edmonton Motor Show
3/1/2012 - 3/4/2012

Fort Worth
DFW Auto Show in Fort Worth
12/6/2012 - 12/9/2012

Central California Auto Show
11/18/2011 - 11/20/2011

South Carolina International Auto Show
1/13/2012 - 1/15/2012

Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania Auto Show
1/26/2012 - 1/29/2012

Connecticut International Auto Show
11/11/2011 - 11/13/2011

First Hawaiian International Auto Show
3/30/2012 - 4/1/2012

Houston Auto Show
1/25/2012 - 1/29/2012

Indianapolis Auto Show
12/26/2011 - 1/1/2012

Kansas City
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3/7/2012 - 3/11/2012

Las Vegas
Las Vegas International Auto Show
11/25/2011 - 11/27/2011

Long Beach
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6/15/2012 - 6/17/2012

Los Angeles
Los Angeles Auto Show
11/18/2011 - 11/27/2011

Carl Casper Custom and Louisville New Car Auto Show
2/24/2012 - 2/26/2012

South Florida International Auto Show
10/28/2011 - 11/6/2011

Greater Milwaukee Auto Show
2/25/2012 - 3/4/2012

Minneapolis/St. Paul
Greater St. Paul & Minneapolis International Auto Show
3/10/2012 - 3/18/2012

Montreal International Auto Show
1/13/2012 - 1/22/2012

New Orleans
New Orleans International Auto Show
3/16/2012 - 3/18/2012

New York
New York International Auto Show
4/6/2012 - 4/15/2012

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City International Auto Show
3/1/2012 - 3/4/2012

Oklahoma City
OKC Auto Show
3/2/2012 - 3/6/2012

Central Florida International Auto Show
11/24/2011 - 11/27/2011

Philadelphia International Auto Show
1/28/2012 - 2/5/2012

Arizona International Auto Show
11/24/2011 - 11/27/2011

Pittsburgh International Auto Show
2/17/2012 - 2/20/2012

Portland International Auto Show
1/26/2012 - 1/29/2012

Northeast International Auto Show
2/2/2012 - 2/5/2012

Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show
3/23/2012 - 3/25/2012

Rochester International Auto Show
3/1/2012 - 3/4/2012

Sacramento International Auto Show
11/11/2011 - 11/13/2011

Saint Louis
Saint Louis International Auto Show
1/26/2012 - 1/29/2012

Salt Lake City
Utah International Auto Expo
1/13/2012 - 1/16/2012

San Antonio
San Antonio Auto & Truck Show
10/27/2011 - 10/30/2011

San Diego
San Diego International Auto Show
12/29/2011 - 1/1/2012

San Jose
Silicon Valley International Auto Show
1/5/2012 - 1/8/2012

Seattle International Auto Show
11/2/2011 - 11/6/2011

Spokane International Auto Show
2/10/2012 - 2/12/2012

Tampa Bay International Auto Show
11/18/2011 - 11/20/2011

Greater Toledo Auto Show
1/26/2012 - 1/29/2012

Canadian International Auto Show
2/17/2012 - 2/25/2012

Vancouver International Auto Show
4/3/2012 - 4/8/2012

Washington Auto Show
1/27/2012 - 2/5/2012


Automotive Trade Association Executives

8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102

Loy Todd
ATAE Chairman

Jennifer Colman
ATAE Executive Director

ASNA Committee

Stacey Castle, committee chair
Sacramento International Auto Show

Rod Alberts
North American International Auto Show

Tom Kwiatek
Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show

Greg Remensperger
Portland International Auto Show

Scott Roth
Louisville New Car Show

Mark Schienberg
New York International Auto Show

The Auto Show Report

Joe Rohatynski, senior editor

J.D. Booth, writer

Marc Harlow, writer

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