TO THE EDITOR:
I enjoyed Jamie Butters' column, "As auto shows struggle, give some offbeat ideas a shot," in the Jan. 27 issue. In some ways, this trend parallels what has been happening in Detroit for the past several years with the SAE International show. I've been active in the OEM supplier world since 1980 — and up until the early 2000s, the SAE show was a big deal in our area.
All of the major suppliers turned out for it; it was sort of "old home week" in the industry, complete with luncheons, hospitality suites and major presentations. Then — slowly at first, followed by a snowball effect — many of the major suppliers opted out of the show. Some of their reasoning was the cost and, more importantly, it tied up their key personnel for an entire week, not to mention the prep time ramping up to it.
While the SAE show still exists, and actions are taking place to reinvigorate it, the industry has opted for smaller specialty shows — interior, electronics, etc. They are easy-in, easy-out and offer a lot of bang for the buck. Maybe this is a concept the auto companies should consider — pop-up showings, special events, etc. Just a thought.
JOSEPH GIACOMIN, Managing director, automotive group, Angott Search Group, Rochester, Mich. Angott is an executive recruiting firm.