How do dealers use the New York International Auto Show to spark sales among an expected 1.2 million motor enthusiasts? Let us count the ways.
A Taste of Knowledge: With competitive vehicles in every price, size and class spread about 846,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, the auto show's owner, the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Assn., invites manufacturers to host meals and tours for sales people to enhance their product knowledge.
General Motors Corp. hosts a breakfast and motivational sales meeting before inviting sales people to scour the sales floor for ideas. Jaguar also hosts breakfast and offers early admission to its sales people. Volvo hosts a meeting for sales managers.
The association stages automotive career fairs at the auto show, hoping to recruit sales and service people to take advantage of the association's new $25 million dealership training center in Queens.
Doing It All on Purpose: All the fun-filled activities — such as the U.S. Lawnmower Racing Assn.'s competitive rally, BMW Car Club day and Hispanic Day — have a basic focus at the show: to entice people to buy a car or truck.
Candida Romanelli, show director, says surveys show most show patrons plan to purchase a vehicle within 18 months, using what she calls the largest showroom in the world to help differentiate their ideal model.
Donna Walter, auto show manager for Toyota, says that, of the 24 million people who attend the major auto shows around the nation, 65% of attendees buy a vehicle within 12 months, 20%-25% percent buy within 3 months.
Corrugated Box Show's in Jersey: The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Assn. introduces the Members Express Club to encourage upscale tire kickers to visit the New York auto show more than once.
Individuals can register online for an additional $20 per individual or $30 for family of four to receive red-carpet show treatment. Card-holders get access to a VIP lounge and the most sought-after perk: an hour of show access before the general crowds stream in.
“This isn't just a mundane industry expo, like for corrugated boxes,” says show director Candia Romanelli. “People want to touch, feel, interact with vehicles.”
The Mini Match Game: The Greater Gotham Mini Dealers issues to auto show patrons scratch cards with iconic New York images, offering prize potentials.
Teams distribute the cards on all four floors of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, inviting patrons to scratch their cards and see whether they matched a back wall display at Mini's auto show booth. The top prize is a round trip to London. Others receive Mini gear.
The sweepstakes are also open to those visiting greater New York Mini dealerships through May 31. Making the visit all the sweeter, the product specialists at the show issue coupons for $500 off the purchase of a new Mini.
Mini owners might better afford their own trip to Europe than purchasers of other small cars. About 70% of Mini buyers earn more than $75,000 a year, and spend an average of $5,000 in options for their vehicles.