Vancouver International Autoshow - Buy Tickets
Vancouver International Autoshow
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In the News: Vancouver auto show adds sizzle to the steak

In the News: Vancouver auto show adds sizzle to the steak

Vancouver auto show Executive Director Jason Heard with the show promo car, a 2017 Audi S7, at Jack Poole Plaza.

The Vancouver Sun
By Andrew McCredie

Are auto shows dead? That soul-searching question has made the rounds in the automotive industry the past few years, as even the annual car showcases haven’t escaped this age of disruption.

“This year, fewer marques than ever in modern times will devote the time and considerable expense to attend this weekend’s Parisian debuts,” Bloomberg’s Hannah Elliott wrote on the eve of the 2016 show in the City of Lights. “To them, in an era when social media and live video feeds disseminate new-car images and information instantaneously worldwide, it just isn’t worth it.”

Jason Heard can relate.

The Vancouver International Auto Show Executive Director is putting the final touches on the 2017 show, which takes place at the end of next month at the downtown Convention Centre.“I’ve learned the industry is changing very fast,” he says when asked the biggest takeaway from his three-year term at the helm. “And also that it’s up to managers of shows to produce additional content that will support what the manufacturers are doing.”

To their credit, Heard and his team have done just that, most notably by opening up the Convention Centre’s main floor for displays the past two years, with a focus on automotive lifestyle. And judging from last year’s attendance — a show record — it’s working. More impressive is the fact that the 2016 show was one day shorter than usual.

As much as Heard would like to take full credit for the bump in attendance, he says a big reason the Vancouver show has bucked the sagging attendance trend at other global shows has a lot to do with the city.

“Our advantage is we have a huge part of the population that loves cars, especially luxury cars,” he notes, adding, “It’s the niches that really set us apart, whether it’s EVs or classics or hot rods or exotics. That’s the fun thing about our market.”

Think of it as the sizzle to the steak, which in the case of an auto show is new vehicle previews.

Those niches are what his team has focused on expanding over the past two shows, from the Green Ride ‘n’ Drive program — which saw a record 300 per cent increase in the number of people taking part during last year’s show — to reaching out to the classic car community and connecting with the city’s thriving exotic dealer network.

That latter segment will be back in full force again this year, most notably with a couple of multi-million-dollar display cars in the Ferrari Maserati of Vancouver dealership.

Reports Heard: “[FMoV GM] Mark Edmonds just confirmed with me that they’ll be bringing a 1960 Ferrari GTO short wheelbase — valued at between $12 million and $14 million — and a 1957 Maserati 200Si Fantuzzi.”

But there are still battles he’s not winning. For example, Mercedes-Benz Canada skipped the show last year and won’t be there again this year.

He also has frustrations in getting up-to-date information from some automakers on what vehicles they plan to bring to the show.

“That’s the toughest thing. It always takes things to the eleventh hour in terms of what we can promote about the show,” he says, then points to his head. “That’s why you get gray hair six weeks out.”

The Vancouver International Auto Show runs March 28–April 2.

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Public Show Days

Tuesday, March 28 to Sunday, April 2

Tuesday, March 28 4:00PM - 10:00PM
Wednesday, March 29 10:00AM - 10:00PM
Thursday, March 30 10:00AM - 10:00PM
Friday, March 31 10:00AM - 10:00PM
Saturday, April 1 10:00AM - 10:00PM
Sunday, April 2 10:00AM - 6:00PM

Additional Information

Weekday Admission
Tuesday, March 28 - Friday, March 31

General Admission $16.00
Seniors (65+) / Students with Valid ID $12.00
Children 7-12 (when accompanied by an adult) $5.00
Children 6 & Under (when accompanied by an adult) Free
Family Pass (2 Adults and Children 12 & Under) $35.00

Weekend Admission
Saturday April 1 - Sunday, April 2

General Admission $18.00
Seniors (65+) / Students with Valid ID $13.00
Children 7-12 (when accompanied by an adult) $6.00
Children 6 & Under (when accompanied by an adult) Free
Family Pass (any weekend show Day, 2 Adults and 2 Children 12 & Under) $40.00