Down, but not out, Washingtonês Auto Show takes DC area blizzard in stride
The unprecedented blizzard conditions that struck the Washington area, shutting down everything in a snow emergency, closed The Washington Auto Show that was originally set to open Friday, Jan. 22, the day the blizzard arrived. Opening day for The Washington Auto Show then shifted four days later, to Tuesday, Jan. 25, reducing the showês run to the public from ten days to six, which cost the show one of its two weekends. Despite this formidable winter weather set back, the Auto Show recovered its pre-show momentum — that had every indication of another record turnout — when the six remaining days produced attendance 10% higher than a year earlier over the same six-day period. Closing day on Sunday, indeed, may have been an all-time daily attendance record, being up a whopping 53% over closing day in 2015.
Washingtonês upward trajectory as an industry and public policy show wasnêt daunted by the snow emergency that beset the region, said Geoff Pohanka, chairman of the Auto Show. Our Industry/Media Days –Wednesday and Thursday, January 21-22, –had a zero snow factor, which allowed high level U.S. and industry announcements and panels to go ahead without a hitch, he said, referring to presentations by John Mendel of American Honda, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, and FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen.
Once we opened, consumer response couldnêt have been more steady and enthusiastic during the weekdays and especially over the weekend, Pohanka said.
With much discussion during Washingtonês Industry/Media Days about connected and autonomous vehicles, the Intelligent Transportation Superhighway was a big draw at the Auto Show. Accordingly, the Green Car Journal recognized — for the first time — the
Connected Green Car of the Year when it awarded the honor to the all-new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. At the same time Green Car Journal spotlighted the Volvo XC90 T8 as its Luxury Green Car of the Year and the Honda HR-V, the Green SUV of the Year.
The OEMs are at The Washington Auto Show with a strong presence to put their best foot forward with fuel efficiency, said Show Producer John OêDonnell, because for better or worse, U.S. regulators and Congress are the automakersê partners in automotive design.
This was evident on the floor of the Auto Show with the bumper crop of alternative fuel technology, the likes of the Chevrolet Bolt, the Honda Clarity fuel cell, the Hyundai Sonata plug-in Hybrid, Toyotaês Mirai Fuel Cell and FCAês 2017 Chrysler Pacifica taking the un-minivan market — with its gasoline and hybrid models — to new heights.
Losing the first weekend of the show in the snow hurt over-all attendance when our ten day show was cut back to six. OêDonnell said. Had we had the same attendance or greater than the first four days of 2015 we would have topped our best attended show in Washingtonês history, he said. That didnêt happen, but we had a great run anyway that pleased the automakers, the media and our consumers.Download Bulletin PDF