NEW YORK With more than one million people expected to attend this year’s New York International Auto Show, running through April 8 at the Javits Center, automakers strive each year to stage booths that both inspire and inform media and consumers alike. Some 950,000 square feet of space is used by automakers showcasing more than 1,000 new vehicles—which run the gamut from more intimate spaces from the likes of Maserati and Alfa Romeo to full-on mega venues dominated by Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura, and Nissan/Infiniti, not to mention their American counterparts like Ford and Chevrolet.
The New York Auto Show was North America’s first—and continues to be the largest-attended—auto show dating back to 1900.
Spearheading a majority of the build-outs is veteran auto show production company George P. Johnson (along with sister agency Spinifex Group). Among their clients at the New York Auto Show are: Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Fiat Chrysler Group, Nissan/Infiniti, Mazda, and Volkswagen.
Given that according to the auto show, the average time spent at the event is 3.5 hours, it’s no surprise that automakers pull out all the stops—espresso bars (spotted at no less than six auto stands), interactive VR experiences, gift shops, charging ports galore, and more—in an effort to distinguish themselves in an ever-increasingly crowded arena. Despite, and perhaps because of, all the streamlining to their stands, a lack of sitting areas continues to be a big gripe at all auto shows, New York included.
In addition to the clean, linear lines that have long come to define auto show booths, color and texture—via carpeting, woodwork, LED lighting, and display cars in a rainbow of hues—have recently emerged as ways to further enhance a visitor’s ephemeral experience. Dominant European marquees BMW, Volvo, Porsche, and Mercedes have all, in recent years, brought in vehicles in a myriad of custom paint colors to illustrate their personalization programs (not to mention rack up social media buzz). One of the most popular activities came courtesy of Ford, which built a Lego bar at its stand where visitors could build their own male or female Ford Ecoboost mechanic miniature as a memento. (Even jaded auto journalists were spotted crowding the table.)
A standout vignette was at Acura, which debuted a new auto show stand concept in New York together with its RDX SUV. Production company George P. Johnson, along with Spinifex Group, created the Acura Performance Studio based on four principals: optimism, youthful energy, brilliant innovation, and timelessness. Set up like an art gallery, the vibrant new environment allowed Acura to beautifully showcase its vehicles while also providing for non-intrusive seating areas for group meetings or an individual to have a rest.