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ASNA - The Auto Show Report
Volume Nine, Issue Eight - September 2014
In This Issue:

Industry News
» Study seeks to confirm effectiveness of auto shows
» Erik Thomas: a rising star at Hyundai
» New York show lauded by EXPO Magazine
» Study shows flexible manufacturing key to sustained growth
» TrueCar growing faster than overall U.S. vehicle sales
» International conflicts haven't affected gas prices
» Report confirms Millennials have different car-buying habits
» Morgan promoted to global marketing position
» Getting ready to retire, Tonks enters transition period

Show Profiles
» Albuquerque: Ten years later, show continues to make its mark
» Atlanta: Good weather and great variety
» Bedford: Finally, an auto show arrives in the Granite State
» Dallas: Texas proves its punch with two world debuts
» Denver: Competitive radio contest drives attendance
» Greenville: Show finds strong retail partner who outperforms
» Milwaukee: Weather plays a role in slightly lower attendance
» Oklahoma City: Lease giveaways spark attendance increase
» Toronto: Show organizers work hard in a crowded media market
» Vancouver: New leadership ready to 'challenge' the status quo

» Show Directory
» Credits/Contacts

Industry News

Study seeks to confirm effectiveness of auto shows

It's one thing to believe how important the role auto shows play in the overall marketing plan for a line of vehicles.

It's quite another to prove it.

Chris Stommel
The Auto Shows of North America committee of ATAE is moving forward on a study that will provide tangible proof, evidence that will likely help shape automakers' budgets in the future.

A well-known supplier to many of those automakers has been commissioned to do the study.

Foresight Research, based in Rochester, Mich., expects to deliver its results as early as the NADA meeting in February.

Chris Stommel, president of Foresight, heads global auto show measurement on three continents.

He said the ASNA "Power of Auto Shows" will draw from several sources the research firm produces and updates every year, the most recent being the 2013/14 season where some 45 individual shows were tracked.

The first of three sources Foresight will use is its CHIPS (Channel Immersion Perspective), a study of 7,500 recent buyers.

The second source will be studies Foresight now syndicates to automakers seeking to understand how visitors perceive various displays at individual shows.

The third source for the ASNA study will be information Foresight gathers from a representative online survey in cities where an auto show has taken place. Those answers give Foresight the information it needs to determine the percentage of people who were aware of the show, whether they attended and why, and what they did as a result of attending.

"That information gives us a 360 degree view of that auto show," said Stommel.

The custom ASNA "Power of Auto Shows" report is expected to be a very useful one from the perspective of ASNA members who will then be able to make a persuasive, data-driven argument for continued investment in auto shows compared with other forms of marketing.

Erik Thomas: a rising star at Hyundai

Erik Thomas
It's been three years since Erik Thomas took the reins of Hyundai's auto show business. Thomas, who was previously with Honda for 12 years, has the automotive passion required to be successful in his position.

And for the third generation car guy, he can't imagine being in any other business.

"I love cars and everything about them," says Thomas, who is based on the West Coast and close to being a native Californian.

"I've been here since I was 10 years old, obviously the majority of my life," he says. "My Dad worked for GM out here and my grandfather worked on the line in Ohio."

Thomas earned his undergraduate at Malibu's Pepperdine University and an MBA from the University of California at Irvine.

Since joining Hyundai, he's been riding a wave of growth that he expects will continue.

And he's also enjoying his connections to others in the auto show community, notably represented by Auto Shows of North America, where he most recently attended the Summer Meeting.

As a participant on the manufacturer panel at the ASNA meeting, his message included a sense of just how important auto shows are to companies like Hyundai.

"Auto shows remain an integral part of our strategies," says Thomas. "They're one of the best, if not the best forums for getting customers into the car, acquainting them with the Hyundai experience and discovering what the brand is trying to promote."

That doesn't mean there aren't challenges.

"We're not unique from any other manufacturer," adds Thomas. "We're trying to do more with less and my challenge on a daily basis is to make sure we're executing correctly and delivering the Hyundai experience to our customers. And doing so in a way that makes the most effective use of the dollars we have."

Thomas, who is directly involved with some 37 of the 65-70 shows where Hyundai has a presence, remains acutely aware of the relationships that drive excellence for the automaker's auto show strategy.

"We work in tandem with show management and making sure we work together to create a positive experience for consumers," he says.

Thomas is also keenly aware of the need to build and maintain strong relationships throughout the auto show community.

"Constant communication is key," he says. "By working together, we're all able to improve the experience for consumers who go to the various shows. That's the challenge we all face."

And the reward, too.

New York show lauded by EXPO Magazine

The New York International Auto Show has received three E.X.C.I.T.E. awards from EXPO Magazine, winning in multiple categories—Best Overall Show, Best Consumer Event and Best Marketing Collateral. It was the only nominee to have received three awards. ATAE Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, said it was "an incredible honor for us to receive this recognition, especially from a leader in the tradeshow business." Earlier this year, Biz Bash, another well-respected publication covering the special events and tradeshow business, named the New York International Auto Show the number one trade show and convention in New York for the third consecutive year.

Study shows flexible manufacturing key to sustained growth

A study by IHS Automotive has said automakers will be able to take advantage of sustained growth in international markets using flexible vehicle platforms. At the same time, manufacturers and suppliers are working to implement more complex vehicle and process technology that will raise the efficiency of global platforms, especially as it relates to advanced safety, lighter weight materials, emissions reduction and fuel economy targets. Michael Robinet, managing director of IHS Automotive, has said the strong recovery of the industry brings a new energy to the global market.

TrueCar growing faster than overall U.S. vehicle sales

TrueCar Inc., the online car-shopping site that went public with its stock in May, is growing its sales and dealer network faster than overall U.S. vehicle sales and faster than analysts expected, according to an article at TheDetroitBureau.com. TrueCar said its second quarter revenue of $50.5 million was 62 percent higher than a year before—11 percent above analyst estimates of $45.5 million. The company has signed up some 7,682 franchise dealers across the U.S., a 24 percent increase over last year. Those dealers sold 149,527 vehicles during the second quarter through customers visiting TrueCar.com.

International conflicts haven't affected gas prices

One might think that ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq might be a recipe for gas price increases in the U.S., but the national average retail price for unleaded gasoline is actually falling and is expected to do so, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The reason: lower refinery margins that have offset higher crude oil prices. Expectations are for an average retail price of $3.54 per gallon in 2014 and $3.45 per gallon in 2015, compared with $3.51 per gallon in 2013.

Report confirms Millennials have different car-buying habits

A study done for Autotrader by IHS Automotive suggests the way so-called Generation Y car buyers make their decisions is substantially different from prior generations. Isabelle Helms, vice president of research for Autotrader, told a recent gathering of the Detroit Automotive Press Association that this demographic is much more likely to have a specific model and brand in mind by the time they walk into a showroom. And while they do use the Internet as a research tool, only one percent are using social sites to shop for their next vehicle. The U.S. Millennial generation—now about 74 million—is expected to grow from 12 percent of the new car market to 40 percent by 2020.

Morgan promoted to global marketing position

Grace Morgan
While she will retain her auto show responsibilities until a successor is announced, GM's Grace Morgan has been promoted from her position as director of Auto Show and Exhibits and Experiential marketing for the automaker. Her new position—director, Global Marketing Operations and Partnerships—includes responsibility for agency management and marketing resources, brand merchandise and licensing. Morgan, who joined the automaker in 2011, has worked in the automotive industry for more than 16 years, including experience at various exhibit agencies as well as Hyundai Motor America.

Getting ready to retire, Tonks enters transition period

Tom Tonks
Tom Tonks, who has served as general manager of the Canadian International Auto show for more than three decades, is well on his way to a full retirement, having relinqueshed the reins for the next show in his new role as an advisor. Tonks' successor is Jason Campbell, whose previous work has involved public relations and event marketing assignments for various F1 racing teams, including Nissan and Renault. The Auto Show Report will be running a more extensive story on Tonks' retirement in a future issue.

Show Profiles

Albuquerque: Ten years later, show continues to make its mark

ATAE Charles Henson, who heads the New Mexico Auto Dealers Association and its New Mexico International Auto Show, remembers when the show first debuted in 2004.

"That was about a million years ago," quipped Henson in a discussion about the most recent show, which nowadays is going strong, having ridden turbulent times in the auto industry and come out in much better health.

But even when dealers and automakers were struggling, the New Mexico show maintained the interest of show goers, said Henson.

"There may have been more dreamers than buyers, but the show continued to put the product in front of the people who would and did eventually buy."

This year the interest continued and manufacturers have returned with what Henson said are "more impressive" displays.

"Our dealers noticed it first as we were getting ready to open the doors," said Henson.

On opening night, Henson, recognizing the hard work of the various product specialists who were getting ready for the crowds, catered a meal, featuring authentic New Mexican food.

"We caught them at the shift transition so all of them had the opportunity and we set aside a room especially for them," said Henson.

The reaction was immediate and positive.

"One guy told me 'this is just like Christmas,'" said Henson. "I can't tell you the number of product specialists that came up to me to thank us for that one gesture. It made me wish that we'd been doing that for years."

What Henson has done for years is insist that the New Mexico show won't sell alcoholic beverages.

In the early days, he successfully resisted pressure from the convention center, eyeing the profit potential for selling beer, and Henson has no intention of going there—ever.

He calls the issue of drinking and driving in the state of New Mexico “tragic, sad and shameful."

Henson said the show is very much a family event, with features that include a "Kids Autobahn" with battery cars that are driven around a small track.

"We want children even though there's a lot of square footage that we could do other things in the space we set aside."

Profile: New Mexico International Auto Show

April 11-13, 2014

Albquerque Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
125,000 square feet

$8, adults; $5, seniors, $5, military (with any DOD ID), $5, children (6-12), FREE, children 5 and under, and 12 and under on Family Day (Sunday).

Show Hours:
Friday 12 noon-10 pm; Saturday 10 am-10 pm; Sunday 10 am-7 pm

Produced by:
Motor Trend Auto Shows

Show Contact:
ATAE Charles Henson
President and CEO, New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association
505.345.6060, Crh11@swcp.com

Show Website:

Atlanta: Good weather and great variety

For many shows in the northern half of the auto show circuit, weather is one of those things that can become worrisome.

It might be surprising then that Atlanta doesn't necessarily see itself as being immune from weather issues.

In fact, Dave Tribble, the Atlanta International Auto Show's director of communications and editor of the show guide, attributed in part the 5% increase in attendance to good weather.

Tribble, who works with ATAE Shayne Wilson at the Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association, pointed to a number of features that made this year's show memorable.

Chief among those was the sheer number of pre-production vehicles that manufacturers brought to the show—"more than we've had in a long time," said Tribble.

Also impressive from the perspective of attendees were the numerous Ride and Drive opportunities—some 13 brands participating in this year's show.

"We have plenty of staging areas available around the Georgia World Congress Center and easy access to city streets," said Tribble.

And then, of course, there's Camp Jeep Interactive, which brought the off-road experience to Atlanta for the first time. The Jeep Test Track, an interactive adventure zone, has professional 4x4 drivers giving riders the ability to experience on and off-road capabilities, including a climb of the 35-degree Jeep Mountain as a demonstration of the vehicles' traction capabilities.

Also featured in this this year's show were two characters from the Marvel universe—Thor and Captain America—who both appeared on Saturday and Sunday, joined by SpongeBob SquarePants, sponsored by Comcast Spotlight.

Fans of the Walking Dead TV franchise got to see (and have their picture taken with) the customized Hyundai Elantra Coupe "Zombie Survival Machine," a vehicle designed by the show's creator/writer Robert Kirkman and built by Design Craft.

Complete with a front-end custom "zombie plow" (with spikes, of course) as well as armored window coverings, a roof hatch to allow passengers to fend off attacking walkers and a trunk full of electric and pneumatic weaponry, what else could you want in the event of an apocalypse?

Tribble says the show, which this year included five different lines of exotic vehicles, continues to grow in quality.

"We've been able to get bigger displays and this year's show was one of the best looking ones we've ever had."

Profile: Atlanta International Auto Show

March 26-30, 2014

Georgia World Congress Center

Exhibit Space:
500,000 square feet

Adults $10, Children (6-12) $5 (under 6 free)

Show Hours:
Wed.-Thurs. noon-9 pm; Fri. noon-10 pm; Sat. 10 am-10 pm; Sun. 10 am-8 pm

Produced by:
Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Shayne Wilson
President, Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association
770.916.1741, swilson@maada.com

Show Website:

Bedford: Finally, an auto show arrives in the Granite State

Bedford is a name that's new for followers of the auto show scene and probably for good reason.

This year's New Hampshire Auto Show, held in Bedford and produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows, is the first for the local dealer group and the first in the state.

And for one good reason: New Hampshire doesn't have a convention center.

But then someone took a look at the NH Sportsplex, the largest open span public building in the state.

Steven Berger, who organizes the show on behalf of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association and ATAE Peter McNamara, said it took some time to negotiate the logistical hurdles.

"There were quite a few things that would normally be handled by people who are familiar with other shows who just weren't there," said Berger. "As a result, at least from a production standpoint, it definitely required doing some work that we don't usually do."

One example: when vehicles were dropped off at the Sportsplex, not everyone was aware of the need for prepping the vehicle, which includes disconnecting the vehicle battery and taping the gas pedal.

"At other shows, which people have been doing for years, those details are automatic," noted Berger.

In the end, the show was a success, with dealers who had previously expressed some frustration that their marketing dollars were going toward markets that weren't directly benefiting their business.

"They wanted their own show and now they have one," said Berger.

Interestingly, using the NH Sportsplex for the auto show has "opened the gates" for other consumer shows that perhaps might not have considered the venue before.

"I think we broke the mold," said Berger.

Profile: New Hampshire International Auto Show

Oct. 18-20, 2013

NH Sportsplex

Exhibit Space:
130,000 square feet

Adults, $7; Seniors (62+), $6; Children (7-12), $5; Military (with ID), Children (6 and under), FREE

Show Hours:
Friday 12 noon-9 pm; Saturday 10 am-9 pm; Sunday 10 am-5 pm

Produced by:
Motor Trend Auto Shows

Show Contact:
ATAE Peter McNamara
President, New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association
603.230.2156, pmcnamara@nhada.com

Show Website:

Dallas: Texas proves its punch with two world debuts

Let's face it: it's not that common that a vehicle with as much staying power as the Ford Expedition would debut at an auto show outside one of the continent's major cities.

But this is Texas. And so it was that the 2015 Ford Expedition was unveiled at this year's Dallas Auto Show.

Marianne Jones, who serves as communications director for the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan New Car Dealers Association, has a pretty good idea why Ford picked Dallas as a place to lift the veil on the Expedition.

"Texas is a huge SUV state," said Jones. "And we have some very influential Ford dealers in our area, so that may have had something to do with it."

Another rather impressive unveiling (although certainly not in the mainstream vehicle department) was Pagani's Huayra supercar, an Italian-bred vehicle that goes for a whopping $1.4 million.

That's a lot of Texas oil. And, yes, Dallas is home to Pagani of Dallas, one of only four dealers in the U.S. to sell it.

Those two vehicles were clearly a big draw for the show.

"You could see people heading right to those vehicles from the moment they entered the convention center," said Jones.

But there were other reasons to head to the Dallas Auto Show, including an indoor RAM truck Ride and Drive, which featured a 30-foot RAM Mountain.

Other Ride and Drive events at the show featured vehicles from Chrysler, GM, Kia, Ford and Mazda.

Profile: DFW Auto Show at Dallas

Feb. 19-23, 2014

Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
650,000 square feet

Adults, $12, Seniors $5; Children (6-12), $5; Children five and under, FREE

Show Hours:
Wed., Thurs., 4 pm-10 pm; Fri.-Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun., 10 am-7 pm.

Produced by:
Dallas Fort Worth New Car Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Lee Chapman
President, Dallas Fort Worth New Car Dealers Association

Jo McKinley, VP and show coordinator
214.637.0531, Jo.mckinley@dfwncda.com

Show Website:

Denver: Competitive radio contest drives attendance

Barbara Pudney, who organizes the Denver Auto Show in her role with producer Paragon Expo, has no qualms about pitting her radio partners into a bit of a competition to drive attendance at the show.

In fact, she seems to revel in the experience.

"Every form of media that we work with needs to provide us with some value-added element to be on our buy," said Pudney, who works on behalf of ATAE Tim Jackson and the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.

Pudney, as an example this year, worked with four Clear Channel radio stations in the Denver area on a "tricked out" car contest that worked out very well, and helped boost attendance at the show by 13.4 percent over the previous year.

"Listeners would send in photos of their custom cars and then vote on their favorites," said Pudney. "The best of each of the four stations were invited to display their vehicles at the show, and then attendees voted on the best of the best."

It was a very popular contest, said Pudney.

"Everyone loved it, and the radio stations got a lot of feedback and interaction from their listeners."

But Pudney didn't stop with radio. One of the local TV stations did an opening night half hour program live from the show and another station—which broadcasts in Spanish—sponsored Hispanic Day at the auto show.

"About 24 percent of Denver-area residents are Hispanic, so they're a big part of our market," said Pudney.

Also helping to drive attendance at the show was a decision by the CBS affiliate to park its weather van at the show and have their meteorologist available to answer questions from show goers.

Pudney said she noticed a proliferation of features designed to engage attendees.

"Car lines are being more interactive and I saw many more simulators than I've seen before, including interactive gaming," she said. "I think all of those encourage the public to stay longer at the show."

Profile: Denver Auto Show

April 9-13, 2014

Colorado Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
400,000 square feet

Adults $10, Seniors $5 discounted admission on Thursday, Children (6-12) $5, Children under 6 FREE

Show Hours:
Wed., 5 pm to 10 pm; Thurs. noon to 10 pm; Fri., noon-10 pm; Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm

Show Contact:
ATAE Tim Jackson
Colorado Automobile Dealers Association

Produced by:
Paragon Group, Inc.

Show Website:

Greenville: Show finds strong retail partner who outperforms

When you see an attendance jump of some 32.3 percent at an auto show, one of the first questions has to be "what happened?"

Steven Berger, the show director for Motor Trend Auto Shows, which produces the South Carolina International Auto Show for ATAE Sims Floyd and the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, has a pretty good idea.

"We took on a promotional partner this year—Spinx Convenience Stores—but we didn't really know until the show just how successful they would be in getting out the tickets," said Berger. "Sometimes you send tickets to stores, and you never get them back. But man, they got them out."

Stewart Spinx began the business in 1972 as a fuel distributor and one gas station in Greenville. The company now has sales of more than $500 million and is ranked in the top 100 convenience store chains in the country.

Berger also pointed to the successful resolution of a legislative issue that had previously blocked dealers from actually participating in a display of their vehicles outside their store.

Intended to block so-called "tent sales" from out-of-state dealers, it also severely impacted dealers' participation in the auto show.

The dealer association has since lobbied to have the law modified to solve that problem, making it easier now for dealers from nearby markets where there is no auto show to participate.

At this year's show, one highlight that Berger says he liked so much he'll be doing his best to repeat was a "live customization" of a brand-new Corvette that a customer of Greenville's Tommy Pike Customs did from start to finish.

"It was just when the Corvette was coming out and it was a feature that visitors to the show really enjoyed," said Berger.

Two Ride and Drives—featuring vehicles from Chrysler and GM—were predictably popular, even when it rained one day of the show.

"We adjusted the layout so we could have people start and finish inside and that worked out very well when they didn't have to leave the show floor to start," said Berger.

Profile: South Carolina International Auto Show

Friday, January 13-Sunday, January 15, 2012

TD Convention Center

Exhibit Space:
Over 100,000 square feet

Adults (13 and over), $8; Seniors (62 and over), $5; Children (7 to 12), $5; Children (6 and under), Free

Show Hours:
Fri.-Sat. 10 am-9 pm; Sun. 10 am-6 pm.

Produced by:
Motor Trend Auto Shows

Show Contact:
ATAE Sims Floyd
Executive Vice President
South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association
803.252.0205, sfloyd@scada.org

Show Website:

Milwaukee: Weather plays a role in slightly lower attendance

ATAE Jim Tolkan proved once again the wisdom of holding the Greater Milwaukee Auto Show over nine days, a schedule that wouldn't normally be the case in warmer climes.

But this is Milwaukee.

"It's not uncommon for us to experience very cold and snowy weather in February," says Tolkan, president of the Automobile Association of Mega Milwaukee.

Indeed, virtually every day of the most recent auto show was frigid, with temperatures rarely above 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind chill that made it seem like zero.

And then there was the snow on the last Saturday of the show, which had the effect of turning an attendance for that day which started at about 12 percent above last year to one that was perhaps up by only a percentage of two.

On Sunday, attendance was down 20 percent over the previous year, with the entire show off by about 5 percent.

"It would have been much more successful had we not had the weather issues," noted Tolkan. "Which is why we need the two weeks."

On the bright side, Tolkan was pleased to have welcomed Camp Jeep to the Wisconsin Center, the first showing for the iconic Ride and Drive in his state.

Positioning the outdoor event in an area that connects to the convention center (and on a street that was closed for the entire show) gave organizers exactly the right conditions.

"We had lots of great press coverage and the people from Camp Jeep were most impressed with the event," said Tolkan.

While attendance was off slightly, those who did attend the auto show, which is produced by Motor Trend, were clearly the right ones from an intended purchase standpoint: about 50 percent of those surveyed said they planned to buy a vehicle in the next year, with 30 percent saying that deal would be made in six months.

This year's show had a different look, which Tolkan said gave the event a fresh look.

"Some had a little less space than they had in past shows, but others wanted more which added to what we had last year. This was a good show for us."

Profile: Greater Milwaukee Auto Show

Feb. 22-March 2, 2014

Wisconsin Center

Exhibit Space:
200,000 square feet

Adults, $11; Children (7-12), $6, Children under 6, FREE. Children under 18 FREE on last Sunday.

Show Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 3 pm.-9 pm, Friday & Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm

Produced by:
Motor Trend Auto Shows

Show Contact:
ATAE Jim Tolkan
President, Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee
414.359.9000, jim@adamm.com

Show Website:

Oklahoma City: Lease giveaways spark attendance increase

How do you get a near-automatic increase in attendance at an auto show?

There are a number of ways, but when ATAE Peter Hodges was asked to explain a 12 percent increase at the Oklahoma City International Auto Show, his answer was succinct.

"We gave away five, two-year leases."

What makes the idea extra clever (our words, not his) was that Hodges and his team at the Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association spread the giveaway over the four days of the event.

And they reserved the first two vehicles for seniors (on Thursday) and an active member of the military (on Friday). There were two vehicle leases given away on Saturday and the final vehicle lease on Sunday.

The winner of Thursday's giveaway had the pick, of course, and that was a Mercedes CLA. The other vehicles included a Chevrolet Cruz, Ford F150, Honda Civic LX and a Smart car.

Hodges said the lease giveaway was in all show advertising and online driven. "That gave us a lot of e-mail capture opportunities," he added.

Winners had to be in attendance to qualify for the prize.

There was also an emphasis on the family friendly aspects of the show, not surprising given the fact that Hodges and his wife have four children, nearly all of whom are very impressed that Dad was on TV talking about the auto show.

"We want all generations to feel like they're welcome at the show," said Hodges, pointing out in particular the Auto Show for Kids play zone area that featured a giant slide, obstacle course and riding car toys.

"It's more fun, too."

There was even a giveaway of figurines from the Lego Movie that Hodges said also helped drive weekend attendance.

"I could see the rush of kids to that area of the show," noted Hodges.

Other highlights of the show included a "100 Years of Speed" exhibit that included a variety of race cars and fast cars from the early 1900s to present. There was also a shop available for gifts as part of the feature.

Several Ride and Drive events and a Natural Gas Vehicle exhibit rounded out the Oklahoma City International Auto Show.

Profile: Oklahoma City International Auto Show

March 6-9, 2014

Oklahoma State Fair Park

Exhibit Space:
213,000 gross sq. ft.

$10 adults; $4, children (7-12); 6 and under free.

Show Hours:
Thurs-Friday, 11 am-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm

Produced by:
Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association

Show Contact:
ATAE Peter Hodges
President, Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association
405.607.0400, madapeter@coxinet.net

Show Website:

Toronto: Show organizers work hard in a crowded media market

Every auto show is important to the local audience from which it attracts its crowds.

But in Canada, the "big" one is Toronto's Canadian International Auto Show, if for nothing else than the media attention the event garners.

It may be held in the city that the rest of Canada "loves to hate," but this particular show is where manufacturers make their biggest roar when it comes to announcing new product.

And so it was that the most recent show saw some 40 vehicle premieres and attracted more than 800 accredited journalists.

The city, of course, is also home to its sometimes-troubled mayor, Rob Ford, who officially opened the event.

But then it was right down to business, including Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the Chrysler Group, who spoke to members of the media about the automaker's strategy for growth and his overarching strategy for locating any new or expanded plants.

There's a reason Toronto is so important to marketers of vehicles, notes < b>David McClean, the auto show's director of marketing services.

"It's the key platform where they can tell their story to a broad-based Canadian audience," said McClean. "With the media coverage we attract, those messages are bound to hit the national stage and with the tools we offer here, including both social traditional media, that provides them with the means to engage their customer base."

The show extends over two weekends and a legal holiday that adds an extra day for crowds to take it all in.

McClean just has to work with local media to make sure their readers, viewers and listeners get the message.

"There's fierce competition for the disposable entertainment dollar," he added. "That's probably true in a lot of big cities but there's just so much to do that we have to work very hard at it, even though an estimated 60 percent of people who come to the show are actually in the market for a vehicle."

McClean continues to focus on driving attendance to weekdays.

"We're maxed out on the weekends," noted McClean, who is using a proprietary ticketing program (the same one used by the New York International Auto Show) to bring even more pricing options—even last minute promotional options—designed to drive attendance during the week or even at times of the day that are slower than others.

McClean said Toronto show organizers—a separate company from the now-combined Ontario and Toronto dealers association—are very active in developing promotions and sponsorship packages.

"We make sure we give as many companies an opportunity to reach a very substantial audience of people interested in the vehicles we bringing to the forefront," he added.

The fact that some 30 percent of that audience is female hasn't escaped his attention.

"We're very cognizant of the female audience," said McClean. "While we don't have specific programs geared to women, we try to make sure that the ones we do have are inclusive and would naturally appeal to that demographic."

Profile: Canadian International Autoshow

Feb. 14-23, 2014

Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Exhibit Space:
650,000 square feet

Adults, $23; Children (7-12), $7, Children 6 and under, FREE. Family admission (2 adults, 2 children), $45.

Show Hours:
10:30 am-10 pm, exception closing Sunday, closed at 6 pm

Produced by:
Trillium Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Todd Bourgon Trillium Automobile Dealers Association

Show Contact:
Jason Campbell
General Manager,
Canadian International Autoshow
905.940.6232, jasonc@autoshow.ca

Show Website:

Vancouver: New leadership ready to 'challenge' the status quo

Jason Heard may be the new guy running the Vancouver International Auto Show, but he's no stranger to the event.

In fact, for the last two years, Heard has been an exhibitor, having run a Vacnouver Collector Show and Auction.

That all changed earlier this summer when Heard became executive director of the show and his father, Phil, became a consultant to show.

Jason said he'll have little if any issues with making the transition to running the Vancouver show on behalf of the New Car Dealers Association of BC (and ATAE Blair Qualey).

"This is a natural for me," said Heard. "We are the show guys [the "we" in reference to his father]. When I was growing up, my Dad used to tell me he was in the show business. For a long time, I thought it meant he was an actor."

Clearly, he got over that misconception.

But Heard is most definitely aware of what running an auto show takes and has the experience to prove it.

His first job was doing "press junkets" for a brewer. "You get to go and do everything," he said.

Since then, Heard has built a resume that's impressive by any standard, having created (and then sold) a high-end design show in Vancouver (it's now called IDS West).

With the Vancouver International Auto Show, Heard said the opportunity is to take the event to the next level.

"We're looking at a platform that really hasn't been challenged and we think we can take it to the next level," he said.

The show, which now uses the Vancouver Convention Centre West, built for the city's 2010 Winter Olympics.

Looking back at this year's auto show, Heard says the event is well positioned to capitalize on what he calls a unique community, one that sees a significant demographic of Mandarin and South Asian new Canadians who have some head-turning purchasing power.

"The number of very high-end luxury cars you see coming down the hill from Simon Fraser University is just unbelievable in this market," he added.

Heard expects to be able to build on initiatives like the show's Green Ride and Drive programs and returning with the exotics, collector cars and classics that have been part of what brings people to the show.

"But there's even more that we can do and we're ready to do it."

Profile: Vancouver International Auto Show

March 25-30, 2014 Place:
Vancouver Convention Centre West

Exhibit Space:
273,500 square feet (growing 53,000 sqft for 2015)

$15 adults (weekday), $18 adults (weekend) $10, seniors, $4, children (7-12), $30, family pass (two adults, two children 12 and under); $25, multi-day pass

Show Hours:
Tuesday- 5pm-10pm, Wednesday to Friday, noon-10 pm; Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm

Produced by:
New Car Dealers Association of BC

Show Contact:
ATAE Blair Qualey
President and CEO
New Car Dealers Association of BC

Jason Heard, Executive Director
Vancouver International Auto Show
604.214.9964, jheard@newcardealers.ca

Show Website:

Show Directory

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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
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Motor Trend International Auto Show—Baltimore
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Bedford, NH
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10/24/2014 - 10/26/2014

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Alabama International Auto Show
4/30/2015 - 5/3/2015

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
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Cleveland Auto Show
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Columbus International Auto Show
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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
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Denver Auto Show
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North American International Auto Show
1/17/2015 - 1/25/2015

Edmonton Motor Show
4/9/2015 - 4/12/2015

Fort Worth
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11/6/2014 - 11/9/2014

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

Harrisburg, PA
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1/29/2015 - 2/1/2015

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

First Hawaiian International Auto Show
3/13/2015 - 3/15/2015

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
3/4/2015 - 3/8/2015

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

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

Louisville Auto Show
1/30/2015 - 2/1/2015

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

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

Minneapolis/St. Paul
Twin Cities Auto Show
3/7/2015 - 3/15/2015

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

New Orleans
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3/20/2015 - 3/22/2015

New York
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4/3/2015 - 4/12/2015

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City International Auto Show
3/5/2015 - 3/8/2015

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma State Fair Auto Show
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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
2/6/2015 - 2/8/2015

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
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1/22/2015 - 1/25/2015

Salt Lake City
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1/16/2015 - 1/19/2015

San Antonio
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11/6/2014 - 11/9/2014

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

San Jose
Silicon Valley International Auto Show
1/8/2015 - 1/11/2015

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
4/17/2015 - 4/19/2015

Vancouver International Auto Show
3/24/2015 - 3/29/2015

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

Stacey Castle, chair, 2014 ASNA Summer Meeting
Sacramento International Auto Show

Lou Vitantonio, chair, 2015 ASNA Summer Meeting
Cleveland Auto Show

Rod Alberts
North American International Auto Show

Loretta Allman
Charlotte International Auto Show

Dean Mansfield, ATAE board liaison
San Diego International Auto Show

Greg Remensperger
Portland International Auto Show

Mark Schienberg
New York International Auto Show

Jim Tolkan
Greater Milwaukee International Auto Show

Tam Webb
Midlands international Auto Show

The Auto Show Report

Joe Rohatynski, senior editor

J.D. Booth, writer

Marc Harlow, writer

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