Auto Service World
News   December 12, 2003   by Auto Service World

Biggest Auto Show Adds Jumps on Aftermarket Performance Bandwagon

The 2004 North American International Auto Show will have something new in the lower level of Detroit’s Cobo Hall–automakers’ aftermarket performance products.
Automakers with aftermarket displays in the lower level will include Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Scion and Honda Motor Co. ASC Inc. of Southgate, Mich., a roof system and specialty vehicle supplier, also will be there. They will share Michigan Hall with standard displays from Volkswagen AG and Isuzu.
The aftermarket displays will be “all our main floor exhibitor manufacturers who are very much involved in this market because it’s billions of dollars,” says Charles Fortinberry, the Show’s senior co-chairman.
Show organizers say the new exhibits will achieve two goals: Make Michigan Hall more of a destination for show-goers, and attract a youthful crowd. The majority of automakers’ vehicle exhibits will remain on the first-floor level.
After hearing that the Tokyo Motor Show was losing show-goers under 30 years old, Detroit show chiefs decided to talk to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). “We have simply agreed to cooperate,” Cook says.
SEMA holds its own aftermarket parts and accessories show in Las Vegas each fall, but is interested in exhibiting at the Detroit show. But the Detroit show’s aftermarket area will still be far more cars than parts. “We don’t want a carnival atmosphere,” Fortinberry says.
The Detroit show is working to grow in the number of vehicle unveilings, floor space and attendance. For example, about 64 vehicle unveilings are scheduled for next year, compared to 61 this year.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is expected to announce in January his plans for the show’s future, which could include a renovated Cobo Hall or a new convention center.
“I think the mayor personally would like to see a whole new convention center,” Fortinberry says. “That’s not to say that’s the plan to come back from the (city’s Cobo expansion) committee."

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