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EVENT REPORT

At Central Florida Auto Show, Ford Reels in Attendees With Games

Photo: BizBash

Ford Motor Company brought a pool table, foosball, and several vehicle-based video games—11 activities in all—to its display at the 2011 Model Central Florida International Auto Show, which wrapped up a four-day run at the Orange County Convention Center on Sunday. The automaker has been steadily increasing the number of experiential components it brings to auto shows nationwide, based on data that indicate the activities engage show attendees and boost future sales.
 
“The more time people stay in our stand, the more they are going to learn about the new technologies, the quality and safety features. All of that drives them to understand more about our vehicles and make them more interested in looking at a Ford or Lincoln vehicle for future purchase,” said Ford communications manager Marisa Bradley. “We had 125,000 leads from our shows in 2009, so clearly it’s driving showroom traffic.” Bradley said attendees also like the activities because they keep children occupied while the adults browse.

Presented by the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association and produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows, the show included 334 vehicles from 22 domestic and import manufacturers. That is a decrease from the 25 exhibitors in 2009, yet the show floor increased by 15 percent, to more than 300,000 square feet, due to exhibitors requesting larger display areas. Organizers did not provide attendance figures.  

The most noticeable trend on the floor: small is big. Nearly every company displayed at least one compact, high-mileage vehicle, many of them hybrids. Chevrolet attracted attendees with its display of the new Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle that can travel up to 35 miles without using gas. The car will debut in seven markets around the country in early 2011.

While most exhibitors were there to debut 2011 model vehicles, some were there purely for entertainment. The Model As of Greater Orlando displayed nine cars dating from 1911 through 1931. The Dezer Collection from Miami brought its Hollywood Car Display, which included the 1969 Dodge Charger General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard, the 1981 DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies, and the Flintmobile from the 1994 movie The Flintstones.


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