ASNA members will want to save the date for the annual Summer Meeting, this year to be held July 8-9, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
, Dana Point, Calif. As is the case in previous years, Summer Meeting attendees will meet for receptions on both Tuesday and Wednesday, with an all-day gathering on Wednesday. Planning for the Summer Meeting is well underway and details will be forthcoming in future issues of the Auto Show Report.
If experience counts for something, few would argue that Denise Martin
is one of the more bankable resources in the world of auto show production.
Now senior director of national sales at GES
, Martin's career includes not only the critical logistics side of the auto show business but a good many years on the producing side as well.
"I fell into it," explains Martin of her early connection with auto shows. "I worked with Bob Lilley, who owned Liberty Productions [a predecessor to Motor Trend Auto Shows] and at the time we did only one show—Harrisburg. But that was the start and we eventually added several others."
Martin eventually left Liberty, moving to the west coast, where she joined GES in its San Diego office.
A later promotion resulted in a move to Las Vegas, where she currently lives and works.
Her work at GES is clearly being acknowledged by people like Jeff Quade, the firm's chief sales officer.
“Denise knows the unique ins and outs of producing auto shows and is a trusted advisor to her clients,” said Quade. “During her career at GES, through hard work and dedication to our clients, she has grown our portfolio of auto shows. Denise is a true professional and a valued member of our team.”
Martin has embraced that role, which includes a whirlwind travel schedule that anyone involved with multiple auto shows is familiar with, some six months of the year largely spent flying in and out of her home city.
In fact, Martin may have taken frequent flyer privileges to an entirely different level. It's not unusual, for example, for an airline employee to recognize her, pick her up at the curb and help her navigate through the labyrinth of check in procedures. All done at their insistence, she's quick to point out.
"It's all done quietly, but it's a huge help."
Certainly, Martin been tireless in her work for GES. But she's also passionate in her ongoing role as an advocate for the auto show industry, exemplified by her involvement in the Auto Shows of North America organization.
"Denise is one of those early and sustained advocates of what ASNA has been doing over the years," noted Jennifer Colman, executive director of Automotive Trade Association Executives, the "parent" of ASNA. "Whenever we are putting together the agenda for our Summer Meeting or other discussions, we can count on Denise to be front and center as an active participant."
Over the years, Martin has built relationships with many at the myriad of auto shows she works on. "It's the people I work with, some of whom I've known for many, many years, that's the best thing about everything I do."
In that time, Martin has seen many changes to the business, embracing all of it.
From the continuing Ride & Drive phenomenon to the push for a more budget-conscious approach to building exhibits—using lighter and more flexible materials that can reduce shipping costs—Martin continues to stay current, even as she splits her cross-country workload among auto shows (about 75-percent of her time) and industry trade shows.
Oddly enough given her travel schedule, Martin counts personal travel among her hobbies.
But it's family—a slew of nieces and nephews and even a grandchild here and there—that remains her top priority.
Still, Martin remains an iconic member of an industry that continues to evolve.
"We've seen a lot of changes over the years and change is something that always shapes us and helps us to do better. Thankfully, that's part of the excitement and energy that I experience every day."
Alpha Romeo marked its North American return earlier this month at the 2014 New York International Auto Show with the highly anticipated, high-performance Alpha Romeo 4C. ATAE Mark Schienberg, who heads the NYIAS in addition to his duties as president of the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association, was clearly pleased: "We’re excited to have seen Alfa return to the U.S. and for making New York the place for its arrival. Over the past 114 years, the New York Auto Show has been the place for many important automotive announcements and vehicle launches. We’re pleased to add this major milestone to the list.”
Toyota is running a consumer trial of a personal mobility vehicle in Japan, gauging the effectiveness of an EV said to combine the convenience of a motorcycle with the comfort and stability of a car. Some 20 participants will be involved in tests that run through early June. Feedback will be collected on driving feel, user satisfaction, ease-of-use in urban areas and impact on destination choices. The i-Road was first shown as a concept at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and appeared this season at the Washington Auto Show.
Honda recently marked production of 20 million vehicles produced in the U.S., 10 million of those at Marysville, Ohio – its first U.S. plant. The first Japanese OEM to build in the U.S., Honda began production Nov. 1, 1982. Last year it produced 1.3 million vehicles at its four U.S. plants.
It may be losing the smartphone wars, but BlackBerry's QNX software is still seen to be the future for in-vehicle connections. Evidence of that is Ford's move to QNX, dropping Microsoft as the engine that powers its Sync system, a decision at least partly due to the open standards represented by QNX. Industry observers say QNX alone may not be enough to take BlackBerry to the market position it once had but CEO John Chen appears ready to exploit the advantage.
Even as Ride & Drive events at various auto shows in Canada and the U.S. gain in poularity, Ford is extending the idea through what it calls the "EcoBoost Challenge," to be held at a number of closed-course tracks throughout the country. The automaker says more than 90 percent of its North American car and truck lineup will feature the EcoBoost engine option by the end of 2014. Vehicles featured include the Focus ST, Fiesta ST, Mustang, F-150, Transit Connect Wagon and Expedition. Consumers can sign up at ecoboostdrive.com
An industry expert in auto show marketing says even an unprecedented ice storm in Portland, Ore., during the area's auto show wasn't enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the so-called "A-list" of shoppers and auto influencers. Steve Bruyn
, CEO of Foresight Research, said people who give recommendations to six or more people about vehicles were three times more likely to be at the show than the average. In fact, Bruyn added, that was a higher incident than any auto show measured by Foresight. Despite lower attendance, “they got the right people in the door."
A trick used by fuel misers to time far-ahead traffic lights so they can ease up on the gas before having to stop may be finding its way into vehicle systems. Audi, for example, says it has developed a system that can link up with a city's traffic light network, delivering information that would include how long the light will stay red (which would make the car's stop/start system shut down until five seconds before the light turns green). Audi, which is currently testing the system, says it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.
Ford Motor Company is honoring the memory of the last grandson of Henry Ford with a design scholarship program that will run for the next 20 years. William Clay Ford Sr.
, who died March 9, 2014, had worked at the company some 57 years, 32 as chairman of its design committee. "Design was Mr. Ford's passion, and his creative vision transformed vehicle design at Ford," said Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Co. fund and community services. "We are honoring William Clay Ford's legacy by encouraging and supporting the next generation of innovative automotive designers through this scholarship." The scholarships—five $10,000 prizes per year—will be awarded to outstanding college sophomores or juniors pursuing a degree in automotive design.
The company that helped to manage social media at the 2014 North American International Auto Show says several apps designed to allow users to share their personal experiences saw record-breaking results. Embark Digital worked with the Ally Auto, the official social media sponsor, to run the campaign using Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Google+ and Vine. "Journalists are responsible for being leading sources of news and information on the reveals and announcements," said Embark Digital President Mark Russell. "Our job was to also present NAIAS as a top source." Twitter, as one example, trended for a total of 15 hours with the hashtag #NAIAS, peaking at number one for 10 hours.
Rick Bourgoise, a veteran automotive journalist, has joined Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. where he will play a key role in regional media relations efforts. Most recently Bourgoise supported public relations efforts for automotive supplier clients at the agency level. He has also served as director of communications for Smart USA, where he orchestrated all national and local media relations and social media activities. Bourgoise has also worked for several major tier one automotive suppliers and supported automakers such as Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Honda, Mnissan, Volvo and Hyundai. He began his career as a producer at WJR News Talk Radio in Detroit after graduating with a bachelor's in communications and an MBA in marketing, both from the University of Michigan Dearborn campus.
The LA Auto Show, after what it calls "an extensive competitive review," has signed a multi-year agreement with Global Experience Specialists. The deal will have GES continue as official services and electrical provider while adding the provision of audio-visual services.
"We look forward to strengthening our existing relationship and working more directly with one of the thought leaders in the service and exhibits industry," said Terri Toennies, the auto show's general manager.
Hard to believe but it's been half a century since Ford introduced the game-changing Mustang. The automaker marked the April 17 birthday by repeating a stunt it did when the legendary pony car first poked out its head: putting one of the cars on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. By first disassemblying the vehicle and shipping the pieces to New York, Ford paid homage to a vehicle that is still making headlines.
Editor's Note: As a valued sponsor of various Auto Shows of North America events, Motor Trend provided the following editorial content.
Creating buzz. Driving car sales. Leveraging new technology. Motor Trend Auto Shows, LLC (MTAS)
produced 22 auto shows this season – and takes pride in doing things a little bit differently. Combining strong client partnerships with key performance indicators, measurement tools, and statistical analysis, MTAS (part of the Source Interlink Media Group) helps create shows that are not only first-class, but customized to each local market.
Motor Trend’s auto show production services offer numerous advantages to auto dealer associations nationwide.
Every MTAS show is promoted in Motor Trend Magazine
and extensively on social media. MTAS also announces the auto shows by e-mail to the subscribers of 50+ other Source Interlink Media magazines who live within a 60-mile radius of each show.
Leah Miller (left) is public relations coordinator for Motor Trend Auto Shows. She and Lauren Holzman, the firm's vice president of public relations, playfully demonstrate their "secret" to early morning auto show news coverage.
The volume of shows produced by MTAS affords clients financial benefits as well, including savings when it comes to negotiating general services contracts, purchasing carpet and buying showstoppers insurance.
Multi-show relationships with venue management companies, such as SMG, are extremely beneficial when negotiating lease rates, show dates and move in/out schedules. Even collateral printing costs are reduced because MTAS utilizes the same companies that print the millions of magazines for 50+ Source Interlink Media titles monthly, providing the unique advantage of access to high-volume discounts.
At MTAS, close client partnerships, attention to detail and creativity drive the team. With a staff of industry experts who, on average, have each been producing shows for upwards of 10 years, the MTAS team provides full-service auto show production.
Maintaining close contact with manufacturers on behalf of each MTAS show is a key component – and enables the team to seize opportunities and see market trends quickly.
With its auto show sales staff headquartered in Detroit, and with automotive magazine sales staff in Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York City speaking weekly to many of the major auto manufacturers, MTAS is able to quickly reach decision makers on behalf of each show.
Because manufacturer relationships are so important, MTAS hosts the annual MTAS Client Summit, where auto show executives and manufacturers’ auto show representatives gather to discuss opportunities for the upcoming season. This early June meeting enables each auto show executive to speak directly with the manufacturers very early in the planning process for the approaching season.
Continuing as a leader in the social and mobile markets, MTAS was one of the first auto show producers to create a comprehensive smartphone App for both the iOS and Android operating systems. Showgoers across the country use the App to seamlessly gather information, buy tickets, map their routes and link to social media; right from the palm of their hands.
The MTAS team creates a strong and tailored social media presence for each show and respective market. Through engaging with auto show attendees pre-show, teasing photos of the hottest vehicles and onsite social media ambassadors, each auto show has a unique voice. MTAS utilizes the most popular platforms to create conversations and open real-time channels of communication and promotion.
Partnering with MTAS not only helps each auto dealer association to reduce costs, but also offers distinct technology and business intelligence advantages. Whether presenting in-depth reporting on auto show attendees or designing and printing eye-catching auto show collateral materials at extremely competitive prices, MTAS focuses on maximizing the value delivered to each of their association clients.
Some years, as almost every auto show producer will tell you, everything just seems to click.
And other years … not so much.
For the West Virginia International Auto Show
it was the latter.
The disappointment came in the form of a double blow: a chemical spill that impacted the drinking water system, and a nasty bout of winter weather that put a damper on attendance, especially from those who come from out of town.
"From a content standpoint, the show was excellent," said Ruth Lemmon
, president of the West Virginia Automobile & Truck Dealers Association. "We sold all the space available and we had great exhibits."
But Lemmon acknowledged the impact both the water issue and the weather had on out-of-town attendees.
"Generally, people come to town, go shopping and go to the show," said Lemmon. "They make a great weekend of it. But this year that just didn't happen in the way it normally would."
On a positive note, an appearance by duPont Registry Live
received rave reviews, as did the show's Luxury Loft.
Ford brought its EcoBoost Simulator and show goers got to view a customized Ford Mustang pool table as part of their visit.
The show also featured Lizard Lick Towing
Co-Star Bobby Brantley (a reality TV phenomenon based in Wendell, North Carolina).
Profile: West Virginia International Auto Show
Jan. 24-26, 2014
Charleston Civic Center
120,000 square feet
$10 adults (13 and over), $5 seniors (65+), $3 children (7-12), FREE children 6 and under.
Friday & Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-5 pm.
Motor Trend Auto Shows
ATAE Ruth Lemmon
West Virginia Automobile & Truck Dealers Association
Already acknowledged as one of the most influential auto shows in the world, the most recent North American International Auto Show
continued to evolve amid multi-year renovations at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.
The good news is how the Detroit Auto Dealers Association plans to take greater advantage of the nearly completed $300-million project in subsequent shows.
Next year, for example, plans are already being developed for yet another expansion of the iconic Michelin Media Center, host to more than 5,000 journalists from around the world during the two-day press event. Thought to be the largest in the world, the MMC may be housed in the new 40,000-square-foot Grand Riverview Ballroom.
Expectations are also growing that as other new and renovated areas of Cobo Center become available, automakers will find creative ways of using the space.
“When we meet off-season with manufacturers their first question is ‘can we have more space?’” says ATAE and NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts
. “Now we say, ‘maybe,’ instead of ‘no,’” laughs Alberts. “The point is we’re headed in the right direction and have added 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, a new glass-enclosed three-story atrium with spectacular views of the Detroit River and Windsor skyline, and an additional 20,800 square feet of ballroom and meeting space, which will be available in January.”
Alberts adds that the adjacent Joe Louis Arena, which is already being used by some manufacturers for NAIAS press conferences, may be available for Cobo Center annexation in the future as major tenant Detroit Red Wings looks to build a new hockey arena elsewhere in the city.
“It’s up to the convention authority to make that happen, but I know it’s on the table, and has a lot of people excited,” adds Alberts.
Plans are also underway for an even closer relationship between NAIAS and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
, a Shanghai-based business-government group that works with Chinese automakers, and produces shows and events in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and elsewhere.
"It’s a friendly and productive relationship and we’ve been resourceful to each other in several ways,” says Alberts. “We fully expect that additional space at Cobo Center will provide opportunities to do even more with the CCPIT, which I know is anxious to bring exhibits and products to NAIAS.”
NAIAS is four shows in one: Press Preview, Industry Preview, Charity Preview, and Public Show. The NAIAS Charity Preview, the largest single night fundraiser in North America, raised $4.5 million for area children’s charities, with the help of entertainer Sheryl Crow
, who performed for 90-minutes following the black tie event.
Alberts says it’s a team effort that makes NAIAS an enduring factor with an obviously auto-centric crowd.
Even when challenges like an impromptu visit from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
become a priority, Alberts says his staff came through with flying colors.
“No doubt we’re honored to host special dignitaries at NAIAS,” he says. “We’ve had the president; the vice president; several governors; numerous members of congress; United Nations delegates; and cabinet members. While it does create a new set of challenges, like every other ASNA member, it’s what we do as event planners.
"You can anticipate all you like, but surprises are all part of what makes great shows great shows. We roll up our sleeves, and get to work."
Profile: North American International Auto Show
Jan. 13-26, 2014
1 million square feet
$13 adults (13 and over), $7 seniors (65+), $7 children (7-12), FREE children 6 and under.
Sat., Jan. 18 to Sat., Jan. 25, 9 am-10 pm; Sun., Jan. 26, 9 am-7 pm.
Detroit Auto Dealers Association
ATAE Rod Alberts
Executive Vice President
Detroit Auto Dealers Association
While virtually every auto show going has its own unique style and atmosphere, there are less than a handful of events that actually allow dealers to sell vehicles at the show itself.
One of those is the Pennsylvania Auto Show
, an event that includes public sales.
Owned by a group of dealers (the Harrisburg Automotive Trade Association) and produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows (which has an office in Harrisburg), the auto show takes place in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center with the show spreading out into five separate halls.
, executive producer of the show, and Tina Cline
, show manager, enjoyed a nearly 12 percent increase in attendance over the previous year, a gain that's reflective of an improved local economy.
But it's also a show that's traditionally well-supported and well-attended, said Berger.
"Every year it's an opportunity for families to get out and do something together, which has become a tradition for us," he said.
And at least some of those take advantage of the opportunity to actually buy their next new vehicle.
The show even has an area set aside for certified pre-owned vehicles, with inventory for that area constantly refreshed as vehicles are tagged as “sold” to visitors.
Adding to the excitement leading up to the show is the effort made to promote the sales through a local credit union that partners with organizers.
"They start sending out their own solicitations early, so we enjoy success on all fronts," said Berger.
Even so, this is a no-pressure environment when it comes to buyers.
"It's still low pressure," noted Berger. "When you consider the sheer number of people going through the show, someone who wants to buy a particular vehicle has to make a point of connecting with the sales person who is there."
One interesting feature that the dealer group enthusiastically embraced was a vehicle giveaway that saw show goers receiving an entry form that they filled out with their choice of vehicle from among 10 cars brought to the event. Beginning with one ticket from each of 10 entry barrels, eventually one winner was chosen, that person being able to take home their vehicle; nine runner up winners took home a $100 gift card.
That alone generated substantial media coverage, said Berger. "It was packed."
Profile: Pennsylvania Auto & Boat Show
Jan. 23-26, 2014
Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex
305,848 square feet
Adults (13 and over), $8; Seniors (62 and over), $5; Military, $5; Children (7 to 12), $3; Children (6 and under, Free
Wed.-Thurs., 1 pm-9 pm; Fri.-Sat., 10 am-9 pm; Sun., 10 am-5 pm.
Motor Trend Auto Shows
ATAE Ray Bromley
Harrisburg Automotive Trade Association
It's hard to imagine just how dramatic a turnaround the Houston Auto Show
has experienced in the last few years.
But let's give Wyatt Wainwright
"We've gone from occupying 350,000 square feet at the Reliant Center to the entire 710,000 square feet," says Wainwright, who succeeded another Wainwright as president of the Houston Auto Dealers Association upon the retirement of his father, Walter.
As far as attendance is concerned, it's another good news story.
"Our increases have been nothing short of staggering," said Wainwright, a former insurance broker who counted several dealers among his clientele before he was asked to head up the dealership association.
The Houston Auto Show is now managed entirely in-house, a change that started with a transition from the previous show management firm about four years ago. For the last two years, Wainwright and his team have been on their own.
With that has come a number of initiatives that Wainwright says have breathed new life into the event.
Significant among those is the Ride and Drive set up that the Reliant Center brings to the show.
"We have a perfect situation for these kinds of events," says Wainwright, talking about an expansion from the 15 Ride and Drive opportunities that are outside the hall. "This year we created an indoor Ride and Drive lounge, with each of the manufacturers hosting their own separate lounge."
As visitors enter the Ride and Drive lounge, they gravitate toward the brand of their choice, choose a vehicle to test and later re-enter the main hall and continue with the rest of their auto show visit.
"It made for a perfect scenario," notes Wainwright, who admits it was an initiative that came out of a simple, winning idea. "It was one of those 'you build it, they will come.' And it worked."
As far as the reasons for the recent success of the show, Wainwright is hesitant to point to any one as being more important than another.
"The Texas economy is booming and that is likely to continue," he added. "It's just crazy. We took a good, quality show and ran with it."
Strong manufacturer support has been key, added Wainwright.
But even with that success, Wainwright said he sees some of the best years are still ahead.
"We're running down the tracks. And we're nowhere close to where we plan to be with this show."
Profile: Houston Auto Show
Jan. 22-26, 2014
700,000 square feet
$10, Adults; $5, Children (7-12), FREE under 7
Wed.-Friday, noon-9:30 pm, Sat. 10 am-9:30 pm, Sun., 10 am-7 pm.
Houston Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Wyatt Wainwright
Houston Automobile Dealers Association
From an organizational standpoint, there may be nothing quite like the annual Midlands International Auto Show
The unique aspect of the show, which is owned by the Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association, has to do with the show producer—Omaha’s daily newspaper.
Tam Webb, who, as an employee of the Omaha World-Herald
, produces the show, calls the most recent event "a really great show."
Boasting a 20 percent increase over last year, one of the key reasons for this year's success is what didn't happen.
"We had regular January weather," noted Webb. "Nothing terrible, meaning we weren't hit with any heavy snows."
But that doesn't mean that Webb and her team at the newspaper were hands off.
Indeed, as other smaller shows throughout Canada and the U.S. undoubtedly know, you promote what automakers are able to bring to the event, knowing that not every introduction will be available for display.
In the case of Omaha, Webb found out early that at least two vehicles—the 2015 Mustang and 2015 Ford F-150—were indeed Nebraska-bound.
"Those were huge for us," said Webb. "And because we knew they were coming, we hit them really hard."
Webb said she's learned to pull out all the stops when it comes to vehicles that stop at the Midlands show.
"If you tell me it's coming, I'll promote the heck out of it," said Webb, adding that the relationships she has been able to develop with manufacturers and dealers help. "We don't get the big concept cars so we have to create the excitement."
"I'm relentless," said Webb. "I call everybody I know and when I find out if a particular vehicle is coming, I can change things around, not only in our newspaper but on the Internet, and on digital billboards."
This year's increase in attendance came during all four days of the show.
Besides the vehicles being promoted, Webb was able to convince some local classic car enthusiasts to break out their vehicles – no small feat in the dead of winter when they’re typically crated and stored.
"These people don't generally show their cars and they don't even like people knowing they own them, so it was a big deal," said Webb of the display, fittingly dubbed, "The Private Collection."
Profile: Midlands International Auto Show
Jan. 23-26, 2014
Century Link Center
194,000 square feet
$9, Adults; $6, Children (7-12) and Military (with ID), Seniors (65+), FREE 6 and younger
Thursday 11 am-9 pm; Friday & Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-5 pm
ATAE Loy Todd Jr.
Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association
Yes, there was snow in Portland this year. In February, the weekend of the Portland International Auto Show
. And, yes, there was ice.
Not a good combination anywhere, but those conditions were compounded by the fact that area residents hadn't seen this kind of weather in perhaps 20 years (and some, in all likelihood, never in their lifetime).
Local TV stations told viewers to stay in. A cell phone company sent an emergency alert warning of dangerous roads and sidewalks. Few residents and businesses in Portland own snow shovels.
Show management and its PR team went into crisis response mode, developed a communications strategy, and quickly worked the phones, the Internet and, with the event’s Social Media partner, disseminated a variety of key messages, the most important of which was: “Yes, the show is open.”
And, as show manager Jeff Fishback
explained, those who did make it to the event turned out to be an exceptionally qualified audience.
"We had a lot of feedback from our dealers that the people who did show up at their displays were very keen to make a purchase," said Fishback, echoing the qualitative results of a show audit done by Foresight Research that essentially made the same point (see details in “Industry News” in this issue of The Auto Show Report
And those who did attend the show were certainly rewarded for their effort, including catching a glimpse of the 2015 Ford Mustang and 2015 Chrysler 200 prototype vehicles.
"There was a lot of buzz around those vehicles," noted Fishback. “The camera-phones never stopped clicking.”
ATAE Greg Remensperger
, who serves as executive vice president of the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association, agreed that this year's event, weather aside, was one of the most successful he's experienced in some time.
One key highlight could be described as a "reinvented" industry-only preview to the "Sneak Peek Charity Preview Party" that generated $250,000, divided among four local charities (Meals on Wheels
, Providence Medical Foundation
, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland
, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
And because the dealership association footed the entire $170,000 cost, the full $100 ticket price was able to be receipted as a tax-deductible contribution.
Featured entertainment included two very popular country acts—American Young
and Jack Ingram
"We exceeded our expectations," said Remensperger of the inaugural re-make of the charity event.
As far as the auto show overall, Remensperger points to a "perfect storm" that included a healthy dose of pent-up demand. "When you look at the average age of vehicles on the road, it's still over 11 years. And there are lots of vehicles being taken off the road as scrap. Combine that with manufacturer incentives, and you get this kind of response."
This year's highlights included not only some eight Ride & Drive events, but an indoor "test drive" of BMW's i3 that drew crowds.
There were also a number of classics for show goers to admire, the second year of a Facebook-supported campaign that invited members of various regional car clubs to apply for one of 20 spots in a "Forum Car Challenge."
When owners posted their "application," Facebook visitors got to vote on their favorite, ensuring the top 20 vote getters would be invited to the show.
"That was a big hit," noted Fishback, "and has become something of a tradition for us."
Another returning feature included the “Luxury Loft,” which, due to its popularity last year, expanded to include two ballrooms full of over the top luxury vehicles.
Ultimately, Remensperger preferred looking at the “glass half full” side of things. “Our audience wasn’t down,” said Remensperger, “it was simply more exclusive.”
Profile: Portland International Auto Show
February 6-9, 2014
Oregon Convention Center
400,000 square feet
$12, Adults; $10, Seniors (62+) & Military with ID; $7, Children (7-12); FREE, Children under 6 accompanied with an adult; $30, Family Pass (includes two adults, two children, good for any single day).
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm
Oregon Auto Dealers Association
Greg Remensperger, ATAE
Executive Vice President, Oregon Auto Dealers Association
For Pamela Crail
, president of the San Antonio Automobile Dealers Association, the success enjoyed at the most recent San Antonio Auto & Truck Show
was mostly about creating a plan and making sure the elements were executed.
Which is exactly what happened.
"We set several benchmarks for ourselves, including press attention, more integration with the OEMs, and, obviously, more attendance," noted Crail, who has been with the association some five years following the retirement of Minda Welch.
The "obviously" part of the attendance benchmark is deserving: San Antonio enjoyed a 30 percent bump in gate receipts over last year.
A big jump in media attention was at least partly related to the return of a "Media Morning," held just before the show opened to the public, an opportunity for invited press to attend news conferences that generated a substantial amount of attention—driving traffic to the four-day show.
"It's the first time in 10 years that we've had that event, but it's definitely something that we will continue to do next year," said Crail.
Crail and her team also turned up the dial on their marketing efforts, not only through the various social media outlets, but through online promotions, too.
She also started with a brand new group, all aligned with those benchmarks. "We were very specific with all of the moves we made this year," said Crail. "That incuded having a new advertising team, a new digital team, and a new public relations firm. It was a very calculated strategy and it worked."
Having a booming economy in Texas doesn't hurt, but Crail said she believes it really was about the outreach in media – both paid and earned – that made the biggest difference.
"We just ramped everything up as part of our outreach strategy. And good things were the result of a good effort."
Profile: San Antonio International Auto Show
Nov. 21-24, 2013
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
300,000+ square feet
$8 adults, 10 and under FREE.
Thursday, 2 pm-10 pm; Friday, 2 pm-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 11 to 7 pm.
San Antonio Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Pam Crail
President, San Antonio Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Chris Adelmann
, executive director of the St. Louis Auto Dealers Association and head of the annual St. Louis Auto Show
, has no doubt that the event has rebounded from years when not everything was quite as bright as it is today.
Even with the first two days bringing "bone-chilling" cold to the area, milder weather over the weekend brought back record crowds and an overall two-percent increase in attendance over last year.
Having Brett Hull
, a former St. Louis Blues player, Hockey Hall of Famer and now executive vice president of the NHL team, to warm up the event couldn't have hurt.
"The weekend traffic was tremendous," said Adelmann, obviously elated with the results.
What also drove attendance was a demonstration by drifting champ Vaughn Gittin Jr.
, presented by Ford. Vaughn and his Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR are said to be iconic in the world of professional competitive drifting and his appearance at the auto show was a definite hit.
"It provided us with the 'wow' factor we were looking for," added Adelmann.
Another show feature was the Eightup Riders
, a local motorcycle stunt team that performs and wins many local competitions and shows.
Adelmann said the future of the St. Louis Auto Show remains bright.
"We have what I would call a well-oiled machine," he said. "We've got a good team and a good thing going."
Profile: Saint Louis Auto Show
Jan. 23-26, 2014
America's Center and Edward Jones Dome
502,000 square feet
$10, Adults; $5, Children (6-12), FREE, Children under 6
Thurs., noon-9 pm; Fri., noon-10 pm; Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun., 10 am-5 pm.
Saint Louis Auto Dealers Association
ATAE Chris Adelmann
Executive Vice President
St. Louis Auto Dealers Association
Automotive Trade Association Executives
The Auto Show Report
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
ATAE Executive Director