Washington, D.C. Auto Show Features Unforgettable Moments

The 10-day event showcased new innovations and policy discussions.

Washington-DC-Auto-Show-2024
A Tesla Cybertruck on display attracted a crowd at the 2024 Washington, D.C. Auto Show.

The 2024 Washington, D.C. Auto Show wrapped up Jan. 28, marking the conclusion of a highly successful event that showcased the automotive industry's latest innovations and engaged participants in meaningful discussions on public policy and technology.

Kicking off the 10-day consumer show was the Public Policy Day on Jan. 18. The day began with the Champions for Automotive Education Awards, a partnership between DARCARS, Toyota and WANADA's Automobile Dealer Education Institute (ADEI). The event honored automotive educators from across the D.C. metropolitan area with the presentation of keys to a leased, pure-electric Toyota BZ4X. The day continued with keynote addresses and panel discussions. A fiery roundtable discussion by members of the Congressional Auto Caucus, including U.S Reps. Debbie Dingell, Marcy Kaptur, Mike Kelly, Bob Latta and Roger Williams, was one of the most engaging and talked about portions of the program as they addressed the cost-benefit value of EVs.

Several manufacturers took advantage of the platform to also introduce new models, such as the Lexus TX 550h+, Rolls Royce Spectre and the Aston-Martin DB12 convertible. U.S. News & World Report also presented its annual "Best Cars for the Money" awards during Public Policy Day. The event continued with the Sneak Peek Preview, providing lawmakers and industry insiders with an exclusive preview before opening to the public.

Opening its doors to consumers Jan. 19, the auto show drew large crowds over the 10-day event. Almost every exhibitor reported meeting or surpassing their lead goals, underlining the event's influence in shaping the industry's landscape. Popular attractions included the Art-of-Motion display, Strictly Ebikes test track, the exotics display, and engaging ride and drives from Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla, as well as on outdoor ride and drive from Pepco EVsmart that featured brands like Ford, Kia and Hyundai.

Following an eight-year hiatus, Tesla made a comeback to the list of featured manufacturers at the show. “They know where their buyers are,” said John O’Donnell, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C. Auto Show. “Right here, at the DC Auto Show.” The highly anticipated Cybertruck and the recently unveiled Model 3 were undeniable crowd-pleasers. What made this event even more special was that, for the first time ever, attendees had the exclusive opportunity to explore the interiors of all the showcased Tesla models, including the Cybertruck.

“The interest we saw surrounding electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles was exactly what we and our exhibitors were anticipating at this year’s show,” said O’Donnell. “We were thrilled to see each of our manufacturers showcasing a variety of these models at their display and generating buzz across our attendees. It was overwhelming to hear about the overall turnout and that almost every exhibitor exceeded their lead goal.”

First time exhibitors Lucid and Bass Pro Shops added to the excitement of the show and both expressed interest in a more robust involvement for 2025. Bringing a mix of brands not normally present in recent years was Automotive Rhythms and DC Car Scene. Both showcased custom rides that make up the thriving automotive community that lives in and around downtown D.C. Krazy Bounce and WowWheelz elevated the experience for the littlest car enthusiasts, and Subaru brought the love with their Subaru Loves Pets adoption initiative.

As the exhibition unfolded, a multitude of distinguished government figures graced the event with their presence. Notable attendees included the deputy administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Lujuan, D-NM, and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV. These esteemed officials actively engaged in insightful conversations with representatives from each manufacturing entity, delving into discussions about the showcased models and collectively envisioning the trajectory of the industry's future.

The Washington, D.C. Auto Show continues to be a key platform for industry leaders, lawmakers and the public to engage in discussions on automotive technology, regulation and policy.

Plans for 2025 are already underway. With the participation of new and highly-sought after brands, the show team is hopeful that 2024 marks the beginning of auto shows once again showcasing all automotive manufacturers. So, mark your calendar for Jan. 31-Feb. 9, 2025, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Visit the event website for more highlights from this year.

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