Dateline: Southeastern Michigan, USA
The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), now in its 23rd year, has garnered about as much acclaim and prestige as any worldwide ‘big league’ industrial exposition – and then some.
Organized and promoted by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) the annual NAIAS event continues to entertain, educate and endure in addition to the obvious showcasing. Demonstrated success lies within a synergistic embodiment of four key areas: Press Preview (January 10-11); Industry Days (January 12-13; Charity Preview (January 14) and the Public Showing (January 15-23).
International media attendance of every persuasion has often ranked among the best attended events in history with the Michelin Media Center often sounding more like a United Nations conclave. Industry days successfully connect emerging technology with potential manufacturing and marketing concerns effectively bringing an educational flavor to the forefront. Product introductions and personal interaction among attendees is a critical juncture of new business development.
To date the ‘black tie’ Charity Preview has raised almost $82 million for a variety of Michigan children’s organizations while the pubic attendance – which last year exceeded 700,000 – provides exhibitors with direct potential customer exposure which is a valuable commodity considering the dozens of product introductions and innovations.
Michigan Hall was previously not much more than an eyesore Cobo Center basement until the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) transformed almost 40,000 sf. into ‘EcoExperience’ and with the help of companies such as DTE brought sensible cutting edge energy solutions and understand to the forefront. 2011 NAIAS continues that success with MEDC’s Smarter Living in Michigan -again with the major support of DTE – which expands the vision past transportation to include expanded energy aspects, products and services we encounter in daily living. Coupled with MEDC’s Town Square and the DTE Smarter Living Showcase the area will again offer the immensely popular electric and hybrid auto ‘ride and drive’ experience.
Enter Lambert, Edwards & Associates which serves as the show’s public relations major- domo and has seemingly bypassed the ‘something for everyone’ circus mentality and provided ‘some things that everyone wants.’ The events are almost seamless and include national local network coverage, a stop by the Detroit Tiger’s Winter Carnival tour and an expanded Education Day sponsored by State Farm to name a few.
In the end, it’s the politics, music and icons that headliners (no pun intended) are made of. This year the politics are highlighted with a return visit by now House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) amidst the Press Preview – brave lady!
The music at the 2011 show offers a crown jewel in the appearance of the immensely popular legendary hometown band – ‘The Rockets’ which many local fans will remember as having evolved in the early 1970’s from Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels. International music mavin, Wilson Jeffries, recently commented, ‘You don’t open a gig in southeastern Michigan for the J. Geils Band and not bring it with you when you come’ referring to The Rockets’ August 2010 appearance at the DTE Music Theater.
And, the auto icons enjoy czar-like awe. Watching Bob Lutz on the show floor is akin to Paul Newman arriving at the Academy Awards! He is indisputably the Last of the Really Great Car Guys!
Free advice? Try the NAIAS Virtual Show Floor.