WASHINGTON -- Plans to turn the Washington Auto Show into a top-tier global event are a work in progress. For now, the exhibition is more of a cross between a traditional auto show and a lobbying exercise.
The show, which runs Tuesday, Jan. 24, through Sunday, Jan. 29, is in a new time slot this year right after the Detroit auto show. The new schedule permits greater contact between industry executives and federal officials and lawmakers, organizers say.
The show, at the Washington Convention Center, previously was held between Christmas and New Year's Day. This year's event features Tom Purves, CEO of BMW of North America LLC, as keynote speaker. Other high-ranking industry executives plan to attend.
But the event lacks major unveilings. The only scheduled global introductions will be special-edition versions of existing Volvo models, the XC70 and XC90.
"It's going to take some time" for the show to become a venue for concept cars and new production models, says Chris Preuss, spokesman for General Motors' Washington office. But, he says, "The industry is firmly behind wanting to see that happen."
An evening program on Wednesday, Jan. 25, called a "congressional gala and charity preview," will bring industry and government people together.
"We intend to be in attendance and talking to folks," says Mike Moran, spokesman for Ford Motor Co.'s Washington office.
The highest-ranking Ford executive at the show will be Anne Stevens, COO for the Americas. She will make an announcement about advanced vehicle technology, Moran says.
GM executives who plan announcements at the show are Beth Lowery, vice president for environment and energy; and Brent Dewar, GM North America vice president of marketing and advertising.
Other industry executives scheduled to make statements include Bob Yakushi, director of product safety and regulation for Nissan North America Inc.; and Hans Krondahl, executive vice president for marketing for Volvo Cars of North America Inc.
Panelists at an energy symposium include Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation Inc.; Don Beyer, chairman-elect of the American International Automobile Dealers Association; and Ed Cohen, vice president of government and industry relations for
Honda North America Inc.
The Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association organizes the show, which will display more than 800 vehicles from more than 40 brands.
You may e-mail Harry Stoffer at [email protected]