BEST OF 2008

Car Talk

Andy Fuzesi revamped the dates of the L.A. Auto Show, doubling press attendance and boosting its international profile.

By Alesandra Dubin November 24, 2008, 8:00 AM EST

L.A. Auto Show general manager Andy Fuzesi

Photo: Joe Orlando

Change Agent: L.A. Auto Show general manager Andy Fuzesi helped oversee a campaign to change the event’s dates from January to November beginning in 2006, a move that significantly increased its status on the domestic and international car show scene by placing it closer to the beginning of the global show calendar. The new dates led to increased media coverage—press-day attendance rose from 4,000 in January 2006 to 8,524 in November 2007—as well as bigger exhibits and record- breaking North American car debuts. “Media coverage is a big measurement tool for us and for the manufacturers,” Fuzesi says. Last year, Prime Automotive Research gave the show a No. 2 ranking in terms of media importance, placing it just below Detroit’s venerable auto show. The 2008 event takes place November 21 to 30.

Knowing His Audience:
“There are lots of auto shows, and although we compete on a global basis, we’ve always said our niche is different than theirs. We’re in Los Angeles—we’re not in Detroit or Tokyo,” says Fuzesi. “We’ve always been mindful about playing up our local characteristics.” This means a huge luxury car market and consumers who love to customize their cars. And it means selling an environmental message in a city where it matters, while being aware that L.A. also has a significant concentration of non-eco-friendly exotic cars.

Thinking Ahead: Although the date change occurred in 2006, show organizers announced it back in 2004. And that’s the kind of time frame Fuzesi likes. “We have a program with the magazine Green Car Journal to select the green car of the year. Up until this past year, it didn’t get much coverage. Last year, it was our opening [event] and got tremendous coverage. It’s a general concept for all shows and events: Sometimes you have to look a few years ahead to see where you’re going. Not everything you’re going to try is going to work, but this certainly did.”

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