SAAS Newsletter 2019

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The 2018 San Antonio Auto & Truck Show was a celebration for the ages! 2018 was the 50th anniversary of the showcase and the 100-year anniversary of the San Antonio Auto Dealers Association. Hundreds of cars and trucks and the newest technological developments in the auto industry were displayed at the beautiful Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

The special dual anniversary year was also the first year of the San Antonio Media Challenge powered by the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show and supported by Nissan – a great way for the media to come together for a friendly competition and be a part of the show in an exciting, fun-filled event.

Thousands of San Antonians and visitors perused, window shopped, and slid behind the wheel of the new 2019 models and other unique displays.

It was another amazing year of awards – with Ram Trucks taking the Green Truck of the Year and Ford hoisting the trophy for the Commercial Green Car of the Year, both awarded by Green Car Journal. On the opening night of the 50th annual showcase, the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) proudly presented their annual Texas Truck Rodeo Awards during the gala celebration. Winner of the TAWA TX Truck Rodeo was the 2019 RAM 1500. For more info see:

There was excitement from start to finish, with special celebrity guests, ride & drives, and more. From Microsoft’s new technology game station display to The Vault’s debut of the Batvette to the return of the Ford Ranger, there was something for everyone to enjoy. So, cheers to fifty years, and may the next fifty years continue to shine! But for now, we’ll take you through all of the enjoyment of this year’s show in our in-depth articles and coverage.


The fiftieth anniversary of the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show called for a special way to recognize the premiere showcase of the South. We called on our local residents, car gurus, collectors, and connoisseurs to help create a special display that would celebrate our fiftieth birthday in style. The Thrill of the Ride exhibit included a collection of five decades of sleek, stylish cars from 1960 through 2009.

From Mustangs to Chevelles to Continentals, there was a car for every decade to show the lineage and history of the path that the auto industry has taken. The greatest part was the excitement of the car lovers who submitted these vehicles to be shown and work tirelessly on their upkeep to maintain their beauty years later. There was a crowned champion for the exhibit who was the fan favorite – the 1963 Lincoln Continental, whose owner was Mata Concepts. If you missed that exhibit, you missed a lot! It was filled with true beauties spanning across fifty years and was definitely one of the favorite displays of show visitors.

In addition to the Thrill of the Ride exhibit, the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show hosted a 50/100 Year spectacular Gala to pay tribute to the continued growth of the show and everyone who is a part of it. It was a magnificent, magical evening with hundreds of guests, including auto dealers, and other supporters of the show at the beautiful Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in a ballroom ‘under the stars’.

The reception leading up to the Gala played host to the Texas Auto Writers Association presentation of 2018 awards from their annual Texas Truck Rodeo. Many members of the association were present, with representatives from the winning manufacturers accepting the stunning trophies for each award given.

Thanks and gratitude goes to the local auto dealers for making San Antonio the prosperous home it is for the auto industry. The past 100 years of support from the auto dealer community have helped to mold San Antonio into what it is today. Additionally, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center has played a significant role in the growth of the premiere showcase over the past fifty years. Their team is top notch and the venue is as glamorous as they come. Oh, what a dual anniversary it was!


The 2018 San Antonio auto & Truck Show saw more media mentions, spots, and hits than in all years past garnering 700,282,631 impressions from many stories emanating from the show. Highlights included a strong focus on the 50th anniversary of the Show, the 6th annual Media Morning news, TV and radio coverage from the show floor, introduction of the new Media Challenge, publicity from print, digital postings, social influencers and more.


For the sixth year, the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show hosted Media Morning to kick the show off before the doors opened to the public. There were members of the media from the Texas Auto Writers Association, each of the seven major local television outlets including KSAT 12 (ABC), KENS 5 (CBS), KABB FOX 29 (FOX), News 4 San Antonio (NBC), KVDA (Telemundo), KWEX (Univision), and Spectrum News. Also in attendance were local radio personalities and reporters, writers and reporters from local print and online publications, and local social influencers and bloggers.

Press conferences were held to publicize and highlight announcements, new car models, and technologies from manufacturers and exhibitors including:

Ram Trucks Breakfast

The Vault


Alfa Romeo




Green Car Journal Awards

Ride & Drive Tours

The finale of the media morning featured the Green Car Journal Award presentation, where Ram Trucks and Chevrolet accepted their awards for the Green Truck of the Year and the Commercial Green Car of the Year, respectively.

For the first year, the day before the Media Morning, the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show hosted the inaugural SAATS Media Challenge with vehicles provided by Nissan. A reporter, anchor, or radio deejay from eight different media outlets represented in a friendly competition among the stations – with participants from all local TV outlets and two local radio outlets.

Competitors played auto trivia, a parallel parking challenge, and a pack the trunk challenge that put their minds and motor skills to the test. The winner of the competition was Telemundo’s Luis Ortiz. The Media Challenge will make its return in 2019 as a finale to Media Morning.


The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show Marketplace entered the scene in 2018. What was formerly known as the Aftermarket Expo transitioned into the Marketplace at this year’s show.

The Marketplace included a variety of diverse displays, one of which was the Vault, which included amazing exotics and a debut of the Batvette, a Corvette that was transformed into a Batmobile version of itself. The Vault, located in San Antonio and housing incredible classics and luxury vehicles, caused traffic jams of guests as they stopped to check out Corvettes, and a souped up Ferrari that was on display and set to be auctioned off in a charitable gift from philanthropist, Harvey Najim to benefit San Antonio Sports.

Another unique display was the San Antonio Camaro Club, which consisted of themed Camaros from Disney and Transformers to Star Wars and more. Monster Truck King Krunch was also a big hit, as the oversized ride towered in height in the exhibit hall, providing a fun photo opportunity for all passers-by. Owner and driver, Dillon Fenley, was also on hand to sign autographs and greet show visitors.

There were also innovative additions to Marketplace. Microsoft played a role in turning up the technology notch in this year’s show, as they had a forward-thinking setup of display screens and consoles for gamers to enjoy as they strolled the show floor. It was a popular stop, to say the least! Microsoft Store was proud to participate in the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show by bringing gaming to auto fans with the Forza franchise, and innovative technologies like Hololens and Surface. Auto fans resonated in a passionate and impactful way by connecting and experiencing our products. “We’re excited to come back next year with more to come!”, said Jon Anguiano, marketing manager, Microsoft Store.

The Marketplace was also filled with other exhibitors – from San Antonio Police Department to Nutty Buddies Too (a favorite of all show-goers to stop for a sweet snack). There was plenty to do and see in Marketplace after checking out the hundreds of cars and trucks presented by manufacturers onsite. The Marketplace will definitely be back and better than ever in 2019.


As we thrive in the digital age, one of the things we love most is showcasing the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show on social media. From Facebook Live and Instagram Story to daily video highlights from our friends at 2DC Imageworks, our social and digital efforts take the cake for giving a special interactive, live-from-the-show floor experience for those considering attending the show and those who are there in living color.

This year, we added the Bjorn’s Social Lounge, where attendees of the show could stop in, prop up their feet, and take a break for a few minutes to upload their favorite snapshots of cars and trucks while watching the games on the big screen. The weekend’s NFL games were big ones, and of course, everyone wanted to see all of the amazing vehicles on the show floor, but also wanted to catch their beloved Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans making a run at the playoffs.

Social impressions soared this year, as we delivered a new Personality Quiz which allowed guests to answer a handful of questions that would match their personalities with the things they would likely love most at the preeminent showcase of the South!

There was more interaction with Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter than ever before. Snapchat’s new filter that allowed guests to brand their pictures, served to further enhance the show experience. There’s nothing like coupling your live experience with your social audience, and the guests of the show took advantage of that with every social platform.


The cars are certainly the stars, but that didn’t keep us from bringing back a fan favorite from the 2017 show to grace us with their presence at the 2018 show. That’s right – the stars of Discovery Channel’s Fast ‘n’ Loud were back to make a special appearance, sign autographs, and be a part of an intimate meet & greet that allowed the superfans to connect with the gents of Gas Monkey Garage.

Along with them, they brought the famous Richard Rawlings GMG car for some amazing photo opps. Jason Aker, the “Restorer,” Mike Coy, the “Head Painter,” and Jeremy Cheatham, the “Fabricator,” spent their afternoon in the Marketplace shaking hands, snapping pictures, and chatting up guests about their show, their passion for vehicles, and their shared enthusiasm for the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show continuing to promote and share the latest and greatest in cars and trucks with the local community.

Telemundo also provided a new experience for show attendees, with a fun and engaging meet & greet with actor Carlos Ponce.

He signed autographs and spent valuable time getting to know each of the guests who stood in a line that wrapped the Marketplace to meet him and share a selfie. Other special celebrities included Batman, showing off his Batvette at The Vault exhibit, Super Mario, who spent his afternoons hopping around the show floor, and old Saint Nick. That’s right – Santa Claus himself made an early stop in November to visit the boys and girls at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show to make his list before he checked it twice, and the kiddos loved it.

Our own local celebrity and favorite spokesperson was back for another year. Cassandra Lazenby, TV personality and social influencer, charmed the city again sharing the story of the 50th annual show during media segments leading up to the show, and each and every day of the show floor with interviews she provided to every local outlet, as well as our very own social media coverage.


The on-site Ride & Drives provided both experience and education in this year’s San Antonio Auto & Truck Show. After more than a decade, the Ford Ranger made its debut at San Antonio’s show, among others across the globe. San Antonio was thrilled to serve as a stop on the Ford Ranger Drive Tour. Guests loved the test drives – they not only got to hop in the new & highly improved trucks and take a ride; their tour guides delivered education and entertainment along the way to ensure that the Ranger shined in its return.

The Ranger wasn’t the only truck on display. There was a variety of other vehicles – and the drive guides were going from open until dusk ensuring that all attendees who were interested had the chance to get behind the wheel.

Other Ride & Drive participants at the 2018 show included:






The Ride & Drives added an interactive element that gave guests a true experience of what it would feel like to have each of the vehicles as their own. Nothing can help a driver make a purchase decision more than taking it for a spin.

There was also a treat for the kids to enjoy — a ride & drive of their own! The Marketplace was home to the Kids Power Wheel Ride & Drive. The line was nonstop, as practically every child at the show wanted to test out the excitement of the Power Wheels.

The best in show, voted on as the Fan Favorite by the kids themselves, was the Ancira Buick GMC Truck. The kiddos just could not get enough of circling the track in these fun cars and trucks. What is truly exciting is seeing the next generation of car lovers and aficionados love these beautiful rides just as much as we do as adults and professionals. A treat for the kids that will continue on, to be sure!


What does the 51st year and beyond hold for the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show? Be on the lookout the next crop of new cars and trucks that 2020 has to offer, plus a big shakeup and enhancement with exhibits showcasing innovation, technology, gaming, and more. Interactivity and engagement continues to enthrall the world, so the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show (SAATS) will be on the forefront of those trends and provide more interactive displays that will keep guests engaged and excited, connected and entertained.

The first fifty years of the show have been remarkable, whether creating a platform for guests to come and experience every vehicle they may be considering, all in one place, creating a generational tradition for grandparents, their kids, and their grandkids, or showing off exotics and luxuries one may never see otherwise. What the decades of this successful show has undoubtedly proven is that auto shows are critically important in bringing new vehicles and automotive technology to market. The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show will continue to provide excitement, entertainment and education to car buyers and car lovers alike.

The next fifty years will be most exciting as new, innovative technologies will be unveiled. The possibilities are endless! We look forward to presenting the 2019 SAATS and getting to work on this – in fact, the planning for the 2019 show has already begun!

So, mark your calendars, and we’ll see you from November 21 – 24, 2019, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center!



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