TTAC’s influence on the auto industry continues to grow. Following TTAC’s choice of the Detroit Beer Company as the location of our meet & greet during the North American International Auto Show’s press preview, the NAIAS’ own organizers, DADA, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, held a press conference this morning, upstairs at the same brew pub, announcing plans for next year’s show. Most of the announcements were fairly mundane, but buried in the news there may have been hints of a change brewing in how General Motors’ flagship brand is marketed.
To avoid conflict with the Consumer Electronics Show out in Las Vegas, which in recent years has grown as a venue for auto company announcements as infotainment and other electronic technologies have proliferated in automobiles, the press preview of the NAIAS has been pushed back to January 14-15. Now Alan Mulally can take his time shuttling between the CES and the NAIAS.
This morning’s press conference included Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. I couldn’t help but think that part of the purpose of Mayor Bing’s presence there was to reassure people that despite Detroit’s serious financial woes that will probably involve an emergency financial manager appointed by Gov. Snyder, the show will go on as scheduled. Bing compared the NAIAS’ impact on Detroit to “almost feeling like we have the Super Bowl here every year.” That’s not an exaggeration, at least in terms of media coverage. Among the other announcements this morning was the fact that 5,265 members of the media attended the 2012 NAIAS press preview. What references I could find to the number of journalists working this year’s Super Bowl put the figure around 5,000.
To further show that the NAIAS is still the Mack Daddy of North American auto shows, NAIAS executive director Rod Alberts provided stats for the most recent auto show season showing that the Detroit show got twice as much media coverage as the New York show, three times the coverage of the LA show and, much to the retiring Paul Brian’s chagrin, seven times the media coverage than the Chicago auto show received. Alberts also revealed the proposed floor plan for the 2013 NAIAS. While he stressed that it was still preliminary and subject to later change, he did say “it’s close”. The NAIAS may open its doors two weeks into January but things still have to be finalized in time for construction of the elaborate exhibits that begins in November. The tentative floor plan shows that for the first time at the NAIAS, Cadillac’s display stand at the 2013 Detroit show will apparently be separate from GM’s main exhibit containing Chevy, Buick and GMC. Is that indicative of a possible change in marketing for Cadillac, perhaps stressing the brand and not its corporate parent, and distinguishing it from GM’s less luxurious brands? I don’t really know, but the press event was so by-the-book and predictable that to get journalists to attend, DADA had to entice them with the promise of free box seats and eats at the Tigers-Cardinals game at Comerica Park around the corner from the pub – and there still were more guests there from corporate sponsors than from the media. Section 140 at Comerica was at least 60% empty at a game that was close to a sellout. The autojournos who didn’t attend may actually have missed some potential news.
Disclaimer: The NAIAS provided valet parking for the day, food, beverages and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap at the press conference, as well as tickets to the baseball game and access to the Pepsi Porch (more food and beverages) at the stadium. The Tigers won 2-1 in extra innings.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS