Good use of white space: Automakers offer inviting displays at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

Lincoln stand @ the 2013 North American International Auto Show

Lincoln stand @ the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich. (Michael Anthony Photography)

2013 North American International Auto Show

Last week, at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) press days in Detroit, we took advantage of walking the show floor sans the public day crowd. What we found was that wide open white space is king and that our favorite displays mastered this branding technique.

When you think of white space, you usually think sterile and cold.  Not at Lincoln. The lighting was soft and relaxing – most appropriate for this luxury brand – and the spacious, two-story display and friendly greeters created an experience similar to an upscale art gallery. No parking lot here.

The Chevy stand @ the 2013 North American International Auto Show

The Chevy stand @ the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich. (Michael Anthony Photography)

Over at the Chevy stand, the lights were on blast and the bowtie a beacon, yet another open white space – a different experience all together but just the right tone for the brand.  White sofas and areas for charging and downloading information about the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette and other products make up this well-designed, social-friendly display.  BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche, Nissan, Mercedes, Smart and even Tesla with its small corner display, decided white, accented with their brand colors, gave their displays a cleaner, more inviting look that’s perfect for eye-popping video on mega screens.

But out of all of the displays in white, Audi was our team’s favorite with its sweeping white backdrop accented in Audi red , well-positioned video screen and non-traditional display of red, white and silver vehicles with its $130,000 RS 7 Sportback, unveiled at the show, prominently displayed at center stage. Instead of side by side, facing the front of the display, the vehicles were parked diagonally in rows, allowing those passing by to see the front or rear three-quarter view of most of the new cars on display, at one glance.

The Ford stand @ the 2013 North American International Auto Show

The Ford stand @ the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich. (Michael Anthony Photography)

Ford achieved the same feel of open arms, but in blue. A vast, open space and once inside there were plenty of areas for downloading information via your smartphone, ipad, tablet or other devices, as well as technology displays and hands-on demonstrations. It was a pleasing space to hangout.

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