CIAS 2023: The New Mobility

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David McClean is Director of Marketing Services for the Canadian International AutoShow. You can reach him at [email protected]. Photo Canadian International AutoShow

A return to a physical Canadian International AutoShow brings excitement and opportunity.

A lot has changed since we hosted the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow. Vehicle manufacturers and their senior management teams have embraced digital marketing on a large scale and consumer expectations regarding shopping and purchasing vehicles have also shifted, with more of an emphasis on doing things in a virtual environment than in the past. 

So, what does that mean for events like CIAS? Well, from some aspects, the role of the AutoShow hasn’t changed. Our job is to provide OEMs with the opportunity to share their brand with consumers and drum up excitement for new vehicles that extend well into the traditional selling season following the event. That being said, as plans get underway for the 2023 CIAS, there are some key considerations. 

Raising the bar

Of course, as the first in-person AutoShow in three years, safety will be paramount, with steps taken to ensure attendees feel comfortable and confident in attending the show. Plus, the three-year hiatus during COVID-19 has provided the opportunity to raise the bar in terms of showmanship, pizzazz and interactivity between consumers and each vehicle brand on display. 

While a return to a physical venue is a big part of CIAS going forward, manufacturers are also looking to see how they can reach consumers beyond the four walls of the venue. That’s why our objective for 2023 is to create an interactive experience, not only for those who will be physically attending in Toronto but the ability for people situated across the country, from Victoria, B.C. to St. John’s, Nfld., to experience aspects of Canada’s largest consumer event. Additionally, as a national event, our objective is to also tie in other experiences and automotive initiatives happening in different locations across the country and be able to broadcast those out to a wider audience, giving more people a chance to share the excitement of the new car buying experience.

Growth in EV interest

Besides a greater emphasis on digital and virtual sales and marketing practices, the last three years have also seen a big growth of interest in vehicle electrification with commitments from the government and manufacturers to produce more EVs. Yet while the choice of battery electric vehicles has grown, there are still a lot of misconceptions among the public. Questions such as how long will my battery last? How long does it take to charge? How much will it cost to replace the battery pack if it fails? These are all very real and valid concerns and an event like CIAS presents a unique opportunity for the industry to answer those questions and guide consumers through alternative mobility options, helping them find the best one for their particular needs.

And new mobility is really a core theme for CIAS 2023, providing manufacturers and consumers with the ability to connect and experience different transportation options and vehicles. That being said, we do recognize that 95% of all vehicle sales in this country continue to be internal combustion engine models and so there will still be a lot of emphasis on promoting excitement, versatility and value around these types of vehicles. Ultimately, our theme—as it always has been—is to create a platform for manufacturers to connect their own brand messaging and marketing campaigns around the show. And our goal is to ensure that platform is broad enough that as many OEMs as possible can participate in that with us.       



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