Q: What is an Auto Show?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

Share this article

Most auto shows are public displays of the latest car models, such as a concept car, while a few highlight old vehicles that are sought by car collectors. Auto shows can be free or have an admission fee.

International auto shows are the biggest and most important of all. These shows concentrate on new and future models from around the world, and they are usually conducted at least annually in or near large population centers to draw thousands of potential car buyers. They have been effective promotional exhibits for vehicle manufacturers, especially for introducing new vehicles and new ideas like the electric car.

Car shows that are restricted to old classic cars are staged in communities of all sizes. Usually these exhibitions are free to the public or structured to raise money through admission tickets instead of vehicle sales. In addition, car rallies can be a showcase for racing or customized vehicles.

Auto show sponsorship varies, but the ones that feature new models are heavily supported by carmakers, who seek goodwill and advertising for their products. Because these events tend to draw large audiences, a local dealership can dramatically increase the number of shoppers who stop to look at their models. Classic car show sponsors are divergent, and many charities back them to raise money for their causes.

The first auto show was hosted in 1907 in Detroit, the cradle of the American automobile industry. Since then, the staging of new-vehicle events has grown across the world. Nearly all big cities now have them. Some of the largest shows have drawn more than one million people.

Individuals and groups can create their own car shows. Such productions require planning: Dates, times, venues, activities, refreshments, promotion, and participating entities are just some of the issues. Local government agencies should be contacted as well to obtain required permits and ensure that police and other emergency services can support the event.

Car shoppers who are undecided about what type of vehicle they plan to buy should consider attending an auto show. If you're looking for a new car, an auto show is an opportunity to compare different makes and models on almost a side-by-side basis. Representatives from each manufacturer are usually available to answer your questions about a vehicle and discuss dealer incentives such as rebates and low financing options. If you're looking for a collectible, a classic car show will expose you to various vintage models that you may not have previously included on your shopping list. In addition, it affords you the chance to talk to classic car owners who might be interested in selling their vehicles.

Share this article
New Car Spotlight


Thanks for Supporting
Kelley Blue Book.
We deliver up-to-date car values, expert reviews and unbiased reporting at no
cost to you. To do this, we display ads from only trusted partners.

To continue on our site, simply turn off your ad blocker and refresh the page.