The Detroit auto show has been considered one of the most important shows of the year in North America. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that even though I grew up in Toronto, spent 2 decades in the auto industry and have been doing automotive media since 2002, I have never been to the show.
As we’ve been hard at work launching Driven Wheels for the Canadian market, I was planning to miss it again this year. I thought that hitting Toronto and Montreal would serve DW readers better. Then I received an invite from the good folks at GM to take part in a social media experiment at NAIAS. I couldn’t turn that one down, so I threw my stuff into my 2010 VW GTI tester to make the short trek to Detroit with The General footing the bill.
Thanks to GM’s Director of Social Media, Chris Barger, The General has been a front runner in the social media wars. The traditional media PR types have been bringing journalists to car shows for years, Barger wanted to show that bringing a wide range of social media specialists together could generate some serious product buzz.
To the traditional pundits, this was a bit of a risky move. Many traditionals still don’t trust the opinions of new media types and a good number of those are more than a little resentful of the attention the new regime has garnered.