Washington, DC Auto Show Closes with Strong Weekend

After the challenges of producing an auto show during a global pandemic resulted in a relatively strong opening weekend and a number of successful member events, event managers were pleased to see lobbies and exhibits full of smiling faces to close the show.  “Other than the masks, you could be fooled into thinking there was no pandemic based on these crowds,” said WANADA President & CEO John O’Donnell during the height of the Saturday rush. “People still love auto shows!”

Bolstered by numerous segments on morning news programs, including substantial coverage on Good Morning America (GMA), the show saw strong attendance to close out its 10-day run at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  “The Washington, DC Auto Show is giving attendees a glimpse into the future, with a look at some of the hottest new wheels,” reported ABC’s Kenneth Moton on GMA.  “This year, it’s all about electric vehicles.  Everything from the new Ford F-150 Lightning truck…a fully electric DC Metro bus and a futuristic looking Toyota concept.”

The electric theme was not just limited to static displays, as thousands of show attendees participated in the show’s ride & drives.  PEPCO / EVSmart sponsored an outdoor event where attendees could test drive from their choice of battery electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models including a Hyundai Ioniq 5, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, Nissan Leaf, Polestar 2, and Toyota RAV4 Prime. Inside the convention center itself, Arcimoto conducted test drives of their FUVs to all takers, including many of the political notables and other VIPs who attended the show.

The exhibitors seemed pleasantly surprised by the turnout as well.  Several major manufacturers said that, while lead quotas had been adjusted due to the pandemic, their goals were being met and exceeded.  Furthermore, it was noted that the quality of the leads was superior to other events.  “The folks we’re talking to are serious about buying a car, they’re shopping,” one exhibit manager stated.  “And they’re very well informed.  We do shows all over the country and the attendees here in DC are undoubtedly the best informed and engaged that we see.”

“There are far more early adopters as well,” she continued. “A lot more people at your show are looking for EVs than other places.”  Indeed, the theme of the Washington, DC Auto Show, from Public Policy Day, political visits, ride and drives and even conversations with product specialists on the floor centered all around electrification.

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