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Under the Big Tops
Global auto show scene in transition
By BOB GRITZINGER
AutoWeek | Published 09/08/06, 10:52 am et
When auto show season kicks off in earnest at the biennial enthusiasts’ lovefest in Paris later this month, news about the auto shows themselves might steal some headlines from the car premieres.
Changes in the Los Angeles show epitomize what is diff¬erent on the global auto show scene: Los Angeles gets official “international” designation and is moving to a new early-December slot for this year, and early November for 2007 and beyond on the annual calendar.
For the past 25 years, when the L.A. show convened at New Year’s or immediately thereafter, it struggled for the spotlight against Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. NAIAS typically draws media beginning in early January and opens to the public by mid-January.
Now out from under the huge shadow cast by Detroit, L.A.’s second show of 2006—set for Dec. 1-10 (the first was at its usual time in January this year)—is drawing a strong response from automakers.
At least 12 companies plan worldwide premieres at Los Angeles, including Nissan, which is hosting its first global debut at the Southern California show since 1999.
L.A.’s stature was further enhanced when it received international sanctioning by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles. OICA is a Paris-based international automotive trade association that coordinates international auto shows, among other functions. OICA also added Chicago and New York to the list of internationally sanctioned shows in the States, joining Detroit. This year Los Angeles shares the international designation with Detroit; Chicago will be designated along with Detroit in 2007; New York becomes the international pairing with Detroit in 2008. The cycle then repeats, beginning with Los Angeles in 2009. OICA has yet to take notice, but the rest of the world is starting to pay considerable attention to auto shows in China.
Meanwhile the Tokyo show is changing format. The show had alternated between cars and trucks one year and commercial vehicles and motor¬cycles the next year. Now the show will include cars, trucks, commercial vehicles and motorcycles in one show every other year, starting in fall 2007. The show also is moving to a central Tokyo convention center.
Finally, by the time the next British Motor Show debuts in mid-2008, it reportedly will be renamed the London Motor Show. The change is an attempt to raise the show’s international profile by using a city name in the title, like the other biggies in Geneva, Paris, Tokyo and Frankfurt. Detroit, one of the biggest shows on the planet, is staying with the NAIAS moniker, however.
Major auto show dates for 2006-07
Paris - Sept. 30-Oct. 15
Beijing - Nov. 21-27
Los Angeles - Dec. 1-10
Detroit - Jan. 13-21
Chicago - Feb. 9-18
Geneva - March 8-18
New York - April 6-15
Shanghai - April 24-28
Frankfurt - Sept. 13-23
Tokyo - Oct. 26-Nov. 11
Los Angeles - Nov. 16-27
Head to www.oica.net/htdocs/Main.htm
for the whole list of show dates.