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EVENT REPORT

Futuristic Designs and Interactive Exhibits Fuel Autoshow Booths

The auto industry is using flashy lights, feature walls, V.I.P. lounges, and interactive exhibits to catch the attention of the more than 300,000 expected visitors amid 850,000 square feet of space.

The Lexus booth

Photo: BizBash

With the theme “The Turning Point,” the 2008 Canadian International Autoshow—which opened at three venues within the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Rogers Centre on Friday and runs through February 24—highlights new technologies, from satellite radios to fuel cell updates. With more than 1,000 new cars and trucks on display, several booths also showcase forward-thinking style in an effort to attract visitors amid the more than 850,000 square feet of show space.

Displays range from sprawling, dealership-like booths to more intimate, boutique hotel-influenced settings. Lounges, a common thread among booths, feature the look of hotel bars and lobbies, with items like cream-suede chairs and contemporary coffee tables.

In a nod to the future, Hyundai is highlighting its 25th anniversary in Canada with a modern, curvaceous booth constructed of white arches covered in a sheer white canopy. The booth also has two displays illustrating the time line—one of an '80s-style basement rec room with Pac-man video games, and another featuring a sleek and modern living space with a Nintendo Wii.

Audi, Mitsubishi, and Jeep all have different takes on feature walls, from a bright splash of colour to a wall emulating an art gallery. Staging ideas like G.M.'s runway create a focal point in its oversize booth, and lighting proves an important decorating element for companies like Kia and Lexus.

Interactive booth elements include Volkswagen's simulator rides and Porsche's listening centres and laptop stations. Volkswagen's Rabbit Petting Zoo Playcare Centre, a marketing scheme premised on the company's new model, includes a sectioned-off area for rabbit races—a draw for kids whose parents take them to the show.


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