Dealers Voice: Auto Shows are Still Vital in the Digital Age
AutoShow organizers have listened to consumers, as there is a voracious public appetite for all things automotive.
When it comes to researching automobiles, smartphones and other digital devices are the go-to tools for retrieving information.
Anything related to the buying and selling of automobiles — pricing, financing, trade-in values, tech features, car reviews and maintenance costs — can be found in an instant on a smartphone or tablet, from practically anywhere.
However, digital platforms and devices will only get you so far. A smartphone cannot replace the sensory thrill of seeing vehicles up close, or the tactile experience of sitting in cars and checking under the hood. That is where auto shows come in.
In recent years, there has been talk in the media that auto shows are losing some of their lustre, and that the public appetite for these events has waned. Don’t tell that to the organizers of the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS).
Attendance at the CIAS has been climbing steadily. At the 2019 event in February, total attendance was 357,745 — setting daily attendance records on four days, including a one-day all-time high of 54,634 set on the Sunday of the Family Day weekend.
AutoShow organizers have listened to consumers, as there is a voracious public appetite for all things automotive. Now, more than ever, car lovers are clamouring for the latest news and trends in an industry that is experiencing rapid-fire change.
As David McClean, director of marketing at the Canadian International AutoShow, noted in a recent press release: “There has never been more change in the auto industry than there has been in the last 12 months. At the AutoShow, we are the complete 360-degree view of all things automotive.”
Indeed, these are unprecedented times in our industry with autonomous technology, electric vehicles, alternative power systems, vehicle subscription services, connected cars and artificial intelligence. These new developments are influencing how we drive and are changing our relationship to automobiles.
One of the big trends in the automotive industry is electric vehicles. At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in September (which I attended), electric vehicles took centre stage, with Volkswagen unveiling a new electric hatchback and Jaguar introducing a reinvented electric XJ sedan.
Auto shows are more relevant than ever today, where automakers and suppliers are eager to display their latest designs, features and technologies before audiences that cannot get enough.
For car enthusiasts and consumers with an interest in automobiles, there is no better place than an auto show to learn about the latest in automotive developments and to view the newest models, concepts and technologies.
Looking ahead to the 2020 CIAS, the theme is “transformative times,” which is an apt description of the changes affecting the automobile industry.
The 2020 AutoShow will feature three themes that illustrate the transformations taking place in the this sector: changing technology that is impacting safety features, predictive and entertainment technologies; exploring alternative types of transportation, such as ride hailing and ride sharing; and identifying new automotive trends.
Much of the show’s success has been the diversity of its content. The management of CIAS visit other exhibits and auto shows around the world, returning with new features that help to create that special experience visitors enjoy.
In addition to the new cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers and concepts on display, CIAS showcases some of the world’s most exotic automobiles and classic collector cars.
The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association presents an exhibit about automotive education, with interactive displays where visitors can learn about the diverse courses available at post-secondary schools and career opportunities in the retail auto sector.
Over the next three months, organizers of CIAS will be updating its website with information about the 2020 AutoShow, which takes place Feb. 14-23, 2020. If you buy your tickets online at autoshow.ca, you can save 25 per cent off the regular price. Tickets go on sale on Nov. 1.
This column represents the views and values of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to tada.ca. Cliff Lafreniere is president of the TADA and is president of Pinewood Park Motors (Ford) in Kirkland Lake. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.