L.A. auto show names new manager
Terri Toennies, pictured, is replacing Andy Fuzesi, who will step down as the L.A. auto show's general manager after more than 20 years.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the percentage change in media attendance at the 2011 L.A. auto show over the 2010 show.
The Los Angeles Auto Show has appointed a new general manager charged with continuing recent increases in attendance while attracting more new-model introductions.
Terri Toennies will replace Andy Fuzesi, who will step down as the show's general manager after more than 20 years, effective Jan. 31.
Toennies most recently was CEO of the Oncenter, a convention and special-events center in Syracuse, N.Y.
Throughout her career she has worked behind the scenes at conventions, theater performances and major athletic events.
She also has worked with several automakers on events and incentive sales programs, said Brendan Flynn, the show's director of communications. She will report to the show's board of directors.
Fuzesi is also an officer at ANSA Productions, the show's parent company, and will retain half-ownership along with Lisa Kaz, the company's chairman and president.
Fuzesi wanted to recruit someone to run the day-to-day events of the show with a new set of skills and ideas to take the show into the future, Flynn said.
"The show has been in a growth mode since it changed dates in 2006 from January to November, and one of Terri's key responsibilities is not only managing this growth but taking advantages of the unique strengths of the show and L.A. market," Flynn said.
Public attendance at the L.A. show last year was about 920,000, up about 22 percent from 2010. About 4,000 journalists attended, up 15 percent from 2010, with international media attendance increasing 50 percent
Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
California is the nation's largest market for new light vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles. And Southern California is a mecca for automotive design and the nation's largest luxury vehicle market.
Attendance at the L.A. show last year was about 920,000, up about 22 percent from 2010. About 4,000 journalists attended, up 15 percent from 2010, with international media attendance increasing 50 percent, Flynn said.
The number of worldwide and North American car and light truck debuts at the L.A. auto show has increased since the date change in 2006 but has been fairly stagnant since 2010. The show has at least 45 debuts planned this year, 25 of them world debuts, including the Acura RLX, Fiat 500 L, Fiat 500e, Fiat Abarth Cabriolet, KIA forte sedan, and the VW Beetle convertible.
The North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit in January, traditionally draws the most senior executives from global automakers of the U.S. shows and consequently the highest media attendance, with 5,196 journalists in 2012. Public attendance was 770,932, about 35,000 more than the previous year.
The New York International auto show, held in late March to early April, had more than 1 million attendees this year and drew 3,501 journalists, a spokesman said.
The Chicago auto show, held in February, draws about 2,500 to 3,000 journalists each year. Although the show does not release attendance figures, a spokesman claimed it is the best-attended auto show in the nation.
The number of auto executives visiting the L.A. show has been increasing, Flynn said. For the first time this year, the National Automobile Dealers Association will hold an automotive conference that is expected to attract more senior level auto executives to the L.A. show. Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., will deliver the keynote address.