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Auto Shows - US - March 2009

This report explores the auto show market in the U.S. It provides insight into the external and internal factors affecting auto show attendance and trends, and what they mean for future attendance, promotional campaigns and viability of the shows in the selling of new cars.

Specific questions that are answered in this report include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What effects do rising gasoline costs and the economic downturn have on the relevancy of auto shows?
  • How can auto shows use the “green” movement to increase attendance?
  • How can auto shows speak more to women car buyers?
  • What segments of the auto show market are stagnating and which ones are in better health?
  • What auto shows are innovating their events, and how can others learn from their success?
  • How can auto show producers take advantage of the economic downturn to appeal to consumers seeking fuel savings and cars infused with green technology?
  • How are auto shows leading to future car purchasing?
  • What cars are attendees buying following auto shows?
  • How are niche auto shows catering to a consumer demand that larger auto shows may be ignoring?
  • What media are auto show producers using to deliver effective marketing campaigns, and what actions need to be taken to improve visibility?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Data sources
        • Consumer survey data
          • Abbreviations and terms
            • Abbreviations
              • Terms
              • Executive Summary

                • U.S. auto shows divided into three groups; four major shows reign
                  • Auto shows struggling for relevance as auto market mired in crisis
                    • Some carmakers starting to pull out of auto shows—a sign to come?
                      • Auto shows slashing opulence, step up efforts to keep exhibitors
                        • Consumer findings
                          • Novelty cars rule
                            • A marketing disconnect with women
                              • Lack of interest among the unconverted
                                • Auto shows help lead to new car purchasing
                                  • SUVs and large trucks still rule over hybrids
                                    • Converts will return
                                      • Asians driven by concept cars, likely to purchase vehicles after show
                                      • Insights and Opportunities

                                        • Women car buyers should be directly targeted in promotional messages
                                          • Virtual auto shows can generate more sponsors, add value for exhibitors
                                            • Incorporating live racing will boost media exposure, consumer excitement
                                            • Inspire Insights

                                                • Trend 1: Alpha Moms
                                                  • Mothers are no longer defined solely in terms of their role within the family
                                                    • Auto shows: Struggling to gain relevance with women
                                                      • Impacting women car buyers means taking chances
                                                        • Getting women through the door depends on making it easy
                                                          • Trend 2: Brand USA
                                                            • What's happening with Brand USA?
                                                              • Auto show prestige shifting from U.S. to foreign markets?
                                                                • Auto shows can turn message local to stoke grassroots spirit
                                                                • Market Overview

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Attendance at top four auto shows is in decline
                                                                      • Regional auto shows preferred over international shows
                                                                          • Figure 1: Auto show attendance, by auto show, December 3-8, 2008
                                                                      • Competitive Context

                                                                        • Chinese, Indian auto shows gaining prestige as U.S. auto market sours
                                                                          • U.S. carmakers investing in emerging markets, boosting auto shows there
                                                                            • Non-profit auto shows offer alternative perspectives, more entertainment
                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • U.S. auto shows dominated by four top international players
                                                                                    • Figure 2: U.S. auto show schedule, 2008-09 season, by international, regional and other
                                                                                • International Auto Shows

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Top four international shows designed to showcase industry innovation
                                                                                      • New York International Auto Show
                                                                                        • Los Angeles Auto Show
                                                                                          • Chicago Auto Show
                                                                                            • North American International Auto Show
                                                                                              • Figure 3: North American International Auto Show attendence, 2003-09
                                                                                          • Regional Auto Shows

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Regional auto shows serve consumers in secondary markets
                                                                                                • Motor Trend Auto Shows
                                                                                                  • Michigan International Auto Show
                                                                                                    • Inland Empire Auto Show
                                                                                                      • Greater Kansas City International Auto Show
                                                                                                      • Other Auto Shows

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Niche auto shows focus on single themes, high on entertainment value
                                                                                                            • Woodward Dream Cruise
                                                                                                              • Championship Auto Shows
                                                                                                                • NextCruise
                                                                                                                  • AltCar Expo
                                                                                                                    • Pioneer Auto Show
                                                                                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                                                                                      • Worst sales slump in decades driving carmakers to retreat from auto shows
                                                                                                                        • For some carmakers, cutting back tempers a complete withdrawal
                                                                                                                          • Specialty, non-profit car shows becoming more viable for families
                                                                                                                            • Consumers driving less, cars giving way to alternative transportation
                                                                                                                            • Brand Qualities

                                                                                                                              • New Orleans Auto Show finally regains relevance five years past Katrina
                                                                                                                                • Milwaukee show appeals to families by partnering with community groups
                                                                                                                                  • Louisville show increases attendance 300% by boosting entertainment
                                                                                                                                  • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                                    • Ford introduces interactive component to displays at 2009 Chicago show
                                                                                                                                      • Test drives, obstacle courses connect auto shows to dealer sales
                                                                                                                                        • Test drives groom early adopters to hybrids, alternative fuel prototypes
                                                                                                                                          • Toyota expands adventure component of signature obstacle courses
                                                                                                                                            • Midwest auto shows help build manufacturer loyalty by freeing up services
                                                                                                                                              • Creative ticket marketing helps boost show numbers even in recession
                                                                                                                                              • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                                                                                • Overview
                                                                                                                                                  • From blogs to viral videos, digital media becoming more relevant for shows
                                                                                                                                                    • Motor Trend Auto Shows target regional markets through Google Audio
                                                                                                                                                      • Chicago Auto Show launches social media sites to get advance word out, build buzz
                                                                                                                                                        • Car manufacturers experiment with branded auto show portals from company sites
                                                                                                                                                          • Autoshows.ford.com
                                                                                                                                                            • Igotshotgun.com
                                                                                                                                                              • Blog.chryslerllc.com
                                                                                                                                                                • Ticket marketing gets inventive to increase foot traffic in hard times
                                                                                                                                                                  • Analysis of television commercials
                                                                                                                                                                    • Dealership spots emphasize cars as much as show
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 4: Ford Detroit Auto Show ad, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Black tie glamour, community connection essential to selling tickets but not cars
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 5: Chicago Auto Show ad, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Auto Shows—Reasons For Attending

                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                      • Men more likely to attend shows to view concept, new car models
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 6: Reasons for attending auto shows, by gender, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                        • Concept cars skew more with youngest respondents
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 7: Reasons for attending auto shows, by age, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • New, old and unique cars are biggest draws, regardless of income
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 8: Reasons for attending auto shows, by income, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Auto Shows—Reasons For Not Attending

                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                              • “Lack of interest” biggest auto show turnoff for women
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 9: Reasons for not attending auto shows, by gender, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                • Older respondents turned off by disinterest, location, admission price
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 10: Reasons for not attending auto shows, by age, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                  • High-earners most likely to cite “lack of interest” for skipping shows
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 11: Reasons for not attending auto shows, by income, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                    • More female respondents say they’d avoid future auto shows
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 12: Future auto show interest, by gender, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Seniors most likely to say “no” to the auto show
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Future auto show interest, by age, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Higher income households more likely to consider future auto shows
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Future auto show interest, by income, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Male respondents most likely to buy new cars following auto show
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Time taken to purchase car after auto show visit, by gender, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Visitors aged 45-54 most likely to want a new car soon after the show
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Time taken to purchase car after auto show visit, by age, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Income level influences how soon a purchase is made after an auto show
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 17: Time taken to purchase car after auto show visit, by income, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Car buyers like auto shows for “one-stop shopping”
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 18: Factors leading to post-auto show purchasing, by gender, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Young adults appreciate auto show information over other groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Factors leading to post-auto show purchasing, by age, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Wealthiest visitors say looking, not driving, influenced decision
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 20: Factors leading to post-auto show purchasing, by income, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Big cars favorite choice for auto show visitors
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 21: Type of vehicle purchased following auto show visit, by gender, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Age plays major factor in car choices—older respondents want room
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Type of vehicle purchased following auto show visit, by age, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wealthier respondents favor roomy interiors, luxury
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Type of vehicle purchased following auto show visit, by income, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Auto Shows—Future Interest

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Take me back: most show visitors want to return next year
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Plans to attend an auto show in the next year, by gender, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Enthusiasm for auto shows tends to be highest among the young
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Plans to attend an auto show in the next year, by age, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Highest paid auto show visitors most likely to return to same show
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Plans to attend an auto show in the next year, by income, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Race and Ethnicity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Asian respondents drawn to futuristic, high-tech aspects of auto shows
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Reasons for attending auto shows, by race and ethnicity, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • White respondents least enthused about auto shows among ethnic groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Reasons for not attending auto shows, by race and ethnicity, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Asian attendees most likely to buy new car three to six months after show
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Post-auto show auto purchasing, by race and ethnicity, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Blacks, Asians less likely to pick SUVs, trucks than whites, Hispanics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Type of vehicle purchased following auto show visit, by race and ethncity, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Asians most excited about car shows, while whites most indifferent
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Plans to attend an auto show in the next year, by race and ethnicity, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Whites least likely to attend future shows; Asians, Hispanics most on fence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Future auto show interest, by race and ethnicity, December 3-12, 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Showmen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Conceptuals
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Regionals
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Who they are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Car show clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Average number of shows attended by car show clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Car shows attended in the last five years by car show clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Bought or leased a vehicle in past five years by car show clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: What were your primary reason(s) for attending an auto show(s) in the past five years? by car show clusters, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Car show clusters by gender, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Car show clusters by age group, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Car show clusters by income group, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Car show clusters by race, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Car show clusters by Hispanic origin, December 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • American Automobile Association (AAA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Chrysler LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ferrari S.p.A.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ford Motor Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • General Motors Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hyundai Motor America
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Land Rover North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mattel Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • National Football League Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nissan North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation [SAIC]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Southwest Airlines Co.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Suzuki Motor Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Toyota Motor Corporation USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Department of Transportation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Volkswagen of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Auto Shows - US - March 2009

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)