What Happens At Auto Shows?

BMW X6 at Detroit

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words auto shows is new vehicles. An auto show is an event, usually spanning several days to two weeks, when automotive manufacturers from around the world showcase their new cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, minivans, convertibles, luxury vehicles and the like.

Want to see the brand-new model introduced by Mercedes-Benz, or the latest revision of the Cadillac CTS? Auto shows are where the car companies reveal their newest products.

But auto shows also are the place for automakers to show off concept vehicles, often one-of-a-kind high-tech cars costing millions of dollars. Some of these show cars are created to gauge public reaction, allowing the car company to get a sense of whether consumers would buy such a vehicle. This helps in long-term planning for future vehicles.

There are major auto shows, such as the big four: Detroit, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. In North America, the official kick-off of the so-called auto show season is the North American International Auto Show held in early January in Detroit. The Chicago show is in February each year and the New York show takes place near Easter. But Los Angeles, which used to conflict with the Detroit show, and thus cause a problem for automakers hoping to showcase their brand-new model debuts, is now held in November.

There are also secondary auto shows around the country in virtually every market, from Denver to Miami to Cleveland to San Francisco (and everywhere in between). In total, there are about 50 annual new car auto shows held each year.

Auto shows also are the venue for displaying new technology in vehicles, with demonstrations to show the public what’s being offered on various models. Whether it’s a high-tech navigation system or a retractable tonneau, a multi-view camera system, blind-spot information system, inflatable rear seat belts, smart phone apps or other safety or entertainment system, an auto show is considered a perfect place to debut new options or features.

Wait, there’s more. At auto shows of every ilk, there’s plenty of entertainment available to keep show-goers satisfied while they roam the facility checking out everything on display. Other typical aspects of auto shows include food courts, lounges and all manner of contests to win everything from car stereo systems to a new car.

It’s also great family entertainment for a reasonable price. Where else could you see cars from almost every manufacturer under one roof? If you’re looking for or considering buying a new car (or just dreaming about one), an auto show is the right place to visit.


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