Live, From the Washington Auto Show!

America’s Public Policy Show.

Today, yours truly is in Washington, DC, for the annual press day at the Washington Auto Show. DC’s show is held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where parking is non-existent and people are expected to get there by mass transit or on foot. Go figure.

Washington Auto Show: OICA Recognition

Despite the apparent contradiction, the convention center is the precise venue for hosting this show, given its floor size. Moreover, what had once been a tertiary show in the auto show circuit, the Washington event is now right up there with Detroit, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

So, let me explain what I mean before you get your knickers twisted in a wad.

Washington Auto ShowThis year, the DC auto show has secured accreditation from the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA), the credential-granting body that oversees such shows. Consider the show’s proximity to the political movers and shakers in the United States as a contributing factor for its sanctioning, especially as the White House and congressional input helps to steer the industry. Indeed, because of that political influence, the Washington Auto Show is known as the “Public Policy Show” within the auto industry.

Awards and News Conferences

Certainly, the Washington Auto Show is NOT the place where major reveals of new products and concepts are accomplished. But, it is an auto show that is big on all matters policy — to this end it also serves as the occasion for the Green Car Journal to announce three environmental awards — the 2015 Luxury Green Car of the Year, the 2015 Green SUV of the Year, and the 2015 Green Car Technology Award.

Meanwhile, the press happenings will begin with a newsmaker breakfast and opening speeches, followed by the keynote address. This year, the address will be presented by Johan de Nysschen, global president, Cadillac, and executive vice president of General Motors.

This past August, de Nysschen assumed the helm at Cadillac, bringing with him extensive experience culled from his leadership roles at Infiniti, Audi and BMW. Since then, the South African native has been actively reinvigorating GM’s luxury brand. He has also spearheaded Cadillac’s administrative relocation to New York from Detroit.

Several manufacturers do hold press conferences at the Washington show. Specifically, immediately following the keynote address, Ford will address the media with Toyota and Chrysler next in line. Later, the Green Car Journal awards will be announced, followed by Hyundai’s press conference. Next up and just before noon, the Kiplinger Best Value Awards for 2015 will be presented.

Immediately after a lunch break, the first two of the afternoon events will be hosted by the Historic Vehicle Association and then the Center for Automotive Research. Then, BMW and Volkswagen will hold a joint news conference just before the government keynote address offered by Dr. Ernest Moniz, the US Department of Energy Secretary. The press day will conclude following an SAE Plenary Session at 3:00 p.m.

Sneak Peak Reception and the Public Show

In the evening, a sneak peak reception will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. After that, the show’s organizers will prepare the convention center for the general public portion of the show, which begins tomorrow, Jan. 23, and extends through Feb. 1. Attendees will take in the more than 700 vehicles from at least 42 manufacturers on display, inclusive of domestic and foreign products.

Check out my main Twitter feed (@theautowriter) for updates throughout the day. Stories of major significance will be covered by Auto Trends next week.

Matthew Keegan
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