Consumer turnout for Auto Show ranks 2017 among top five in Washingtonês history
The 10 day run of the 2017 Washington Auto Show (WAS) — Jan. 27 Feb. 5– earned it the distinction of being the 5th best attended show in WANADAês 100 year history. WANADA, which has produced 75 auto shows in Washington since its founding in 1917, has logged strong attendance, year over year, in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WEWCC) since its opening in 2004.
Along with the world class Convention Center in Washington, taking the Auto Show up to 10 and 11 days in recent years from the former years when it was 5 or 6 has made a big difference, said Geoff Pohanka of Pohanka Automotive, chairman of the 2017 Auto Show. Two weekends is the key to consumer turnout at an auto show that properly bespeaks size and the strength of the new car market in the Washington, DC region as it compares to other major markets in the U.S., he said.
Public attendance for 2017 was significantly improved over last year when a snow storm shut down the National Capital Area, causing a delayed opening for the 2016 WAS. And while 2015 retains its ranking as the all-time best attended Auto Show in Washington, 2017 joined the winnersê circle in public turnout, comparable to the eminently successful shows in 2013 and 2014.
The Washington venue enables us to showcase cutting edge automotive high technology that the OEMs are anxious to roll out to Congress, the administration and federal agency establishment, said Pohanka, which we did successfully during Auto Show Industry/Media Days with an expanded, two day MobilityTalks Conference at the WEWCC and on Capitol Hill. MobilityTalks, along with our Media Day press conferences with U.S. notables and industry commentators, lights up the media that covers Washington, which in turn reaches and excites consumers who turnout in droves, he said.
From the MobilityTalks and OEM announcements over WAS Industry/Media Days that preceded the consumer show, the publicês imagination was, indeed, piqued by the media coverage of the industry conversation that ensued about autonomous vehicles and on-board safety technology that checks driver error and prevents vehicle crashes.
The significant improvements in vehicle technology that protect drivers from themselves is right up there with navigation systems that talk to you, 21st Century vehicle entertainment systems that rival what you have in your home, and every other high tech bell and whistle imaginable which are all what consumers come to the Auto Show to see, said John OêDonnell, producer of the WAS. If the strong turnout at our Auto Show is any indication, new vehicles today have evolved into so much more than transportation from point A to point B, he said. With new vehicle sales tracking upward year over year, the industry is obviously ahead of the curve on consumer demand.
The Washington Auto Show this year was not without its scheduling challenges, starting with the Inauguration events tying up the Convention Center just as the Auto Show was trying to move in. Add to this challenge the fact that another convention was in the WEWCC after the Auto Show opened — albeit in a relatively small amount of space — along with the well-publicized Metro system delays potentially impacting nearly one in two Auto Show attendees. The biggest logistic was the industry one with the 2017 NADA Convention in New Orleans launching Thursday, Jan. 26, as the WAS Media Day unfolded. Then, of course, came Super Bowl Sunday on the last day of the WAS.
To be in the top 5 best attended Auto Shows here was no small feat with all the obstacles we faced, said OêDonnell.Download Bulletin PDF