Surprise: Auto Shows Really Do Sell Cars, Says NY Auto Show Owner

January 19, 2010

Sometimes we get a press release that makes us scratch our heads. Take this morning's little epistle from the 2010 New York Auto Show, the nation's largest, which opens to the public on April 2.

According to the findings of a "third-party research group," 72 percent of last year's New York Auto Show attendees are "somewhat to extremely serious" about buying a car "in the near future".

Attending the show, they told surveyors, increased their "purchase consideration" (which is what marketers call the likelihood that they'll actually buy a car) by roughly one-third.

People who go to auto shows told the researchers the shows are their "most reliable source" for purchase or lease decisions.

Ouch; so much for TheCarConnection's carefully researched and superbly written new-car reviews.

1903 New York Auto Show

1903 New York Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

At least the Internet comes second, ahead of Consumer Reports, followed by (in order) dealership visits, auto magazines, and friends and relatives. Ads on television and in the newspaper were much lower-rated; chat rooms and blogs were lowest of all.

Nine out of ten show attendees plan to take some action, whether it's test-driving a car at a dealer (57 percent), researching cars online (45 percent), or actually buying a new car (24 percent).

One other interesting factoid: The greater New York market ranks first or second for the highest number of new vehicle registrations for every make sold in the U.S. Except, that is, for Kia. Go figure.

Our concern is that the research--by Exhibit Surveys, Inc., a NJ-based company "with an automotive client base"--was paid for by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA), which owns and runs the auto show.

Isn't that sort of like Phillip Morris paying for a survey that proves smokers like to smoke?

New York Auto Show logo

New York Auto Show logo

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