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ASNA - The Auto Show Report
Volume Nine, Issue Five - May 2014
In This Issue:

Industry News
» Save the date for another great ASNA Summer Meeting
» Jim Lentz Industry Leader of the Year
» Nissan LCD rearview mirror lauded at NY conference
» Dealer employment hits 1 million; first time since recession
» Half of cars stolen in London hacked
» Derse promotes Jason Gobeyn to vice president
» Mitsubishi Motors names Alex Fedorak PR manager
» Maserati North America has new communications manager
» Jamie Noll takes over auto shows for Chrysler
» PR veteran Tony Cervone rejoins GM
» LA gets major refresh on logo
» Understanding what makes live events so powerful

Show Profiles
» Albany: From the parking lot to the dealership
» Buffalo: Show length helps ease manufacturer logistics
» Calgary: Change in ticketing produces happy customers
» Chicago: Show pushes forward with more interactivity, more women
» Columbus: Focus on social media helps show gain ground
» Dayton: Social media photo contest builds show interest
» Pittsburgh: Free parking drives show attendance
» Providence: Sidestepping Super Bowl has made big difference
» Toledo: Connecting with Mud Hens helps with enthusiasm
» Washington: Public policy discussions front and center at DC show

» Show Directory
» Credits/Contacts

Industry News

Save the date for another great ASNA Summer Meeting

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.

Jim Lentz Industry Leader of the Year

Jim Lentz
Several industry notables will be honored at the Automotive Hall of Fame induction and awards ceremony at Detroit's College for Creative Studies, July 24. Among the honorees are Keith E. Crain, chairman of Crain Communications; Ferdinand K. Piech, chairman of the Supervisory Board at Volkswagen Group; J. David Power III, founder of J.D. Power and Associates; and the late Alex Tremulis, a legendary automotive designer who passed away in 1991. Also, Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales USA president and COO, will be recognized as Industry Leader of the Year. Meanwhile, Ken Gross, a writer, curator and historian; and Frank Venegas Jr., chairman and CEO of the Ideal Group, a Tier One Supplier, will both receive Distinguished Service Citations from the Automotive Hall of Fame, now in its 75th anniversary year. More information on the awards program is available at automotivehalloffame.org.

Nissan LCD rearview mirror lauded at NY conference

An innovative rearview mirror technology unveiled at the recent World Traffic Safety Symposium, held in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show, has already earned at least one accolade - a Traffic Safety Achievement Award. The award is presented annually to organizations and individuals who help create a safer environment for motorists and pedestrians. The device is said to be the world's first LCD monitor that not only provides clear rearward visibility under various conditions, but also allows the driver to switch between the LCD monitor and the traditional rearview mirror. The innovation was one of only three winners recognized for demonstrating "the most cutting-edge, life-saving safety features available in vehicles today," according to the World Traffic Safety Symposium.

Dealer employment hits 1 million; first time since recession

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has announced employment at U.S. franchised new-car dealerships rose 3.4 percent over last year and topped 1 million for the first time since 2009. In spite of rising employment rates, profitability has remained flat, largely due to what NADA chief economist Steven Szakaly calls "fierce competition." Szakaly said slim retailing margins are likely to continue. Indeed, gross margins on new car and light truck sales fell last year, even as advertising went up by 6.1 percent. Dealers now spend on average a full one-third of their advertising on the Internet, up from 26.5 percent the year previous, said NADA.

Half of cars stolen in London hacked

Police in London, England, say half of all car thefts in the city occur from the use of electronic gadgets, essentially cheap locksmithing tools that allow thieves to drive away with high-priced autos without even breaking a window. The report from the Daily Mail says any car with an onboard computer is a target of the hacking. "High-end vehicles are becoming more and more sophisticated. In turn, so are criminals," the newspaper quoted London police. Law enforcement says they are working with manufacturers to add more security, including using steering-wheel locks and tracking devices.

Derse promotes Jason Gobeyn to vice president

Jason Gobeyn
Derse, a face-to-face marketing firm, has promoted Jason Gobeyn to vice president of business development. Having joined Derse in 2009, Gobeyn has more than 20 years of experience in auto show, trade show and event management and was the firm's director of business development prior to the announcement. Gobeyn has worked in the automotive industry since 1995, helping develop face-to-face strategies for accounts such as Saturn, Hyundai, Aisin, and Mazda. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (arts and communications).

Mitsubishi Motors names Alex Fedorak PR manager

Alex Fedorak
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) has hired veteran industry communicator Alex Fedorak as its new public relations manager. MMNA executive vice president Don Swearingen said Fedorak's background "will serve the company well as we continue to increase vehicle sales across our current product line, as well as prepare to launch innovative new vehicle models." Fedorak's background includes having worked at various automakers and public relations agencies. Early in his diverse career, he also earned a certification as an automobile service and repair technician.

Maserati North America has new communications manager

With the departure of Jeffrey Ehoodin, Maserati North America has named Jiannina Castro as communications manager, working out of the automaker's Englewood Cliffs, N.J., offices.

Jamie Noll takes over auto shows for Chrysler

Jamie Noll, formerly global dealer advertising manager, is now responsible for the global auto shows and events organization. The announcement was made by Olivier Francois, Chrysler Group's chief marketing officer.

PR veteran Tony Cervone rejoins GM

Tony Cervone
A once and now current General Motors executive is back to steer the public relations efforts of the automaker. Tony Cervone, who had previously served as one of the company's spokespersons on the sometimes-bumpy ride to bankruptcy, has been rehired as senior vice president, Global Communications. He succeeds Selim Bingol, who left GM in April. Cervone had been, since 2011, executive vice president for corporate communications at Volkswagen Group of America. He had left GM in 2009. Cervone told Automotive News that he jumped at the opportunity to take a job he described as the "preeminent automotive communications job in the industry." Cervone is now back working with his mentor, Steve Harris, who GM lured out of retirement as a consultant. Harris and Cervone had previously worked together at Chrysler during its pre-Daimler days.

LA gets major refresh on logo

Calling it a "New Direction. New Logo," the Los Angeles Auto Show has revealed a brand mark it hopes will "better serve our partners and help create a more modern, nimble and innovative auto industry." The logo, organizers of the show said, reflects the modernization of the event—set to begin Nov. 18 with the Connected Car Expo and a Press Days kickoff party—"while holding true to the style and attitude that makes LA the car culture capital of the world." The LA Auto Show will be open to the public Nov. 21-30, 2014.

Understanding what makes live events so powerful
Freeman's Bob Audette focuses on clients who understand the value of time

When Bob Audette first graduated from college (Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.), he might have turned his degree in criminal and social justice into a career in law enforcement, perhaps going on to earn a law degree, even joining the FBI.

But he heeded the advice of a friend and stuck his toe in the ocean of business, this particular sea being those where the tides of various events around the country ebb and flow.

Shortly after, when his first employer sold part of its business to Freeman Decorating, Audette found himself with a new business card. And while the numbers and words may have changed in those three-plus decades, he's still doing what he's always loved to do: serving clients like the San Diego International Auto Show and the Silicon Valley Auto Show as well as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Radiological Society of North America, ACE Hardware, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and numerous other clients.

Since 1927, Freeman has been one of the premier providers of integrated experiential marketing solutions for live engagements including expositions, conventions, corporate events and exhibits. It has more than 70 offices in North America and the UK, and produces more than 4,300 expositions annually, including 135 of the 250 largest U.S. trade shows, and 11,000 other events worldwide.

An employee-owned company, Freeman places an emphasis on respect for people and providing unparalleled customer service. The firm has received numerous trade show industry awards for excellence in leadership, creative design, community service, innovation and customer-driven partnerships.

Working from Freeman's head office in Dallas, Audette returns home every Thursday to the home he shares with his wife Sophie in Fairhope, Ala., a community of about 15,000 on the shores of Mobile Bay.

On most weekends, he tries to avoid travel, preferring instead to pamper Sophie, now retired from a business where she helped companies with a sales presence on the Internet stay compliant with their customer communications.

"My wife and I are equestrian enthusiasts and we spend a lot of time together with our hobbies, and those are our animals," says Bob, who was about to get on a horse when the phone first rang about the interview for this Auto Show Report profile. The Audettes also have a son in Chicago and a granddaughter to keep them busy.

They've also just bought a two-year-old German Shepherd who's fully trained in assisting people with multiple sclerosis, a disease with which Sophie Audette is living.

But when it comes to work, Audette is clearly focused. He’s the kind of guy who is not only in the moment but who definitely sees the big picture from the perspective of a client facing constant change in whatever the business it is that Freeman has been asked to serve.

"Technology is such an important element and it’s moving so fast that the question we find ourselves asking is how we continue to connect that technology with the face-to-face environment," he says. " While we want to do the research on the Internet, we also want the handshake, we want the human interaction and we need to be able to manage the technology in harmony with the human interaction."

In the case of auto shows (he is an active participant in various Auto Shows of North America events, including the annual Summer Meeting), Audette has a theory and one that drives his interest, making him a better all-around provider of service to the many other clients he serves.

"The auto industry is an indicator of the economy in general," he says. "If the auto industry is doing well, the rest of the economy does the same and the trade show industry follows suit."

Today's biggest business challenge, says Audette, remains time.

"We're all tasked with doing more with less people, prioritizing projects and dealing with our clients, our company and with family."

Specifically regarding ASNA events, Audette says the time he invests in being involved is well worth it.

"ASNA provides an engaging community environment that encourages open dialogue amongst peers and in turn the exchange of ideas. The product of these interactions is an industry that continues to provide a 'dream to reality experience' for auto show participants," he says.

But there's also the general business environment that has changed and continues to evolve.

"As the industry shifts, we find now that the process of making business decisions has changed. Where it used to be the exhibit managers that called the shots, now it's the marketing departments, where a question of where the money is spent is based on Return on Investment."

The question Audette says now needs to be asked even more than it did when he joined the industry, revolves around that time question.

"It's the 'why should I come?' question," he says. "It's more for the attendees: what can we do to provide the products and services that augment exhibitors' marketing efforts, making the production of trade shows easier and more engaging?"

Wise words, indeed, for anyone involved in the business of auto shows.

Show Profiles

Albany: From the parking lot to the dealership

"Pent-up demand" may be two of the nicest sounding words in the dictionary of auto show managers.

Among them is Kim Perrella, who, as vice president, Auto Shows and Member Relations for the Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Retailers, runs the Albany Auto Show.

With a 19 percent increase in attendance over last year, this season's show benefited from not only that pent-up demand, but a break in weather that had enthusiasts doing just what Perrella and her team urged: "Get up and go."

A special promotion was well received that offered half-price tickets for those serving in the military, first aid responders, police, fire fighters, and even college students.

Perrella admits that sometimes the elements, including weather and even the calendar aren't always the best.

"Last year, we were on St. Patrick's Day and that worked against us," she noted. "This year, it just seemed everything worked together in our favor."

New for the Albany Auto Show was a display of aerialists from CirqOvation.

"They were right above the arena floor and the vehicles and they were a big hit," said Perrella of the specialty act, which performed several times throughout the show.

But connecting interested buyers with dealers is ultimately what auto shows are all about and Albany is no exception.

"We had extremely positive feedback from our dealers," said Perrella. "The weeks before and after the show were very strong for them. Our show is manned with dealership staff and people can - and do - go right from the parking lot to the dealership."

Looking ahead, plans "are finally moving ahead" for a convention center in Albany, one of only a few state capitals lacking such a facility, expected to be complete by fall 2016.

Profile: Albany Auto Show

March 7-9, 2014

Times Union Center

Exhibit Space:
50,000 square feet

$8, Adults (13 and over). Half price for Military, Police, Fire, First Aid, College Students (all with ID).

Show Hours:
Friday, 11 am-7 pm; Sat., 10 am-7 pm; Sun., 10 am-5 pm.

Produced by:
Eastern New York Coalition of Auto Retailers

Show Contact:
ATAE Deborah Dorman
President, Eastern New York Coalition of Auto Retailers
518.452.0584 (ext. 201), deborah@enycar.org

Kim Perrella
Vice President, Auto Shows and Member Relations
518.452.0584 (ext. 202), kim@enycar.org

Show Website:

Buffalo: Show length helps ease manufacturer logistics

You might think going from a five-day to a four-day event would complicate things for organizers of the Buffalo Auto Show.

But it actually helped in ways that manufacturers appreciate, says ATAE Paul Stasiak of the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association (NFADA).

"The biggest problem with the five-day show was the move-in logistics," said Stasiak. "By trimming it to four days, we helped them reduce overtime and save money."

And, by the way, the Buffalo Auto Show still enjoyed an increase in attendance.

It also continued with its charity night event, which was moved one day forward. The dealer association's annual event featured gourmet food stations, wine and cheese tastings, spirits tasting, prize giveaways, valet parking and an impressive line-up of entertainers, with net proceeds benefitting the NFADA Charitable Foundation.

Since 1999, the foundation has donated more than a half-million dollars to area organizations.

Show manager Trey Barrett was able to attract a number of sports celebrities, including Reggie Jackson, the former baseball great who was on hand to sign autographs.

Other celebrities present included former NASCAR driver Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, Buffalo Braves basketball great Ernie DiGregorio and the legendary Buffalo Bills "Electric Company," made up of Joe Ferguson, Joe DeLamielleure, Reggie McKenzie, Mike Montler, Donnie Green, Paul Seymour and J.D. Hill.

Profile: Buffalo Auto Show

Feb. 6-9, 2014

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
110,000 square feet

$9, Adults; FREE, Children 4 and under. Presale: $8 Presale Discount Tickets and $27 Family 4 Pack available at Tops, Wegmans, NOCO and Dash's. $8 tickets also available at www.buffaloautoshow.com.

Show Hours:
Thursday-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm.

Produced by:
Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Paul Stasiak
President, Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association
716.631.8510, pstasiak@nfada.com

Trey Barrett, show manager
716.631.8510, trey@nfada.com

Show Website:

Calgary: Change in ticketing produces happy customers

An amazing thing happens when you radically change the ticketing process at an event like an auto show.

Or, to be more specific, the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show.

Show manager and ATAE Jim Gillespie, who has just wrapped up his sixth show (he was a dealer in the area before taking over from Jack Thompson), said three kiosks set up at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park "did the business of a complete ticket office for me."

The benefit was more than simple efficiency, said Gillespie.

"People were walking into the show happy and that's a big thing - the alternative being waiting 45 minutes in line."

Another change Gillespie made this season was to shift a good portion of his advertising from traditional media to online.

The results speak for themselves: attendance was up slightly (two percent), even after an all-time record from last year.

Another healthy showing at the 15th annual Vehicles & Violins Gala benefitted three local charities - the Canadian Cancer Society, Inn From the Cold, and KidSport Calgary.

Gillespie is obviously willing to experiment, one example being a Ladies Night promotion that saw the first 500 visitors receiving a red rose. One lucky lady won a half-carat diamond.

"It was a home run for us," he said.

That said, parking is sometimes a challenge given the popularity of the NHL Calgary Flames, which plays nearby.

Gillespie said a strong economy is helping to drive auto sales, which the show clearly helps to continue moving forward.

Profile: Calgary International Auto & Truck Show

March 12-16, 2014

BMO Centre, Stampede Park

Exhibit Space:
250,000 square feet

$10 (weekday), $15 (weekend), Adults; $8, Seniors, Youth (11-17) FREE, Children 10 and under (accompanied by adult). $29, Family (two adults, two youth).

Show Hours:
Wednesday, 3 pm-10 pm; Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm.

Produced by:
Calgary Motor Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Jim Gillespie
Executive Manager
Calgary Motor Dealers Association
403.974.0707 jimg@cmdacars.com

Show Website:

Chicago: Show pushes forward with more interactivity, more women

Like many other auto shows this season, Chicago experienced the wrath of winter, with two storms hitting the first and last days of the Chicago Auto Show.

And while it's difficult to completely recover from two days of weather, ATAE David Sloan did say there was plenty to remain positive about in a review of the event, in spite of a small decline in overall attendance.

One is that the percentage of females who attend the show continues to rise. This year that number, measured by Foresight Research, was 54 percent, up from 40 percent a year earlier.

The significance, Sloan said, is quite simple: women continue to play an important role in the car buying process.

"They also tend to be new attendees to the show," said Sloan. "And once we have someone here for the first time, they tend to return."

And this year, there was plenty to enthuse those who embraced the auto show as the place to be.

One was Camp Jeep, which returned to McCormick Place for its 10th appearance. "They do it unlike anywhere else," said Sloan. "You feel like you're on an off-road course, with trees and mulch, even though it's all indoors."

Sloan said it's a testament to the popularity of Camp Jeep that even after a decade of coming to the Chicago Auto Show 45-minute lines are commonplace. "I would call that sustained popularity."

Another Ride and Drive participant was Toyota, which built an off-road, indoor track it used to highlight its truck products and even used the facility - resembling a construction site - as the venue for a press conference.

Six outdoor Ride and Drive events were also part of the show's success story.

But making sure those attending the show get to see all the new vehicles over one million square feet at McCormick Place is one thing - helping them navigate the roads of Chicago is another.

For 20 years, show organizers have done something that borders on the brilliant: they take local traffic reporters out for dinner prior to the auto show.

"We want to make sure they tell people how to get to the show," noted Sloan. "We work for them, helping them with information about best routes and parking and believe me, it pays off big time."

Sloan also points to automakers that produced some of the most interactive displays he's seen in recent memory.

"These are not just cars on carpets. Having interactive displays are a way to engage families and it was a message we made sure we pushed in all our advertising since it's a key one for families who are considering attending the Chicago Auto Show."

And yes, it resonated with female attendees as well.

Profile: Chicago Auto Show

Feb. 8-17, 2014

McCormick Place

Exhibit Space:
1 million square feet

$12 adults (13 and over), $6 seniors (65+) and children (7-12)

Show Hours:
10 am-10 pm. Last day 10 am-8 pm

Produced by:
Chicago Automobile Trade Association

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

Show Website:

Columbus: Focus on social media helps show gain ground

When you're up in attendance by 33 percent (as was the Columbus Auto Show last season), even a one percent bump up is good news.

For Marie Gilman, who manages the show on behalf of the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association (along with shows in Toledo and Dayton), the trend is definitely good news.

"We had a very successful show this year," said Gilman. "The crowds on Saturday and Sunday were packed shoulder-to-shoulder; we were very pleased."

That success didn't happen by accident. While Gilman, a recent graduate of Ohio State University, has embraced social media she's also developed a keen understanding for the power of interactive.

Such is the case for the most recent Columbus Auto Show, where two manufacturers - Mazda and RAM Trucks - both featured Ride and Drive events.

Gilman also arranged for a car giveaway in partnership with the Central Ohio Honda Dealers organization, an "ugliest car in Columbus" feature that began a month before the show with photo nominations, online voting and a display at the show.

"When you walked in, there was a huge banner along with the new Civic and the three ugliest cars, as voted on by our social media followers," said Gilman. "In fact, we tripled the number of followers with that contest."

It also served to attract a younger demographic - culminating with the winner being an 18-year-old student who had never owned a vehicle before.

Bolstering the goal of bringing in a younger crowd, students were offered half price admission.

"We actually ran out of student tickets," added Gilman.

The show also featured a 50th anniversary display of Ford Mustangs, arranged with the cooperation of a local group of enthusiasts.

Other interactive features included the Dialed Action Sports Team, a group of professional BMX riders performing some of the biggest tricks in the sport.

Both Hyundai and Ford brought racing simulators to the auto show and Nationwide Insurance (headquartered in Columbus) brought its NASCAR series show car and simulator. "We have a great partnership with them," noted Gilman.

And the dealer response? "We continue to get a lot of positive feedback from our members on what the auto show means to them," said Gilman.

Profile: Columbus International Auto Show

March 13-16, 2014

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
272,457 square feet

$10, Adults (at box office); $8 online; $5, Students (with ID), FREE, Children (9 and under), $5, Senior Day (55+), Friday, March 14 from 12-5 pm

Show Hours:
Thursday 12 pm-9 pm, Friday 12 pm-9 pm, Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday 10 am-6 pm

Produced by:
Columbus Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Tim Doran
Executive Vice President
Columbus Automobile Dealers Association
(614) 923-2229 tdoran@oada.com

Marie Gilman, auto show manager
(614) 923-2233 mgilman@oada.com

Show Website:

Dayton: Social media photo contest builds show interest

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Marie Gilman found a very good way of spreading those words throughout this season's Dayton Auto Show.

Gilman, who organizes the show (as well as events in Toledo and Columbus as part of her duties at the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association), crafted an on-site photo contest she connected to the three social media outlets.

"Each of the questions we used were related to an automotive-related picture," said Gilman. "In one, for example, we had a zoomed-in picture of a grill or tailpipe, asking for people to tell us the make and model."

Drawing a random winner from the correct answers submitted, Gilman and her team offered prizes that included tickets to the NCAA qualifier round that was held in Dayton, as well as bigger prizes that included an iPad.

There was also a contest - unrelated to the social media push - that featured a two-year lease on a Ford Fusion, offered by the Dayton Area Ford Dealers.

Jeep, another exhibitor, did what Gilman called a "takeover" promotion, giving away branded t-shirts and then, every half hour, randomly presenting gift cards to those wearing the Jeep attire.

"They got a great response from that," said Gilman. "I think about half the crowd at one point was wearing Jeep t-shirts."

Another success for Dayton was having the corporate support of Mazda, the automaker helping to positively answer the "Where's Mazda?" question that Gilman said a lot of people had been asking at past shows.

Back to the subject of social media for a moment. Gilman said her success with the various platforms has made her a believer.

"It's basically free media," she noted. "When other people see what you're posting, if it's done in a creative way, the exposure multiplies. That's simply not something you can buy, which makes it even more powerful."

Profile: Dayton Auto Show

February 20-23, 2014

Dayton Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
67,088 square feet

$7, Adults (13 and over), $5, Students (with student ID), FREE Children (12 and under). $5, Senior Day (55+), Friday, February 21 from 12-5 pm

Show Hours:
Thursday 12 pm-9 pm, Friday 12 pm-9 pm, Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday 10 am-6 pm

Produced by:
Dayton Area Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Tim Doran
Executive Vice President
Dayton Area Automobile Dealers Association
(614) 923-2229 tdoran@oada.com
Auto Show Manager Marie Gilman
(614)923-2233 mgilman@oada.com

Show Website:

Pittsburgh: Free parking drives show attendance

If there's one thing that Pittsburghers seem to take dislike, it's paying for parking. (Not that any of us are in love with the concept.)

Which is what makes the partnership between the Pittsburgh International Auto Show and nearby Rivers Casino so powerful.

Now in its third year, auto show customers can park free at the casino's huge parking deck in a promotion that includes free slot play.

ATAE John Putzier of the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association and show manager Jill Costic both said the free parking initiative has been critical to the success of the auto show.

While in some respects, the popular Ride and Drive features could be described as a carbon copy of last year's show, Costic and Putzier said there were a number of additions that kept interest high.

For example, this year's show featured a number of on-site promotions that included live performances by Michael Christopher and Maggie Rose, both sponsored by Froggy Radio, a local country station.

Visitors seemed to enjoy at least one interactive feature, a version of the "Minute to Win It" game show that was replicated on the show floor.

Another sponsor, Huntington Bank, took advantage of the lack of bank machines at the exhibit hall by bringing their own ATM to the show, loaded onto a customized van.

And Erie Insurance combined a security theme with a contest that gave show goers the opportunity to pick a lock to win a prize, among them an iPad.

Other show features included an actor portraying "Honest Abe" Lincoln (appropriately arriving on President's Day), signings by various Pittsburgh Steelers players, and appearances by mascots from the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates teams.

Those with speed on their minds enjoyed an exhibit by NASCAR's Chip Ganassi Racing.

With natural gas production being increasingly popular in the area thanks to the proximity of the Marcellus Shale Formation, the auto show also featured a selection of compressed natural gas vehicles, piquing the interest of attendees.

Profile: Pittsburgh International Auto Show

Feb. 14-17, 2014

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
330,000 square feet

$10, Adult; $8, Seniors; $8, Military; FREE for children (12 and under)

Show Hours:
Fri.-Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun.-Mon., 10 am-6 pm.

Produced by:
Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE John Putzier
CEO, Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association
412.963.8909, john@gpada.com

Show Director:
Jill Costic
412.963.8909, jill@gpada.com

Show Website:

Providence: Sidestepping Super Bowl has made big difference

ATAE Jack Perkins had no illusions that the intersection of schedules for the Northeast International Auto Show and the Super Bowl wasn't helping his show's attendance.

"We've been trying for a number of years to work around it and were finally able to do it this year."

That alone was likely responsible for an attendance bump of more than 10 percent.

"We were up significantly," noted Perkins, executive vice president of the Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association, which owns the show, produced by Motor Trend.

With the schedule now absent the distractions of football's biggest weekend of the year, Perkins is able to do what the auto show has always done, which is focus on the vehicles.

"The thing we stress and try to make this show about is the new vehicles," said Perkins. "There are some amazing new technologies, new safety features and terrific stuff that manufacturers are building. For that reason, we don't seek other attractions that might be a distraction to our main message."

In essence, Perkins is laser-focused on his approach to the auto show.

"The show is about the vehicles," added Perkins. "We emphasize what's new and that's particularly important when there are vehicles that either haven't been in the area or haven't been in a dealer's showroom before."

Perkins said he was pleased with the quality of displays manufacturers brought to the Northeast International Auto Show.

"They were really terrific in what they brought to our show."

An emphasis on Ride and Drive opportunities, he added, was yet another element that will ultimately drive sales.

Still, the biggest news was sidestepping the Super Bowl schedule. "That was the biggest thrill for us," said Perkins. "We knew it was affecting us and it was hard to compete, especially when we have a team in the game."

Profile: Northeast International Auto Show

Feb. 7-9, 2014

Rhode Island Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
120,000 square feet

$10, Adult; $8, Seniors; $8, Military; FREE for children (12 and under)

Show Hours:
Fri.-Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun.-Mon., 10 am-6 pm.

Produced by:
Motor Trend Auto Shows

Show Contact:
ATAE Jack Perkins
Executive Vice President, Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association
401.732.6870, jperkins@riadaonline.com

Show Website:

Toledo: Connecting with Mud Hens helps with enthusiasm

Coming off a record year, organizers of this season's Toledo Auto Show can't be too disappointed that attendance had dipped.

Especially considering what show manager Marie Gilman calls "a bit of a weather issue."

Otherwise known as snow.

On the good side of the ledger, square footage at the SeaGate Convention Center was sold out and the media day (even with the first of two snow days) was a popular way for the word to get out to show goers.

Another positive was a relationship Gilman, who works for the Ohio Auto Dealers Association, crafted with the Toledo Mud Hens, the Detroit Tigers Triple A affiliate.

With a Twitter hashtag of #findmuddy, show goers were tasked with locating a "Muddy the Mud Hen" doll hidden in the hall (a different spot every day), with prizes that included tickets to a game and even iPads on the Saturday and Sunday of the show.

"People got pretty involved with that contest," said Gilman, who added that the use of social media around the show saw a good boost throughout the event.

The show was also able to feature cars in SeaGate Center's lobby.

That meant that people who were going to other events (the convention center is between other venues) got a glimpse of what they could expect to see at the auto show.

Profile: Greater Toledo Auto Show

February 6-9, 2014

SeaGate Convention Centre

Exhibit Space:
70,172 square feet

$6, Adults (13 and over), $4, Students (with student ID), FREE children (12 and under). $5, Senior Day (55+), Friday, February 7 from 12-5 pm - $4 (55+)

Show Hours:
Thursday 3 pm-9 pm, Friday 12 pm-9 pm, Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday 10 am-5 pm

Produced by:
Toledo Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Tim Doran
Executive Vice President
Toledo Automobile Dealers Association
(614) 923-2229 tdoran@oada.com
Auto Show Manager Marie Gilman
(614) 923-2233 mgilman@oada.com

Show Website:

Washington: Public policy discussions front and center at DC show

For several years, ATAE Gerry Murphy has been positioning the Washington Auto Show as one where "public policy" is front and center.

This year's event was no exception and given that the year before was the best attended that the city has ever had, Murphy had more than enough reasons to be pleased.

He's also increasing the emphasis on social media as a way to engage attendees and drive ticket sales.

The public policy part of the show included having U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as the public keynote speaker; Ford's Mark Fields, the automaker's chief operating officer (who becomes CEO on July 1), was industry keynote speaker.

Notable visitors to the show included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, whose visit this year was more "social" (he brought his two sons, one of whom is Attorney General for the State of Delaware).

Being in Washington, Murphy is familiar with the hustle and bustle of daily events, especially when it comes to schedule changes.

That played out with the National Automobile Dealers Association, which had its convention the first weekend of the auto show. "We moved the media/industry days up a day, which allowed us to take care of some of leadership things we were participating in," said Murphy.

During the show, the Historic Vehicle Association, which represents owners of classic cars throughout the country, unveiled its prototype project for the National Historic Vehicle register. The HVA used the Washington Auto Show to unveil the original 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe, on loan from the Simeone Museum.

New to this year's show was a "New Car Advanced Technology Guide," written by Washington Post journalist and recognized automotive industry expert Warren Brown. The guide highlights Brown's choices for the automotive vehicles and companies leading the way in sustainability, driver-assist technologies, communications and infotainment systems, and fuel economy improvements, among other advancements.

The guide was accessible through the computers at the Advanced Technology SuperHighway Cafe.

Profile: Washington Auto Show

Jan. 23-Feb. 2, 2014

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
725,000 square feet

$12, Adults, $5, Children (12 and under); FREE, under 5

Show Hours:
Thurs., Jan. 23, noon-9 pm; Fri., Jan. 24, noon to 10 pm; Sat. Jan. 25, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, Jan. 26, 10 am-7 pm; Mon. through Thurs., Jan. 27-30, noon to 9 pm; Friday, Jan. 31, noon-10 pm; Sat., Feb. 1, 10 am-10 pm; Sun., Feb. 2, 10 am-6 pm.

Produced by:
Washington Area New Auto Dealers Association

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

Show Website:

Show Directory

Albany Auto Show
3/7/2014 - 3/9/2014

Albany Empire State Plaza Auto Show
11/7/2014 - 11/9/2014

New Mexico International Auto Show
4/17/2015 - 4/19/2015

Orange County Auto Show
10/2/2014 - 10/5/2014

Atlanta International Auto Show
3/25/2015 - 3/29/2015

Austin Auto Show
5/16/2014 - 5/18/2014

Motor Trend International Auto Show—Baltimore
1/1/2015 - 1/4/2015

Bedford, NH
New Hampshire Auto Show
10/24/2014 - 10/26/2014

Bethlehem, PA
Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show
3/20/2014 - 3/23/2014

Alabama International Auto Show
11/13/2014 - 11/16/2014

New England International Auto Show
1/15/2015 - 1/19/2015

Buffalo Auto Show
2/5/2015 - 2/8/2015

Calgary International Auto & Truck Show
3/12/2014 - 3/16/2014

West Virginia International Auto Show
1/16/2015 - 1/18/2015

Charlotte International Auto Show
11/20/2014 - 11/23/2014

Chicago Auto Show
2/14/2015 - 2/22/2015

Cincinnati Auto Expo
2/18/2015 - 2/22/2015

Cleveland Auto Show
3/7/2015 - 3/15/2015

Columbus International Auto Show
3/19/2015 - 3/22/2015

DFW Auto Show in Dallas
3/25/2015 - 3/29/2015

Iowa/Illinois Regional Auto Show
2/6/2015 - 2/8/2015

Dayton Auto Show
2/19/2015 - 2/22/2015

Denver Auto Show
4/9/2014 - 4/13/2014

North American International Auto Show
1/17/2015 - 1/25/2015

Edmonton Motor Show
4/10/2014 - 4/13/2014

Fort Worth
DFW Auto Show in Fort Worth
11/6/2014 - 11/9/2014

Central California Auto Show
11/14/2014 - 11/16/2014

South Carolina International Auto Show
1/16/2015 - 1/18/2015

Harrisburg, PA
Pennsylvania Auto Show
1/29/2015 - 2/1/2015

Connecticut International Auto Show
11/21/2014 - 11/23/2014

First Hawaiian International Auto Show
4/14/2014 - 4/16/2014

Houston Auto Show
1/21/2015 - 1/25/2015

Indianapolis Auto Show
12/26/2014 - 1/1/2015

Kansas City
Kansas City International Auto Show
3/5/2014 - 3/9/2014

Las Vegas
Las Vegas International Auto Show
11/28/2014 - 11/30/2014

Long Beach
So Cal Test Drive Expo
4/26/2014 - 4/27/2014

Los Angeles
Los Angeles Auto Show
11/21/2014 - 11/30/2014

Carl Casper Custom and Louisville New Car Auto Show
2/21/2014 - 2/23/2014

Miami International Auto Show
11/7/2014 - 11/16/2014

Greater Milwaukee International Auto Show
2/21/2015 - 3/1/2015

Minneapolis/St. Paul
Greater St. Paul & Minneapolis International Auto Show
3/8/2014 - 3/16/2014

Montreal International Auto Show
1/16/2015 - 1/25/2015

New Orleans
New Orleans International Auto Show
3/21/2014 - 3/23/2014

New York
New York International Auto Show
4/18/2014 - 4/27/2014

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City International Auto Show
3/6/2014 - 3/9/2014

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma State Fair Auto Show
9/11/2014 - 9/21/2014

Midlands International Auto Show
1/22/2015 - 1/25/2015

Central Florida International Auto Show
11/27/2014 - 11/30/2014

Philadelphia International Auto Show
1/31/2015 - 2/8/2015

Arizona International Auto Show
11/27/2014 - 11/30/2014

Pittsburgh International Auto Show
2/13/2015 - 2/16/2015

Portland International Auto Show
2/5/2015 - 2/8/2015

Northeast International Auto Show
2/7/2014 - 2/9/2014

Virginia Motor Trend International Auto Show
3/20/2015 - 3/22/2015

Rochester International Auto Show
2/26/2015 - 3/1/2015

Sacramento International Auto Show
10/17/2014 - 10/19/2014

Saint Louis
Saint Louis International Auto Show
1/22/2015 - 1/25/2015

Salt Lake City
Utah International Auto Expo
1/16/2015 - 1/19/2015

San Antonio
San Antonio Auto & Truck Show
11/20/2014 - 11/23/2014

San Diego
San Diego International Auto Show
1/1/2015 - 1/4/2015

San Jose
Silicon Valley International Auto Show
1/9/2014 - 1/12/2014

Seattle International Auto Show
10/15/2014 - 10/19/2014

Spokane International Auto Show
2/13/2015 - 2/15/2015

Tampa Bay International Auto Show
11/14/2014 - 11/16/2014

Greater Toledo Auto Show
2/5/2015 - 2/18/2015

Canadian International Auto Show
2/13/2015 - 2/22/2015

Tulsa Auto Show
4/11/2014 - 4/13/2014

Vancouver International Auto Show
3/25/2014 - 3/30/2014

Washington Auto Show
1/23/2015 - 2/1/2015


Automotive Trade Association Executives

8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102

Bob Israel
ATAE Chairman

Jennifer Colman
ATAE Executive Director

ASNA Committee

Greg Remensperger, committee chair
Portland International Auto Show

Rod Alberts
North American International Auto Show

Loretta Allman
Charlotte International Auto Show

Stacey Castle
Sacramento International Auto Show

Mark Schienberg
New York International Auto Show

Loy Todd
Nebraska New Car & Truck Association

Lou Vitantonio
Cleveland Auto Show

Steve Smith
Of Counsel for ASNA Summer Meeting
Silicon Valley International Auto Show

The Auto Show Report

Joe Rohatynski, senior editor

J.D. Booth, writer

Marc Harlow, writer

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