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Dealer’s Voice: Toronto Auto Show Enjoys another Outstanding Year

Congratulations to auto show president Sandy Liguori and the entire auto show staff for a truly outstanding show this year.

The 40th Anniversary of the 2013 Canadian International AutoShow is now in the books and by all accounts it was a resounding success. Congratulations to auto show president Sandy Liguori and the entire auto show staff for a truly outstanding show this year. I also wish to congratulate and thank Nissan Canada for sponsoring the opening ceremonies and BASF Canada for sponsoring the Classic Car Collection.

Attendance at the 2013 auto show was 305,322, which is the third-highest attendance number on record. This was impressive considering the threatening weather in the suburban areas beyond the GTA, as well as reduced student attendance due to “work to rule” limitations.

In reviewing the show from a Dealer perspective, I want to reflect on the net benefits of the auto show for the auto industry and for consumers.

For auto manufacturers, the CIAS is a must-attend industry event. It’s Canada’s largest consumer show in size and attendance and it influences more car-buying decisions than any other automotive event in Canada.

Given the influence of the auto show, automakers are eager to present their latest cars and trucks, crossovers, green eco vehicles, sport coupes, luxury and sport models, concepts and premieres in the best possible light. At the 2013 auto show, 43 vehicle premieres established another standard, representing the third-highest number on record.

Automakers understand that thousands of visitors attend the auto show to evaluate the many makes and models and to choose their next automobile. It’s estimated that some 80,000 to 90,000 new vehicle sales in southern Ontario can be directly attributed to the auto show.

The three-month period following the show is known as the “spring selling market,” a time when automakers and dealers are aggressive in their marketing and advertising.

For new car dealers (and dealership staff), the auto show is an opportunity to view the newest models, meet car enthusiasts, network with colleagues and gauge public reaction to the latest offerings.

Viewing all of the new stylistic elements, safety features and advanced technologies provides industry personnel with a deeper appreciation for the products they represent. With car buyers more well-informed and educated than ever before, salespeople and sales managers need to stay abreast of new developments.

From a consumer perspective, car enthusiasts of all ages are given free rein to indulge their love affair with automobiles. Auto show organizers put tremendous energy and resources into creating a “total automotive experience,” with multimedia and multisensory exhibits, displays, features, promotions and prizes.

This year, the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association partnered with the Toronto Star to give away a $40,000 credit towards the purchase of a new car. The auto show’s sponsor, autotrader.ca, gave away $10,000 in cash prizes. Subaru gave away a 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek and a 2013 Subaru BRZ, while Hyundai gave away a 2013 Genesis R-Spec performance luxury sedan.

This year also saw a fully engaged social media component, featuring active Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites. A new promotion this year was “Pin It And Win It.” Visitors were encouraged to “pin” pictures they had taken at the show to the auto show’s Pinterest site. (Winners were selected daily and each received two free tickets to the 2013 auto show.

Indeed, social media has played a critical role in allowing the public to engage and share information across many platforms. That the majority of messages conveyed on social media were positive is a glowing testament to the entire auto show staff, as well as the show’s content.

The auto show staff and Board of Directors are reviewing this year’s show and assessing what worked and what didn’t. Every year, our goal is to raise the bar in terms of providing quality content and viewer engagement. As incoming president of the 2014 auto show, I have every reason to believe that we will exceed everyone’s expectations next year.

This column represents the view of TADA. Email president@tada.ca or visit tada.ca. Frank Romeo, president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, is a new car dealer in the GTA.

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  • Dealer’s Voice: Toronto Auto Show Enjoys another Outstanding Year
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