South Park Magazine

A minute with Loretta Allman

Loretta Allman of the Charlotte Auto Show
Loretta Allman of the Charlotte Auto Show JAMEY PRICE

As executive director of the Greater Charlotte Automobile Dealers Association, a trade association representing more than 100 new-car dealers in the Charlotte area, Allman is revving up for the Charlotte International Auto Show running Nov. 17-20 at the Charlotte Convention Center. The show brings an early peek at 2012 models from more than 30 manufacturers. Proceeds from the show go to support local charities, including the Levine Children’s Hospital.–Christopher Lux

What’s your history working with the auto industry?I began my career in the automotive industry as a service cashier in the 1970s with an American Motors dealer here in Charlotte. I just celebrated my 25th anniversary with the Association and Auto Show in June of this year. I especially enjoy working with the auto dealers, a wonderful group of entrepreneurs who appreciate the value of giving back to their community.

How has the auto industry changed?The Auto Show is a good lens through which to view the changes in the industry. In my view, the biggest trend has to be the increase in the number of choices available to consumers. There will be more imports than ever at this year’s show – and there’s been a huge premium on technology. This year, the questions are: How do I connect my iPod or play movies for the kids? What new safety features are most important? Do I want a vehicle powered by gasoline or something else? Consumers have more freedom, but also have to make more decisions.

How is this year’s show going to be different from past shows?We're going to have more alternative-fuel vehicles than ever before. So if people want to check out, say, the Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf and the Honda Civic GX all under one roof, the auto show is the only place they can do that. In addition, Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas will have booths at the show and be available to answer questions about recharging and refueling possibilities.

Why has the show decided to team up with Levine Children’s Hospital?The auto dealers have a long track record of involvement in our community, and we have traditionally supported charities with proceeds from the Auto Show. The partnership with Levine Children's Hospital is an extension of that commitment. Proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction will go to support the neonatal intensive care unit. People who attend the show should know their ticket purchase will help the hospital buy equipment and improve the care and treatment of babies who need extra attention. It’s a great cause.

Want to go?Charlotte Auto ShowNov. 17-20 (charity preview Nov. 16 from 6:30-9 p.m., tickets $50).Show hours: Thurs-Fri noon-9 p.m., free lunch with ticket purchase from noon-2 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. (family day featuring clowns, mascots and more) 10 a.m.-6 p.m.Tickets: $10 for adults, $8 if purchased online. Children 12 and under free.More info: www.charlotteautoshow.com.

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