Chances are you won’t be in Frankfurt, Germany, in mid-September.
It’s a long way to go to see the newest vehicle models, even though the annual auto show begins an unofficial 10-month season during which millions of people will attend shows worldwide, but …
“What auto show near me can make new-car shopping easier?” is a good question to be asking.
There are around 80 annual auto shows in the United States from Albany, NY, to Seattle, WA, New Orleans, LA, and Milwaukee, WI, and many places in between. All of them provide shoppers opportunities to glimpse vehicles available for 2020 and beyond.
“If you want to explore the latest and greatest that the auto industry has to offer, then, without a doubt, your first stop should be a local auto show … where consumers can still touch and feel products across all segments and brands,” wrote Charlie Gilchrist of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
“It’s no coincidence that more than 11 million consumers are attending U.S. auto shows every year – with 68 percent of them planning a new-vehicle purchase within 12 months,” wrote Gilchrist, who also is president of Gilchrist Automotive franchised dealers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“Auto show attendees are consistently twice as likely to make a new-vehicle purchase within a year of visiting a show versus the general population.”
So what do all those vehicle shoppers know that maybe you don’t know?
Major auto shows
Sure, the U.S. schedule includes major shows in Los Angeles (November), Chicago (February), New York (April) and Detroit (June) – the latter officially named the North American International Motor Show – which get a lot of media attention and where many of the biggest automotive reveals happen.
Besides Frankfurt, well-known international shows include Tokyo, Japan (October), Geneva, Switzerland (March), and Beijing, China (April), which is held every two years.
But the longest event may be the State Fair of Texas Auto Show, which runs more than three weeks in September and October each year at the fairgrounds in Dallas. But Miami, FL (November), Philadelphia, PA, Cleveland, OH, Milwaukee, WI, and Atlanta, GA (all in February) also last more than a week.
Dealership on steroids
Attending an auto show is like visiting a dealership on steroids.
Bright lights and gleaming metal as far as the eye can see and a great place to kick tires – well, maybe not literally – if you’re shopping for a new car, truck, crossover or SUV.
But even if you can’t kick the tires, you may be able to take a vehicle for a spin at many shows.
“The DFW Auto Show is a full experiential event,” said Don Herring Jr., chairman of Dallas’ other show. “Product specialists are available inside to discuss all of their vehicles, and, outside, attendees can get assistance on their car-buying decisions by taking a test drive in the streets.”
Where to find a show
At last count, the Edmunds.com 2019 Auto Shows Calendar comprised more than 80 U.S. auto shows from September through June, and about 30 foreign shows from August through March.
Here are some of the U.S. highlights, by region and month:
New England International Auto Show in Boston, MA (January)
Washington Auto Show in Washington, D.C. (January)
Buffalo (NY) Auto Show (February)
Syracuse (NY) Auto Expo (February)
Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore, MD (February)
Pittsburgh (PA) International Auto Show (February)
Greater New Orleans (LA) International Auto Show (November)
Memphis (TN) International Auto Show (October)
Nashville (TN) International Auto Show (October)
Tampa Bay (FL) New Car + Truck Show (November)
Charlotte (NC) International Auto Show (November)
Jacksonville (FL) International Car & Truck Show (February)
St. Louis (MO) Auto Show (January)
Indianapolis (IN) Auto Show (December)
Michigan International Auto Show in Grand Rapids (January)
Cincinnati (OH) Auto Expo (February)
Quad City Regional Auto Show in Davenport, IA (February)
Kansas City (MO) International Auto Show (March)
Twin Cities Auto Show in Minneapolis, MN (March)
Motor Trend International Auto Show in Las Vegas, NV (September)
San Antonio (TX) Auto & Truck Show (November)
Arizona International Auto Show in Phoenix (November)
Houston (TX) Auto Show (January)
New Mexico International Auto Show in Albuquerque (April)
Seattle (WA) Auto Show (November)
San Francisco (CA) International Auto Show (November)
San Diego (CA) International Auto Show (January)
Silicon Valley (CA) International Auto Show (January)
Portland (OR) International Auto Show (February)
Denver (CO) Auto Show (March)
“The reality is that there aren’t many places where consumers can get behind the wheel of multiple brands under one roof, get a personal experience and a glimpse into their driving future,” wrote Gilchrist of the automobile dealers association.
Well, maybe more than you imagined – and closer than you thought.