Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA)
Shaping The Future of Mobility With The Washington, D.C. Auto Show
Business View Magazine profiles Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA) for our focus on Innovation in the U.S. Automotive Sector
Multiple industries have shifted their approach to regain momentum within their respective markets following a tumultuous multi-year pandemic. The mobility sector in particular is in the midst of supply chain shortages, an increase in vehicle prices, and scarce dealer lots nationwide as high demand remains steady with its automotive customers.
With the desire to maintain their freedom of mobility through purchasing new, used, and leased cars, consumers around the nation have looked to leading automotive associations like the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA) and their Washington, D.C. Auto Show for insights into the industry and sneak peeks at the latest models and technology sitting side-by-side on one show floor. Known as the region’s largest indoor event, the Washington, D.C. Auto Show is also the official Public Policy venue for the United States. Members of Congress, regulators, cabinet members, and staffers visit the show routinely in hopes of receiving an education on what is hitting the market as they browse the many displays of new models from the world’s top manufacturers, classic cars, interactive experiences, and the latest – advanced electric vehicles.
Playing a crucial role in society’s goal of a cleaner and more efficient way of life is the rise of electric vehicles. Whether hybrid-electrics (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) or battery electrics (BEVs), these vehicles are entering the mainstream at an accelerated rate. To address this trend, the show’s management team modified their 2022 Show programming to introduce an all-new EV Pavilion sponsored by Electrify America. Accommodating all of the latest technology-driven trends – diverse mobility, autonomous driving, electrification, and connectivity – this pavilion paid tribute to the growing rise in autonomous capabilities and acknowledged the strong backing from the government with their many ongoing buying incentives.
The EV Pavilion aimed at educating attendees on what the future of mobility looks like, while allowing them to browse the many electric vehicles, charging stations, 3-wheel ‘fun utility vehicles’, and even electric buses. Show goers were also given the chance to take their electric experience further with Pepco’s EVsmart Outdoor Ride ‘N Drive, where guests had the opportunity to cruise the streets of D.C. behind the wheel of an electric or gasoline-powered vehicle. Not only did the show provide its attendees with hands-on insights to the electric market, but it was also the headliner for the show’s local and national media coverage.
Playing a more crucial role behind the scenes is the Public Policy Show that precedes the consumer show days. Here government officials and industry representatives come together to address the current state of the country’s essential automotive sector and its future initiatives. These events, announcements, and presentations create the perfect platform to understand and adapt with the direction of the industry and the legislation that is driving it. During this one-day event, the team at WANADA call upon a handful of visionaries and thinkers within the industry to dive deeper into topics such as advanced technologies, vehicle footprints, material and labor shortages, ICE regulations, generational usage, and much more. Fireside chats, panel discussions, and keynote presentations fill the schedules of those looking to make a difference and share their opinions as the media pencil in one-on-ones, eager to share the breaking news and updates to their broad audiences.
The show’s exhibitors also use this Public Policy Day as a means to communicate. Now, more than ever, exhibitors are determined to shed light on the changes they are providing to their consumers. As corporate transparency has become an expectation of the new and educated consumer, savvy exhibitors have learned to use the auto show stage to showcase their commitment to their customers while presenting their sustainable growth strategies.
As the traditional automotive industry continues to shift, so will that of these iconic automotive shows sprinkled across the nation. Gone are the days of meandering through large halls, snagging a quick glance at the latest models from a plethora of local and international manufacturers. Now, the shows look to become more dynamic, hands-on, interactive, and informative.
In recent years, some manufacturers have lacked the vision to stay connected to the auto show experience, leaving guests to miss the opportunity to connect with their brand. Digital media, growing demand, and the need for more has created an argument asking if there is truly a need for these exhibitions. The answer is – “YES.” In fact, a survey from the 2022 Washington, D.C. Auto Show demonstrated the majority of consumers noticed when a brand was missing and resulted in a negative connotation with the missing manufacturer. As shows begin to shift gears to a more dynamic and experiential show, the opportunity to cater to a broader audience significantly increases. This unique opportunity provides exhibitors the ability to retain and grow their consumer database as new car buyers enter the market
With the Washington, D.C. Auto Show’s audience (both exhibitor and consumer alike) in mind, the 2023 Show will continue leading the charge of sharing, informing, and engaging by reimagining what the DC Auto Show experience is. New layouts catering to segmented buyers will connect directly with attendees by showcasing models that serve their particular lifestyle. Educational opportunities for all levels of mobility enthusiasts will shed light on a broad range of topics from changes within the industry to everything electric and basic car maintenance to building custom rides. An increase in interactive experiences, gaming, ride-and-drives, and a designated kid zone will entice consumers to come out, have fun, and get hands-on with exhibitors.
This is just a simple snapshot of the insight that the team at WANADA has come across and how they plan to change the game and help shape the future of mobility with their January Washington, D.C. Auto Show. Stay up to date with the latest industry news and events with WANADA and check back for what is to come during the 2023 Washington, D.C. Auto Show – set to hit the Walter E. Washington Convention Center January 20-29, 2023.
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AT A GLANCE
Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association (WANADA)
What: Representing and promoting the retail automobile business in the Washington Metropolitan area
Where: Based in Washington, DC