February 20-24, 2013, the Greater Cincinnati Automobile Dealer’s Association presented the 25th Annual Enquirer Media / Cars.com Cincinnati Auto Expo. The expo was held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, and was produced by Hart Productions.
Hundreds of cars covered the floor of the Duke Energy Center. Each year the Expo brings in tens of thousands of Cincinnatians. Around 90 percent of them want to buy a new car within the next six months, and others are simply interested in seeing what’s new.
On Wednesday night, February 20, the GCADA hosted their annual Auto Expo Preview Party, Rev It Up!!. Representatives from dealerships all over the Greater Cincinnati Area gathered at the expo and walked the show. The GCADA added the “Rev It Up!!” theme to the party this year, with musical entertainment, and located the VIP event on the second floor walkway of the Convention Center. Party guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers upstairs, and could marvel at the expo from the windows above as well as go into the show on the first floor.
This was the first year that the expo opened to the public on preview night. Visitors viewed the newest models of cars while they too, enjoyed music from the Rusty Griswolds. Since the Preview Party included the public this year, it gave dealers and consumers the opportunity to converse in a non-sales atmosphere, all while supporting the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Child Passenger Safety Program.
Over $21,000 was raised at this year’s Rev It Up!! Sneak Peek Preview Party and the GCADA looks forward to next year’s event being even bigger.
The auto expo is the only time cars from nearly all manufacturers are in one place for people to see. According to the GCADA, most people who come to the expo that plan to buy a new car soon have done their research—they’ve looked at cars online, have narrowed it down to a few, and come to the expo so they can closely compare them. However, according the Hart Productions CEO Chip Hart, many times visitors leave the expo with a different car in mind from any of their initial choices.
“They’ll probably get here and end up looking at a brand they never even thought about either,” Hart said. “So that may enter in to their decision…If I had to guess, maybe 50 percent of the people that come here stumble upon a brand that they weren’t even going to consider.”
While many people who come to the expo every year plan to buy a car in the near future, there are no sales conducted at the event. It is strictly for viewing cars and getting questions answered. Some manufacturers brought local employees to work the expo, while others had traveling professionals who knew the ins and outs of every vehicle made by their company.
Children found entertainment at the expo with an interactive robot and a driving simulator in the Ford exhibit. Select vendors also set up on the outer skirts of the expo, with a mini golf game from Mike’s Car Wash, a cigar booth, detailing supplies, collectable model cars and even a jewelry booth. There is something for everyone.