Regular attendees of at least one of the 2011 auto shows might have noticed the arenas and convention halls were a little more packed over previous years. Through the winter months of 2011, the newly energized auto industry revealed a dizzying exhibition of enchanting forms and cutting-edge technology. Regaining the relevancy to a mode of transportation which enthusiasm was tainted by corporate greed and technological neglect, multiple auto shows occurring within the first three months of this new year have become the trendy places to spend a day.
The launch pad to the 2011 automotive exhibitions, the 2011 North American International Auto Show saw auto manufacturers once again projecting an optimistic look at the future of motoring. Innovative, exciting concepts like the Porsche 918 RSR were joined by products such as the Ford Focus Electric, Volkswagen Passat, and the new family of Toyota Prius offering a sensational exhibition of the 21st century inside Detroit’s Cobo Center. As always with the North American International Auto Show, the 9-day public event completed with blistery cold conditions providing a deterrent as well as an enablement to car show attendance. For 2011 Detroit auto show delivered a 3 percent increase totalling to 735,370 paying attendees. This attendance boost is welcoming as the North American International Auto Show was brought to grief of immediate economic effects just two years prior. Since 2009, attendance to the Detroit automotive display has risen by 80,000 spectators.
With a bump up in auto show spectators at Detroit, the momentum continued as the newest vehicles breezed into the Windy City for the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Powered by a strong headwind of confidence for four-wheeled transportation, the Chicago Auto Show management announced a 10 percent increase over the 2010 show. The exact count for how many people attended the 10 days of the 2011 Chicago Auto Show is not available since the event organizers do not release audience numbers.
The upbeat message of the auto industry was also passed through Canada. Two major city car shows reported some healthy leaps thanks to fairly cooperate weather and a strong presence from all North American manufacturers. In late January, the Montreal Auto Show played host to an addition 10% general attendees. Counting 207,208 French-Canadian spectators, the enthusiasm turned to the 2011 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. A very robust presentation of an estimated 1,000 vehicles (I can attest to this fact personally), the show was looking to return to audience above 300,000 people after being hard hit two years prior. Showing a modest increase from 253,384 in 2009 to 258,652 in 2010 would make the 2011 prospect of lofty; this year’s Canadian International Auto Show pulled in 17.4 percent more spectators than 2010 according to publication Canadian Auto Dealer. If accurate, the actual attendance for the 2011 auto show in Toronto would have seen over 303,000 people basking in the warmness of the newest shapes radiating with light.
The rebound in interest for the automobiles is a global phenomenon and there was no better place than Geneva, Switzerland to give backing this declaration. With a tame estimate of 1.5 million North American car fans moving through the gates of the mentioned auto shows, the recently concluded 2011 Geneva Motor Show saw an increase of 6% over the 2010 event. Expecting the presence of 700,000 guests to see vehicles like the Ferrari FF, the Volkswagen Bulli concept and the complete rebirth of Saab, there was in fact over 735,000 arrived for the festivities in the late days of winter.
Many individuals and families partook in the auto show experience through the winter months as attention turns to spring. Spring is the first chance to see some of these previewed machines roaming roadways. Hoping that the auto show crowds will be a barometer for the upcoming activity at dealerships, 2011 has grounds for cautious optimism. While many carmakers are already enjoying strong sales, the audience at these indoor exhibitions could be either a cause or an effect.
Information Source: Canadian Auto Dealer, Canadian International Auto Show, Chicago Auto Show, Geneva Motor Show, Montreal Auto Show, North American International Auto Show
Photo Source: Chris Nagy