The energy continues to grow as final plans are put in place for the 2012 ASNA
Summer Meeting, July 10-11, at the Stein
in Park City, Utah.
"The momentum for this year's ASNA meeting just keeps building," said an
enthusiastic Stacey Castle, chair of ATAE’s ASNA Committee. "And, when an
organization is able to attract a top auto industry personality like Dutch Mandel,
well, we feel pretty good about the direction of ASNA and our event."
Dutch Mandel has spent an extraordinary amount of time around cars which serves
him well as editorial director and associate publisher of the Autoweek Media Group,
which includes the nation’s only fortnightly car magazine, multiple websites, studio
facilities, television show and automotive events. He comes to the world of car
journalism honestly, too, as his father was in the business for all of his adult life.
Mandel, 54, has written for Sports Car Graphic and Car and Driver as well as
Sport Diver, Backpacker, and Ski X-C magazines. For the past 27 years he has
worked in several capacities with four of the more than 30 titles owned by Crain
Communications, Inc., parent company of Autoweek
. He has to his credit a
number of journalism and magazine-writing awards.
Mandel worked closely in the creation and development of the Autoweek
web sites as well as the television show “Autoweek’s
Vinsetta Garage,” which
appears on the Velocity Network. His consumer-focused auto commentary was
heard weekly on WJR radio in Detroit. Mandel was automotive consultant on the
Pixar movies CARS and CARS 2.
He lives in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., with his wife, Rebecca, and their three sons
Jake, 23, Clay, 20, and Matt, 20.
Castle added that companies continue to sign on as attendees of the ASNA Summer
Meeting, including, to date:
- Auto Dealers Risk Solutions
- EEI Global
- Fern Expo. and Event Services
- George P. Johnson Co.
- H.B Stubbs
- Hargrove, Inc.
- Romanelli Event Services
One of the many splendid views at the
Stein Eriksen Lodge.
For more information regarding program and sponsorship opportunities,
please contact Joe Rohatynski
; Jennifer Colman
or Stacey Castle
Strong sales in the U.S. automotive sector is starting to reverberate through
the economy. Momentum in the steel industry, freight lines and lenders are
signals of lasting, robust growth, reports Automotive News. "A whole host of
areas could see the multiplier effect," says Joseph Carson
, a former GM
economist and now director of global economic research at Alliance
in New York. "We’re at the beginning of a very long and durable
cycle.” Another industry watcher, George Magliano
, senior principal
economist at IHS
, said auto sales are leading the way in consumer spending. “It’s
a function of pent-up demand and all the things that go with an economy that’s
getting better. It helps everybody when the auto industry does well.” At Ford, adding
production is one of the key objectives, said James Tetrault
, vice president
of North American Manufacturing. “Requiring more capacity from our plants is a
good problem to have.”
How safe are electric batteries? U.S. government regulators and industry leaders
gathered in Washington mid-May to discuss the issue at a technical workshop
hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety
. The conference followed several investigations NHTSA is
dealing with, one of the latest being a garage fire in Texas that consumed a $103,000
Fisker Karma. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland
has said lithium-
ion batteries present different safety and regulatory issues than typical internal-
combustion engines. "Just as safety protocols had to be developed and updated for
internal combustion engines, so too are we working to do the same with vehicles
using this new propulsion system."
Carroll Shelby at the LA Auto Show
The man who turned an iconic muscle car into something even greater has died at
the age of 89. Carroll Shelby
, the legendary car designer who won the 24
Hours of LeMans after the failure of his East Texas chicken farm, was credited with
injecting testosterone into Ford's Mustang and Chrysler's Viper. When he died in
a Dallas hospital on May 10, he also was one of the longest-living heart transplant
recipients, having received a heart on June 7, 1990, from a 34-year-old man who
died of an aneurysm. Edsel Ford II
, a member of the board of directors
at Ford and great-grandson of Henry Ford
, the automaker's founder,
said the Ford/Shelby collaboration is one that is important to Ford and the Ford
family. "Carroll Shelby will always be remembered as an innovator, a performance
vehicle legend but most importantly an incredible partner and close friend for more
than 60 years,” said Ford. "Carroll will continue to be the inspiration behind our
future collaboration that will carry his name. My family and I are honored to have
had Carroll as a friend and part of our family. He will never be forgotten.” Caroll
Shelby is survived by his wife, Cleo Shelby; his three children, Patrick, Michael
and Sharon; his sister, Anne Shelby Ellison; six grandchildren and four great-
, who for the last 12 years has worked in the automotive division of
American Suzuki -- primarily in auto shows -- is returning to his roots. Effective June
1, Hayes, who currently is manager of Auto Shows and Event Marketing, becomes
manager of Dealer Development by rejoining Suzuki's motorcycle division.
Haynes says he's excited about the new opportunity, but won't be attending many auto
shows as a result.
"That's my loss," he says. "I will miss the people I’ve met working with auto shows,
events and PR… I enjoyed getting out and seeing the shows, helping with PR events, and
helping to make auto shows just a little bit better."
Haynes' replacement will be announced closer to the job change. He will still be
reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org
, whose name has been synonymous with the Chicago Auto Show
for nearly 20 years, retired at the end of April. Brian will continue as host of Drive
Chicago, which is heard on WLS radio 890 AM. His duties at the Chicago Auto Trade
Association are being filled by Mark Bilek
, who is the CATA's Internet
, director of advertising and sales promotion at Chevrolet, has
been snapped up by VW of America as a vice president. Mayer fills a position that's
been open for more than a year after the departure of Tim Ellis
. Mayer, who
will take on the new position June 6, had a major hand in the development of Super
Bowl ads and the launch of the Sonic last year.
"The entire mood of the show was much more upbeat this year," said Lou
, who heads up both the Cleveland Auto Show and the Greater
Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association. "Dealers and automakers left the show
optimistic not only about the continued growth of the local market but also the
health of the economy in general."
Joshua Cribbs, a wide receiver with the NFL Cleveland Browns, was one of several players on hand at the Cleveland Auto Show.
Indeed, according to Vitantonio, a good number of the people attending this year’s
show were serious about buying a vehicle.
Concerns about how a spike in gasoline prices might have affected show traffic
turned out to be unfounded. "We found consumers were actually looking to replace
older vehicles with newer, more fuel efficient ones," added Vitantonio.
They got to check out those future vehicles in a much more up close way than ever
before, with more interactive Ride and Drives than ever before—with Jeep, Chrysler,
Dodge, Fiat, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Ford, Kia, Subaru and Toyota all hosting events.
“Any time you can put someone behind the wheel of a vehicle for a test drive,
it increases your chances of actually having them take the vehicle home,” said
, president of the Valley Automotive Group and chairman of
the 2012 Cleveland Auto Show.
Social media played a significant role in maintaining the momentum, with the show
continuing an active presence through Facebook and Twitter. Daily polls reached
out to attendees and those who might be considering attending.
A "green tour" linked by QR codes gave attendees the opportunity to use their smart
phones to take them vehicle-by-vehicle around the show, highlighting those that
have a decidedly eco-emphasis.
Beyond the show itself, the region is home to several manufacturing facilities, which
underscores the importance of the automotive industry among attendees.
"Jeep's Toledo plant is just halfway between Cleveland and Detroit, on the east side
they're building the Chevy Cruze at Lordstown plant, a quarter mile away is Ford's
engine plant and to the south is Honda," noted Vitantonio. "People here have a huge
vested interest in the industry."
Profile: Cleveland Auto Show
Feb. 25-March 4, 2012
750,000+ square feet
$12.50 adults; $10.50, pre-teen and seniors; children under 6 free
Weekdays 11 am-10 pm; Sundays, 11 am-8 pm
Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association
Lou Vitantonio Jr
"People are seriously looking at cars again."
That's the assessment of Kip Nedved
, who produces the Spokane
International Auto Show on behalf of the Spokane New Car Dealers Association,
where ATAE Don Kellman
is executive vice president.
Held Feb. 10-12, the event had Nedved, who runs a local advertising company,
taking what is obviously not a fond look back on the past few years of industry
"A couple of years ago, it was an incredibly difficult time," said Nedved. "There were
exhibitors dropping out of the show to the point where we were redrawing our floor
plan twice a week, consolidating space and getting smaller."
That's all history, said Nedved, with attendance on the upswing (up 5% this year,
after a 9% increase the year before).
"This year we had the feeling that what we're experiencing has to be pretty much
everywhere," he added. "The market is definitely coming back."
Nedved said that while he believes the market still has room to grow, a lesson has
"Factories were reacting to what they believed consumers wanted, but now they're
reacting to what consumers want today and that's more fuel efficient cars," he
said. "Electric vehicles are starting to catch on and hybrids are very popular."
As far as the Spokane show is concerned, a 15% increase in footprint makes the
event as big as it's ever been as far as square footage is concerned.
But what sets Spokane apart from most other shows is the fact that consumers
are able to actually buy a vehicle on the floor. They complete the paperwork at the
dealership, but the event is a true "selling show," said Nedved.
"People can sit down and negotiate a deal before they leave the show. That's a big
deal in this market."
With a dedicated test drive area for each of the manufacturers, it's a concept that
"It's really no different in that respect from the dealership," said Nedved.
Attendees at the Spokane show come from as far as 30 miles inside the nearby state
of Idaho, making the area "a whole different world," he added. "We're on the other
side of the Cascade mountains from Seattle, making us the largest market within
three or four hundred miles. Our dealers draw a lot of business."
At this season's Oklahoma City International Auto Show, held March 1-4, it was
something of a change in direction for organizers: not only the latest in new
vehicles, but a focus on providing attendees with family entertainment, too.
As ATAE Peter Hodges
explained, a number of in-show attractions were
designed to deliver buyers to automaker displays.
"We've seen double-digit increases in sales recently," said Hodges, who serves as
head of the Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association. "For a combination of new cars
and trucks, sales are up 21% year over year."
In addition to a Ride and Drive by Subaru, family friendly elements such as the
Marvels Avengers Assemble Show (including the Avengers "Shield Car"), SpongeBob
SquarePants and Patrick, and Hotwheels giveaways were part of the fun.
Skipper Bivins, host of Animal Planet's Hillbilly Handfishin'
, was also on hand.
Given the perennial popularity of University of Oklahoma football, an appearance
by former player Ryan Broyles
was also a popular addition to the auto
Hodges said the auto show continued with its Route 66 classic car exhibit, thanks
to participation by the Oklahoma Hot Rod
and the Oklahoma
Surrounding the Route 66 display were vendors with auto-related products, all
housed in its own 26,000-square-foot building.
Celebrating the show's 95th incarnation was a replication of the 1917 auto show,
an exhibit in its own right put on in cooperation with the Sooner Region Horseless
Carriage Association of America.
Still, new cars and trucks were the major draw. "The vast majority come to check
out the latest vehicles, there's no doubt about that," said Hodges.
Oklahoma residents haven't long to wait before they get another chance to check
out those vehicles, thanks to a second show held every year in connection with the
Oklahoma State Fair, this year scheduled from Sept. 13-23.
The major difference, explained Hodges, is the size. "We have just one building, so
it's quite a bit more compact, but we actually have more people attending because of
the popularity of the State Fair."
Profile: Oklahoma City International Auto Show
March 1-4, 2012
Oklahoma State Fair Park
213,000 gross sq. ft.
$10 adults; $4, children (7-12); 6 and under free.
Thurs-Friday, 11 am-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm
Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association
Peter Hodges, President, Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association
With an entirely new convention space at his disposal, Bob Vilas
, the ATAE
who heads the Edmonton Motor Dealers Association, must feel like the proverbial
kid in the candy shop.
"The question before us was 'how can we use all this space?'" noted Vilas, who
organizes the Edmonton Motor Show, held this season March 1-4 at the Edmonton
The expansion, which added 200,000 square feet to the original space, was
completed in December, 2009. Since then, the Edmonton Motor Show has taken full
use of that new space.
"It's become a new show," said Vilas of the half million square feet now at his
One addition to the show is a 54,000-square-foot collector car auction that has
seen about 120 cars auctioned in the last two years. With a sell percentage of about
70%, the dealers' association shares in the proceeds, which go toward scholarship
programs for auto technicians.
The show also includes another 58,000 square feet of aftermarket product displays,
which will be increased to 110,000 square feet next year.
Adjusting to the new space has been a steady but slow process, said Vilas. "We didn't
expand right away, but the success of the previous year gave us the confidence
to make these moves. In the end, we still had to turn down 24,000 square feet of
A third growth area comes in the form of a "Lux Lane," where an older hall was
converted into 77,000 square feet of luxury vehicle displays.
As Vilas explained, an entirely new atmosphere was created with the use of hanging
fabric from the 34-foot tall ceiling.
"We draped the area from floor to ceiling in black, pulling it out 10 feet from wall,"
explained Vilas. "That's normally lost space that manufacturers have taken as
storage, but the interesting thing is that doing that buffered the sound. When you
walked into the hall, it was a hush. And with 5,000 people in the hall, the hanging
fabric sucks up the noise."
Vilas said the new space, with cleaner deck plates, interconnecting hanging points
on the walls and a fully connected (hard wire and wireless) data infrastructure, all
contributed to the success of the show.
Social media is next on the auto show's agenda, including a smart phone app and a
revamped web site, both of which are on the drawing board.
"We didn't want to jump into things until we had a game plan. Now we're ready to
put things into place."
Profile: Edmonton Motor Show
March 1-4, 2012
Edmonton Expo Centre
500,000 square feet
$15 adults; $12, advance adult, seniors, students; children under 8
free; $36 family pass (two children, two adults)
Thurs-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm-
Edmonton Motor Dealers Association
Bob Vilas, Executive Director, Edmonton Motor Dealers Association
A strategic alliance with the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball helped
give those attending the 2012 Kansas City International Auto Show a chance to look
ahead to the MLB All-Star Game, to be played in the city July 10.
Tagged the “Signs of Spring,” the auto show was dressed to please with displays that
included the World’s Largest Baseball, Royals Hall of Fame memorabilia, the 1985
World Series Trophy, player autograph sessions, and the Negro Leagues Baseball
Museum—all sitting center-stage as red-white-and blue All-Star bunting lined the
perimeter of the exhibit hall.
, who serves as executive vice president of the Automobile
Dealers Association of Greater Kansas City, admitted that having the 2012 Big 12
Conference Basketball Tournament held at the same time as the auto show likely
At the same time, the auto show managed to make lemonade out of that particular
lemon by offering a $2 discount to those who showed their basketball tournament
ticket at the box office. That offer generated a 5% redemption response.
Those who did make it to the auto show got to participate in five Ride and Drive
events, including the indoor Camp Jeep Driving Experience, and events from General
Motors, Chrysler Group, and Kia and Subaru.
A display by the U.S. Army, which held four separate induction ceremonies for new
recruits during the auto show, was also popular with attendees.
"Those attractions were busy all day, every day," said Carl.
The auto show also partnered with the areas largest grocery chain in the area. With
no cash involved, Price Chopper customers were given a $1 off discount to attend
the auto show, with some 42% of ticket sales "touched" by the program.
Carl and his team gave an extra attendance push on Wednesday, Thursday and
Friday traffic by introducing a "2 tickets for $15" promotion, generating 36% of
ticket revenue during those days.
"Subsequent to the show, our dealers felt the 'afterglow' for weeks," said Carl. "It
capped off a very strong first quarter."
When you're in a part of the country where winters are challenging, just watch
what a warm spell can do to an auto show, even in a market that's outperforming
anything seen in recent years.
That's exactly what happened with the Twin Cities Auto Show, held March 10-18 at
the Minneapolis Convention Center and overseen by Scott Lambert
heads both the city and state auto dealers associations.
"It was a very good show, but we were fighting unseasonably good weather," said
Lambert, who took over auto show duties from a retiring Bill Abraham
some three years ago. "It was our first 70-degree weather in early March."
Nevertheless, Lambert, who has been with the state association for more than 20
years, is ready to grow the show, which has a 350,000-square-foot presence.
Lambert said keeping attendees entertained is part of the ongoing strategy. "This is
as much an entertainment venue as it is a place to show autos," he said, pointing out
that the latest show included a rock concert by Blood, Sweat and Tears
The auto show also provided a drive-up child seat safety check, with one free ticket
per vehicle participating.
Add the dancing robot that was featured at the show and you get the idea: always
something going on.
Lambert said the results speak for themselves: steady growth in attendance year
over year and pricing that has loosened up somewhat to make the auto show more
of a family event than ever before.
The local market, as is the case in most parts of North America, is in a resurgent
mood. "Things have been getting better since we bottomed out in 2009," noted
It's been quite a journey for Jeffrie Schultis-Fricke
, the ATAE in New
Orleans who runs the New Orleans Auto Show, and the Greater New Orleans New
Car Dealers Association.
In the ongoing post-Katrina environment, the Big Easy has now become one of the
fastest growing cities in America, with the auto show having grown steadily since
the natural disaster that almost closed the city.
"This year, as far as the auto show is concerned, we were very close to our pre-
Katrina attendance," said Schultis-Fricke. "We're very excited about that, especially
as we see manufacturer participation grow steadily."
The show, held in the monstrous Ernest N.
Morial Convention Center
, uses only about a fifth of the venue's total of 1.1
million square feet, which means organizers have lots of flex room for growth.
At this year's show, that scenario was put to the test, with more demand for display
space forcing organizers to open up a wall, giving room for concessions to operate.
"It worked out very well," said Schultis-Fricke. "As soon as you walked in, you could
see the eating area and we had a new caterer who had carts wheeling around the
Inside, in addition to all the new vehicles, a display of some 15 classic Corvette
vehicles, courtesy of a local club, was a highlight.
The rebuilding of the auto show is also reflective of a similar transformation in the
"We've really changed our footprint in many ways," said Schultis-Fricke. "There's
more green space now and the quality of life issues have been treated differently
compared to pre-Katrina. We have new hospitals, a new biomedical corridor, and
we're attracting high paying jobs in the engineering and bio medical fields."
Still, scheduling can be a challenge. For example, next year's show has been bumped
to April due to the Super Bowl.
Schultis-Fricke isn't complaining, having seen the accelerated schedule to transform
the city. "We thought it might take 25 years, but now it's looking like 15 to 20 years."
The wait will be worth it in the end, she added.
"It will be better than ever and that's what's exciting."
Profile: Greater New Orleans International Auto Show
March 16-18, 2012
Morial Convention Center
150,000 square feet
$9 adults; $5, military, seniors, children (12-17); children under
12 free, $16 family pack (two adults, two children).
Fri: noon-9 pm; Sat: 10 am-10 pm; Sun: 10 am to 6 pm
Jeffrie Schultis-Fricke, Show Director and Executive Director of the
Greater New Orleans New Car Dealers Association
Unlike many other markets in the United States, Rochester, New York, hasn't had the
tumultuous ups and downs of the auto industry.
Which means in great part the Rochester International Auto Show has been largely
unchanged during the last few years.
ATAE Brad McAreavy
, who heads the Rochester Automobile Dealers
Association, said attendance at this season's show, held March 1-4, was "very
similar" to last year.
Part of the dynamic is the relatively small size of the venue, the Rochester Riverside Convention Center
, with its 80,000
square feet of space.
"We basically pack cars in there, trying to get as many as we can," said
McAreavy. "We don't do a lot of other entertainment and we don't have booths for
things not related to selling cars."
One exception to that space-driven rule was a repeat from other years—a
continuing campaign to educate drivers on the dangers of distracting driving. A state
police-sponsored driving simulator shows teenagers how easy and dangerous it can
be to lose control of a vehicle while texting.
Appearances by Mini Cooper, Fisker and Smart were among the highlights from a
While space seems to be the show's biggest limiting factor, there's no solution to
that dilemma in sight, said McAreavy.
"We're the biggest show that takes place there," he said. "And for 99% of the events
that are held there, the space is just fine."
From an economic standpoint, former powerhouse companies like Xerox and Kodak
(now in bankruptcy) have largely been in a state of transformation. Today, the big
employers are universities and medical centers.
"Rochester is a community that fluctuates on a much narrower scope than the rest
of the country," said McAreavy. "In 2008-09, when car sales were down 20% per
year, we were never down more than 10% here."
Profile: Rochester International Auto Show
March 1-4, 2012
Rochester Riverside Convention Center
80,000 square feet
$9 adults; $6, military and seniors; $3, children under 12 (children under 5 free).
Thurs-Friday, noon-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm
Rochester Automobile Dealers Association
Brad McAreavy, President, Edmonton Motor Dealers Association
Automotive Trade Association Executives
The Auto Show Report
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
ATAE Executive Director