I-X Center files suit against boat show
By Terry Troy
The drama surrounding Cleveland’s closed I-X Center is far from over, as the I-X Center Corp., filed suit last week against the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, the organization that’s behind the Progressive Cleveland Boat Show. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Auto Show, which filed suit against the I-X Center through its Automobile Dealers’ Educational Assistance Foundation, Inc., announced last week that it is moving its Show to the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland with new dates at the end of this year. The Great Big Home and Garden Show and the Ohio RV Supershow have also sued the embattled I-X Center Corp., in attempts to honor contracts that run through 2024.
The 2021 Cleveland Auto Show will open on Friday, December 3 for media and automotive industry employees at the Convention Center in downtown Cleveland. Public show dates are planned for Saturday, December 4 through Sunday, December 12, 2021.
“With so many changes and hardships throughout 2020, we are very excited to bring one of Cleveland’s favorite events downtown later this year,” says Joey Huang, chairman of the Cleveland Auto Show and owner of the Great Lakes Auto Network. “You’ll still be able to see everything under one roof, making shopping comparisons in a no-pressure environment but with an all-new layout inside the Cleveland Convention Center.”
In addition to all the new vehicles, including 2022 introductions, the Show’s popular Ride N’ Drives are in the works as well. Show management is working with the convention center and automaker staff to bring as many test drive opportunities as possible.
“We’ll see the return of attractions like Ride N’ Drives and Millionaire’s Row, as well as classic and celebrity vehicles to round out our specialty displays,” adds Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the Cleveland Auto Show and the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association. “And with our Show dates in December, we’re planning festive family fun and entertainment along with celebrity appearances throughout the Cleveland Auto Show’s ten-day run.”
“The Huntington Convention Center team is delighted to bring the Cleveland Auto Show back to downtown Cleveland,” said Ron King, General Manager. “Our team has worked closely with the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association to ensure that this show returns to the calendars of thousands of Cleveland area residents in 2021. Decades ago, the Cleveland Auto Show was held in the old downtown convention center and we’re excited to reintroduce our building to many Northeast Ohio residents who haven’t had the pleasure to visit the building since it opened in 2013.”
Other special event days are planned for the reimagined Cleveland Auto Show, including Heroes Day and the Grand Finale Vehicle Giveaway.
The Cleveland Auto Show has a dramatic impact on new vehicle sales across Northern Ohio. Last week’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time, as the new December timing
coincides with the launch of a new model year for many worldwide automotive brands. In addition, new vehicle sales got off to a soft start in January despite ending 2020 on a strong note.
Dealers across Northern Ohio reported a 7.63% decrease in sales over January of 2020 before the pandemic hit. According to figures released by the GCADA last week, dealers in the region sold 20,699 new vehicles last month compared to 22,409 new cars, trucks and SUVs in January of 2020.
“January sales from 2021 were pitted against a very strong sales pace from 2020, before the economy slowed,” says Vitantonio. “Our current sales decline is in line with the rest of the country, seeing an up and down economic recovery. We anticipate similar sales results in February even with low interest rates and favorable credit terms.”