Friday, February 6, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC | Amid the backdrop of a new Administration and a country seeking progress, The Washington Auto Show, the automotive industry’s policy show, has solutions on display. When it comes to safety, smart technology and the greening of the automotive industry, The Washington Auto Show will draw together the innovators and products that will inspire consumers.

Indeed, Washington, D.C.’s largest public show has become an event not to miss for both mass audiences and key policy makers and industry leaders. Now through Feb. 8, hundreds of thousands of visitors, including many environmental and automotive visionaries, will explore the more than 700 new makes and models from 42 manufacturers at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The Washington Auto Show will span five days and fully stock the two-story, multi-acre convention center with an automotive showcase many describe as “new car heaven.”

Given its staging in the heart of Washington political season, the show has increasingly garnered national and international spotlight and drawn on the capital’s high-profile visitors. In turn, manufacturers have responded with larger, more interactive exhibits, now possible in the expanded convention center. That’s all good news for the true VIPs of the show – consumers. More new models, more concepts and prototypes, more high-tech breakthroughs and more entertainment, celebrity guests and contests await this year’s visitors.

While today’s America embraces the automobile like no other country or culture, it wasn’t always so. In 1921, a group of 20 Washington-area car dealers and distributors planned the first show to sell the public on the virtue of the horseless carriage. From that humble beginning, The Washington Auto Show has been on the fast track in terms of growth and popularity. Housed in variety of area venues, the show was staged for 18 years in the National Guard D.C. Armory. The show has gone on hiatus twice in over six decades – once for war and once due to poor economic conditions. The Washington Auto Show even captured presidential attention in the 1930’s and was used by President Roosevelt to overcome seasonal buying peaks disrupting the economy.

After a break in the 70’s, the Washington Convention Center and The Washington Auto Show opened together in early 1983. By this date, the auto show had grown to require every available foot of display space, covering nearly eight acres – almost four times the physical size of the Armory shows with three times as many models.

Steady growth in size and prominence has made The Washington Auto Show one of the industry’s most prestigious events. In 1988, The Washington Auto Show began using the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day as its annual staging ground, garnering a tremendous base of loyal fans and establishing its reputation as a family destination. The event was later moved to later in January to coincide with Congress’ return from recess, enabling the show to capitalize on the business of Washington.

“Holding our show two weeks after the Presidential inauguration will make for a historic event this year,” says Tamara C. Darvish, Chairman of the Washington Area New Auto Dealers Association (WANADA), which produces the show. “This is the auto industry’s first opportunity to present their technological advancements to the new Administration and other policymakers. The new designs and innovations on display, in turn, will create a more exciting show for auto enthusiasts.”

The show’s early planners who sought every imaginative twist to draw attention to that new-fangled mode of transportation would be amazed to learn that today’s auto show features a full-slate of entertainment, contests, interactive displays and family activities that can actually offer visitors a break from all those cars!

For a full schedule of entertainment and special events, operating hours, ticket information and “e-tickets,” visit The Washington Auto Show online at or contact WANADA at 1-866-WASH-AUTO or 202.237.7200.

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