By on March 17, 2017

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There’s something ironic about it, and I don’t mean in the way Alanis Morissette uses the term: The media days at the major auto shows offer unmatched access to the vast majority of vehicles on sale in the United States today. The stuff that gets locked up and put behind barriers once the shows open to the public is usually open and available for your inspection.

Want to try out the back seat in a Mulsanne, or rub your dirty fingers all over the steering wheel of your favorite supercar? It’s all possible — and usually without the lines, disruption, and drama that you’d expect once the average Joes get in the door. Not even the $500-a-head charity previews will get you the unfettered touch time with your favorite high-end automobile that comes as standard equipment with a zero-buck press pass.

Yet if you are “working” a show, that means spending nine hours a day literally running between press conferences, frantically uploading photos or writing summaries, and staying in motion until you’re dead on your feet. Then it’s time to go to a series of all-you-can-drink parties where you’ll be surrounded all night by the kind of people who whine about Republicans then wave nonchalantly for a Rolls-Royce to take them to a $699 per night hotel. Wake up the next morning, rinse and repeat.

In other words, even though the media days at the major shows are a car enthusiast’s dream, the circumstances of auto-journo employment tend to interfere with that dream. Yesterday, I tried taking an antidote to that poisonous mindset, in the form of a no-expenses-paid trip to the Columbus, Ohio auto show.


Like most of the auto shows across the country, the Columbus show is put on by the dealer associations. The cars aren’t usually the property of the manufacturer in the manner of Detroit or Los Angeles. Instead, local dealers get special car show allocations to build out their display models, which they take to the show so the great unwashed can steal every knob in the thing and add a three-millimeter layer of dirt and fungus to all interior surfaces. Afterwards, the cars will be detailed as well as can be managed and then sold at a discount.

There wasn’t much in the way of exotic hardware present. A Huracan and a Ferrari California behind velvet ropes. A Corvette Grand Sport. The most expensive cars that were simply sitting on the floor for open participation and examination were probably the Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX470 that were placed in such a manner as to not be visible from each other. Everything else was awfully prosaic.

My companion for this trip was the bass player from my itinerant musical ventures. He’s looking for a minivan — more on that next week. So we measured and examined a lot of minivans. He asked the “product specialists” a lot of questions; the superstar in that regard was the young lady from Chrysler who knew the Pacifica stone cold from nose to tail and could demonstrate every feature. The show made an actual difference to him. When we arrived, he was fixed on the Sienna, with the Kia minivan in second place. But the Pacifica made an impression on him and now it’s a tie ballgame between the Japanese van from Kentucky and the American van from Ontario.

I enjoyed my time at the auto show. It was low-stress and it gave me a chance to take a closer look at a lot of everyday automobiles. So my question to the B&B is this: Do you go to an auto show? If so, which ones? What are your expectations of the shows you attend? Are those expectations being met? Isn’t it ironic? Dontcha think?

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103 Comments on “QOTD: Can We Interest You In A Car Show?...”


  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    I’m going to the Atlanta one next weekend. I go almost every year. It’s a good chance to check out everything on wheels without being harassed by a salesman.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      I go to the ATL show each year for the same reasons. The ride and drive events are also great. Usually half a dozen manufacturers participate in that.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Agreed.

      I go to the DC and/or Baltimore one every year just to check out what’s new and anything I might be interested in. It definitely helped us when we bought my wife’s latest vehicle because we were able to get a feel for the rear seat space of every available 3-row crossover and narrow down what we actually wanted to test drive.

      This year and next year I’m in the process of doing the same thing for midsize sedans since I’ll be in the market soon. It’s a whole lot faster than going to every dealer in town just to get a feel for the ergonomics and interior design.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    We go to CLE every couple of years as we used to go to NAIAS every year. We usually take the in laws and are going to start narrowing down a car for purchase. I get to jump in the back seat with my mother in law and show her what separates a lower spec H/K to a premium model and where money is going.

    I have been to Cobo for vendor day about a decade ago. It was quite entertaining to see the employees picking apart the first generation Ridgeline and even pulling on weather stripping and such. Now I find myself doing same thing like pointing out the corregated plastic water/debris diverted some line worker or engineer found in a container at lunch and thought it would do the job on a new Corolla.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I no longer attend auto shows.

    I no longer will patronize any auto dealerships, either.

    I immediately turn off/disrupt any commercials/advertisement that are broadcast via radio, television, cable, networks, internet, etc.

    As a consumer, citizen and activist, I’m on strike against the automotive industry, writ large, and will do anything and everything that I can to legally undermine it (I also am going to help lead the mass-movement to disrupt the banking, pharmaceutical/health industry, energy industry, music industry, entertainment-media conglomerate complex, corporate agricultural complex, restaurant industry,silicon valley-led “gig economy,” et al.)

    This comment post is the first time I’ve contributed anything towards the automotive industry or social media relating thereto in nearly 3 weeks, and I did so only to announce my intention of starting a mass movement to significantly disrupt and impair the automotive industry (as well as other industries mentioned above, as well as others not specifically mentioned).

    OUR movement has just begun. It doubles in strength by the minute (do that calculus).

    Do NOT eat the clam chowder or lobster bisque.

    It’s time to re-institute the natural order of the world, and to destroy the corrupt, collusive oligarchy that is driving world conflict and incredible social and wealth inequality (through immoral and corrupt tactics and ethos) in a matter not seen since the early 1900s.

    The world is a vampire.

    We are the Reapers who will change the course of history for the better, and will do so merely because it is just.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      Does that mean you’re the secret destroyer being drained?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I assure all that the MOVEment is happening, and unlike some past ones, soon will be televised (and successful).

      Cause there’ll come a day
      When all of us will show, we won’t be afraid
      ‘Cause from these ashes we will grow
      So let the Revolution begin…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      …being the story of how one young man became a Rock ‘N Roll Suicide.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      DW has been binge-watching Mr. Robot…

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Why did AMC kill ‘Rubicon’ after one season?

        It was one of the best shows in the history of television…maybe top 2 along with Breaking Bad.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think it was because of gauge cluster complaints.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Good question. Probably because it was too wonky.

          There’s curious building front in my neighborhood in Manhattan. It’s on a residential block in the East 50s and has a stainless-steel roll-up door as well as a regular door (albeit of massive construction), more surveillance cameras than can be seen with the naked eye and a mysterious parking permit sign that’s not specific about the vehicles allowed to park there. Every once in a while you see someone step out to have a quick smoke. They are always looking up and down the block while they do so. I’m convinced that this is the home of the real-world agency that inspired Rubicon. I make a point of smiling and waving every time I walk by.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Anyone who did not love Rubicon (assuming they watched it) is a troglodyte.

            http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm241/geckoholic01/ll_misc/rubiconS1previews/rubicon108CITScaps0682.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          I think Rubicon killed itself after half a season … It was very interesting for several episodes, but I think it suddenly lost the plot. Did the writers not expect the channel to buy as many episodes as they did?

          Just my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      turbo_awd

      OUR movement has just begun. It doubles in strength by the minute (do that calculus).

      Ok.. It’s been like 200 minutes since your comment. That means you should be something like 1E60 stronger – and yet I still haven’t heard or seen anything about it.. Heck, there are something like 1E80 atoms in the universe.. If you aren’t a global/universal phenomenon in another hour or two, I’ll have to assume YOU didn’t do the calculus, or that you couldn’t even keep up your strength doubling for a few hours..

    • 0 avatar
      01 Deville

      Lay off the drugs.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I don’t work the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.*

        I’m clean, drug and disease free.

        That place is druggie-infested. The line be higher than Purple Haze when slappin’those Cadillac “standard of the world” Cadillac CT6s together.

        *The Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac CT6 and the Buick LaCrosse are assembled at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I saw a black RWD CT6 3.6 in use as a livery car yesterday. Not what Cadillac intended. But I thought it was pretty.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            “RWD CT6 3.6”

            Not possible. The 3.6 is only available in AWD, the 2.0 is RWD.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I stand corrected. There was no AWD or “4” badge so I assumed it was RWD.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I think I’ve seen a couple in traffic, and both were just black. I will have to pay more attention to the badging next time.

            Saw my first new Lacrosse today, it was alright in graphite.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The Cadillac CT6 and Cadillac XTS will be duking it out for sedan livery duty for years to come!

            #MCGA (Make Cadillac Great Again!)

    • 0 avatar
      claytori

      DW – If you will collaborate with my campaign to ban white cars, push-button ignitions, and non-lever type emergency brakes, I am in!

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    I usually attend the SF car show. I’ll never understand why the Bay Area (with several zip codes among the wealthiest in the USA and the World) doesn’t get a proper car show.

    All we get is the leftovers from Los Angeles with irritable staff that is on their last legs, even if those legs are very attractive.

    Yeah, I get that all our rich peeps here buy Teslas (or attend the Monterey Concourse D’Elegance), but with all the money here, why can’t our show be a better one?

    Last year we get old shit like the Bugatti Veyron ‘Transformer edition’ (a really shitty paint job) a Pagani Huayra, A Hellcat. Acura didn’t even bother to show the tired NSX concept. I wanted to check a BMW 2 series coupe, and none where there. A few older classic cars brought some class to the joint – but really, nothing meaningful automotive speaking.

    • 0 avatar
      dkleinh

      Indeed – for a number of years, post 2008 or so, Mercedes Benz did not even have an exhibition at the SF autoshow. The last year, they finally returned. I don’t really know why I go anymore.

  • avatar
    another_VW_fanboy

    I go to the Philadelphia Auto Show almost every February. Its a fun way to spend a day for the show but also for other things nearby in center city Philly. What disappoints me is that we never get the variety of vehicles the access to more expensive cars for all the reasons you mentioned. We also never get to see any concept cars. For a big city like Philly that’s a disappointment to me. Thousands of people come every year. It’s a big draw. All we get is a bunch of dealers showing off all their most pedestrian offerings. I’d love it if we would get a show more like Detroit or maybe even Geneva. Its good if you’re in the market for a new car, but leaves a lot to be desired for the enthusiast.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      The Philly Show is funny because ALL of the makes are in one gargantuan hall and then just Merc and Lexus are sequestered in completely separate hall. It’s certainly not the biggest or most exciting show around, but it’s good to see everything in person and stay appraised of which new cars look good and feel good, and which models have improved.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        It’s bigger than the one in Wilmington, just 30 miles away that comes six months later. I visited both last year and made a purchase a few weeks later based on what we looked at during both.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I still remember (and have photos) of a Jeep concept that was shown in Philly I believe in ’04. I really wish they’d built it because in ’07 I ended up buying a Wrangler when I really wanted that other rig.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        Automakers bring a few concepts to Philly, they’re just very rarely NEW concepts, but often a couple years old.

        Being from Baltimore, where the Auto Show fluctuated between the Maryland Fairgrounds and Baltimore Convention Center, the Philly show just FEELS bigger.

  • avatar
    redapple

    not worth the hassle.
    1/2 the brands you want to see are no shows- ie porsche, land rover etc.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “1/2 the brands you want to see are no shows- ie porsche, land rover etc.”

      That’s because they don’t need an auto show to move inventory and 90% of their customer base don’t come to the auto shows in the first place.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I go to the Chicago auto show about every other year.

    Last time it wasn’t for the cars. My wife has a fashion blog and wanted to do a post about the fashion of the product specialists. We had a good time but there were only a few cars that I actually wanted to see.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I attend the one here in Denver every year, usually with my girlfriend (though my oldest daughter seems to have caught the car bug and goes sometimes).

    Best feature? Definitely the “seat time” in all the cars. The custom / classic stands are also interesting. A few years ago, my girlfriend and I made out in the third row of a Kia Sedona van. Just goes to show how little floor traffic the Sedona got.

    If you go, choose the Saturday night show, after dinner. Far less crowded. You can actually check everything out that you were interested in.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The seat time is the best thing. I am fussy about seating position and interior finish, and an auto show allows me to quickly dismiss the non-starters.

      Plus the local show has a decent lounge-style beer area. It’s a fun place to hang-out with some friends and catch-up on a Winter Friday evening.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        This. This is why I go, especially when we need a car. Eliminate vehicles on the list without trekking to the dealer and enduring a salespersons nonsense.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “…the great unwashed can steal every knob in the thing and add a three-millimeter layer of dirt and fungus to all interior surfaces”

    This. Car shows can expose you to vehicles you normally wouldn’t have been considering and even guided us towards purchasing a car, but unless I’m actively in the market I won’t go to these. The parking, crowds, annoying people, and lines to even sit in some mainstream cars kind of dim the appeal and you still don’t know anything about how they drive. And the fungus.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    I live close enough to NYC to attend the NY Auto Show. So I don’t have to deal with the local show that’s put on by the local dealers, which is for all intents and purposes walking into their car dealership, and treated the same way.

    These are the same dealers that carry around a little black Galves book with every column except the “lowball trade in” number redacted.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I enjoy Chicago’s auto show; its nice to be able to sit in cars you’d never encounter otherwise. I particularly enjoy checking out the interiors of expensive luxury cars and laughing at how they’re only marginally better than what you’ll find in a non-lux car if at all.

    Also that Pacifica continues to show that FCA understands how minivans are used better than anyone. The rear seat entertainment system includes games like road bingo for kids to play. How cool is that? FCA gets it.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Sorry, no. Considering every child I see has their face buried in a phone or an iPad, I really don’t think anyone’s going to be going nuts for the type of games that come with a minivan.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    I have to work the Tampa auto show and I despise it. I work for a luxury auto dealership and our stand gets swarmed by people who will never be able to buy our product. Last year we sent four cars and an SUV and they came back with thousands of dollars damage. People have no respect, I’ve had to tell parents to take their kids out of cars as they were jumping all over, pulling and grabbing things, all with food or drinks in their hands. I wish I could take vacation days during the show but I can’t.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Who do those proles think they are?

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      If you hate stupid poor people, my advice would be to move away from Florida.

    • 0 avatar
      01 Deville

      Thanks for sharing your side of the story. I imagine I would have similar feelings if I were in your place. Yet people who will never be able to afford these cars and their passion are valuable assets that are being exploited by smart managements, for example Ferrari brand items that common people can afford. A stronger brand also keeps your employment.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Sure they can afford those cars. They buy them used from Off Lease Only, fastest growing used car dealership in Florida. Sure, 80% of the cars have been wrecked and all airbags deployed as per Carfax, but where can the populace buy a 2 year old BMW 5 series for 23,499?

  • avatar
    heycarp

    Tomorrow , just west of Columbus in Piqua Oh. is a real car show in their little mall put on by DARF (dayton auto race fans) – there is also HARF ( hoosier auto race fans ) and my favorite buckeye auto race fans –
    yes , yes BARF ! Anyway , it’s free and there are 100’s of go faster cars of all kinds indoors . You can talk all you want about super cars till you see outlaw sprint cars that weigh a little more than a 1000lbs and has a little less than a 1000hp. Does any F1 come close to this ?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Thanks, heycarp. It does look interesting:
      http://www.darfnews.com/Pages/CarShow.aspx

      My hound dog sat at the door this morning yelling, “HARF! HARF!” I thought she just wanted to be let in, but here she was trying to tell me about a car show.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    My dad and I have somewhat accidentally turned NAIAS into an annual tradition. It is actually valuable to get to sit in cars unmolested and listen to others’ observations. So I echo Jack’s comment that the auto show has a purpose for comparison shoppers.

    As a spectacle, though … Feh. Worse every year. The buzziest crowd at NAIAS this year gathered for a Ferrari and a Porsche unglamorously parked side by side in the back of Cobo for what I believe was a customizer’s display. It’s as though the true premium brands have decided that they actually tarnish their image by letting Midwesterners see their cars in the flesh. (Or maybe there’s just no ROI because Rust Belt folks don’t buy enough Aston Martins. Either way. Feh.)

  • avatar
    suburbanokie

    Go to the Tulsa one about every other year. In fact it should be coming up in a week or two.

    When we were looking for a small CUV for my wife to replace her Civic a few years ago, we used it to quickly narrow down our list and get a real look at the (then brand new) Mazda CX-5.

    The other draw for us is the several area collector car groups, usually Studebaker, Corvair, Mustang, Corvette and kit car clubs are there, as well as a generic GM-focused group.

    Also, our 2-year-old is super into cars right now, especially a certain automotive-based animated world, we’ll probably take him since he’d have a blast.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      I do too. I’m bringing my 3-year-old. Cars is her favorite movie. See ya there!

      For a while I used to drive back home to Kansas City just for their show, as it’s much larger (Tulsa can have several brands pull a no-show). Also, the manufacturers seem to provide the occasional show car or Ford Robot from a year or two back that I can see in person. And in my single days I pulled a number from a Mini hostess…but that’s another story.

      However, as I age, I appreciate fewer people, more room to sit and eat bad hot dogs, as well as more time in the cars without being joined by a cluster of someone’s children with no concept of personal space.

      Not to mention I actually love the retired guys in veterans hats who will just randomly start a pleasant car-related conversation.
      When the 2015 Mustang was released, we had a very nice elderly gentleman put his hand on my shoulder and tell me to get my wife one, as owning a Mustang was one of his happiest memories. You can’t buy that.

      I think we should call these pleasant small shows “Festivus for the Rest of Us”.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    I’ve always wanted to go to them, but never found the time until last year when I was in the market for a car. I felt like going really gave me an opportunity to whittle down my list of candidates to just a few, and it did move me to consider some I wouldn’t have otherwise looked at (and eliminate a few others that I thought I would like). Overall it was well worth the price of admission to spend a few hours browsing. What I did that day would have taken me ages to do in the real world by visiting dealer lots, and then I would have had to waste the time of a bunch of sales people.

    In the end I had narrowed it down to two cars. I went to dealer group that sold both makes, took two test drives with the same salesman and within 24 hours of making my decision my ass was in the seat of my new car.

    That said, I don’t think that I would bother going again unless we were in the market for another new car. Sure, you get to see the cars and maybe sit in them, but you don’t get to drive them (unless you’re willing to schedule a test drive in advance on one of a handful of dealer demos brought in for that purpose). Also, as someone else said the really cool cars either aren’t there or are roped off so you can’t get to them. You honestly get more access to cool cars at Cars and Coffee.

  • avatar
    AMDBMan

    Every time I go to the NY Auto Show, I say to myself “never again.” Then about two or three years later I end up going, only to repeat myself. I’ve been doing that for about 10 years now, though I’ve been going to the NY show for probably 20 years.

    This year I’m ignoring myself and going because I am actually in the market for a new vehicle, and look forward to jumping from one vehicle to the next, even if the experience doesn’t provide any behind-the-wheel time. I can do that at a dealership later once I’ve narrowed things down. I also just like picking through things even if I have no intention of ever buying them. I get a kick out of the second-row captains chairs in the Escalade, but will wear a fake moustache when I climb in so nobody who knows me might recognize me doing it.

    I’ve always thought it would be fun to go on press day, for all the reasons Jack described minus the whole “working” thing.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I used to go to a car show nearly every year, mainly to determine whether I could comfortably fit into whatever it was that had caught my eye in traffic or the magazines lately. That was often fruitless due to power seats adjusted for a 5’10 guy and the battery disconnected, but trying on 50 vehicles with no sales scum around is still an enjoyable afternoon to me.

    I no longer bother. I don’t like modern cars and there are few enough trucks on the market that I can just go to a much more convenient and less crowded dealership when I’m curious.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Wow didnt realize I would like Go Green as much as I do.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I usually go to a few every year, alternating New York and Detroit. The Toronto show gets more lame with each passing year, despite the continuing increase in cost. I only went to the Toronto show last year as I was given “VIP” tickets for the preview night – which was nice as it seemed to be populated with people more interested in the free food than the cars.

    Anyone in the Toronto area should try the Georgian college auto show, about an hour north in Barrie. It’s held in June outside on the college grounds, and run by an eager, happy bunch of students. A great day for under 10 bucks.

    A bit off topic, but by what measure is FCA an American company?

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    It took several visits to auto shows before my wife and I decided on what to buy. Why? Because we owned three vehicles at the time and needed to find a way to consolidate any two of them. From a micro-car to a compact pickup to a 4×4 SUV, we needed to combine aspects in a way that would best meet our needs. By visiting car shows, we could get a realistic feel of size and capability, lacking only the ‘feel’ of the car in driving.

    We kept the compact pickup and replaced the 4×4/micro-car with the Jeep Renegade.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    We go to the one in Phoenix on Thanksgiving weekend most years. It’s nice to see all the new cars in one place. Plus, that and Comicon are the only events that manage to get us out of the ‘burbs and into downtown.

  • avatar

    Years ago I went to the Washington, DC, car show and realized that it was basically just the same stuff I could see at a dealer showroom. Convenient if you had no clue as to what you wanted to buy but not so interesting otherwise. On the other hand, I was at the Frankfurt show twice and it was really spectacular but I had more fun at specialist shows like the Techno Classica in Essen. Now I just do museums, Concours d’Elegance events, and Corvette get-togethers.

  • avatar
    redapple

    i love going to the shows.
    nothing better.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I go to the Richmond, VA show when I can. This year was the first in probably three years I went. They’re pretty lame. All the samples are fully-loaded with stratospheric MSRPs. I was surprised they had a VW Atlas and a 2018 Expedition there, but of course they were locked up tight.

    I was able to show my wife the fact that she could never tolerate life with a Yukahoburban due to the rear seats and cargo liftover, plus interest her at least somewhat in Durangos and Expeditions. My kids succeeded in demonstrating the inferiority of the Ram’s rear seat ergonomics compared to every other full-sizer which I find particularly dispiriting as I tend to favor Rams over the others.

    Generally there’s too much “show” and not enough “car,” combined with too many ancillary marketing opportunities. I like at least being able to sit in some cars without being hassled by salesmen or having to get one to unlock a vehicle. I like reviewing virtually every locally-available brand all at once. Such shows just fail to excite me the way more major shows used to. When I was growing up my grandfather used to always take me to the National show in D.C. where there were more exotics, concepts etc. that probably spoiled all other dealer-oriented shows for all time.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I look forward and go to the Chicago show every year. I always have a running list of the 5-10 cars I’m somewhat interested in, and the show is a good way to weed stuff out. For instance, this year I was pretty pro-4Runner until I sat in it, looked at the cheapo interior and terrible infotainment, and realized that spending the next 8 years looking at this wasn’t a good trade for $45k and the offroad capability I’d use maybe 5 times a year. Hard to do that from an online review or brochure, unless you want to brave the circling salesmen in a real dealership.

    It’s also good for me because I’m a, uh, “sturdy” individual with broad shoulders, so it’s easy to read how the Jag XE is the Second Coming of sports sedans in magazines, but then reality slaps you in the face when you realize it fits me like a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe would.

    OTOH, I used to laugh at the “sheeple” who bought Lexus RXs until I stumbled into the latest model at the car show and was absolutely gobsmacked by how fantastic that interior is. Still wouldn’t buy one for me, but wow, yeah, now I get it.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    I go to the CIAS about every 5 years. Last time was 2015. In general, I don’t care about new cars enough to travel to Toronto and pay to see them. Might be different if there were more concept cars on display.

    I went to NAIAS once and that was pretty cool. There was a shuttle bus taking people across the border from Windsor and right up to the front doors of Cobo hall, which was convenient.

    I’ve been to some of the biggest rod/custom/classic car shows on the east coast though. One day I hope to fly to LA to see the GNRS.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’ve been going to the DC show semi-regularly with a friend. He’s been looking to buy a new car for about 3 years now. So he always wants to go so he can look at the Audis as I try to steer him toward Lexus.

    Sometimes I’ll bring my wife. Sometimes he’ll bring some people. But inevitably someone among the group develops some sort of malady and we end up cutting it short. This time it was his feet. Last time my wife had stomach issues. Sometimes it’s boredom from one of the tag-alongs.

    I’ve determined if I ever want to enjoy it at my own pace, I need to take a day off from work and go during the week by myself. I enjoy sitting in the cars I’m interested in and being able to examine some details without feeling rushed.

    I hope to one day make it to the Tokyo show. My friend said it is a totally different experience.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The only NEW car show we have in the state is in Albuquerque and I can never get excited enough about it to travel 4 hours round trip for it.

    I’d rather go down to a classic car show in July that many of the Gallup dealerships will sponsor.

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      I live outside Santa Fe and go to the Albuquerque show almost every year. It’s not bad but there are always a few no-shows; e.g., I don’t see JLR or Mini on the floor plan for this year (4/21 – 4/23). It’s very uncrowded if you go soon after opening, with lots of free street parking on Sunday morning.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Went to my first auto shows in SF back in 92-95 when I lived there on the Presidio.
    After that moved back to NC and went to the shows in Raleigh and Charlotte for several years. The one in Raleigh got really big when it moved out doors to the fair grounds.
    Now that I live in Jax FL I go to this one regularly over the last 8 years and will also start attending the one in Tampa Bay in NOV as well as the one in Orlando that is held around the same time.

  • avatar
    Coolcar2

    I used to attend the Chicago auto show almost every year. I found it to be enjoyable to see and sit in many different brands of vehicles in one location. In a previous career I worked for Nissan and would have to work the stand. That totally gives you a different perspective on the crowds that attend these functions! We would have our tech’s prep the cars before the show began by removing any buttons and trim pieces that people would steal if left in place! Who the hell wants a volume knob from a 2004 Sentra?! Evidently thousands of people do!

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Apparently if the “Mobil 1 Recommended” oil cap on a Challenger or Charger SRT-8 is left on the vehicle before putting it on the show floor, it WILL disappear by the end of the first day. You know, because I’m sure that’s what it takes to confuse people into thinking your V6 LX is an SRT car.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The Dallas Auto Show is next weekend, and my oldest daughter is already bugging me about going.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    When I lived in the area, the NAIAS was the best and always worth going to. I went to the Calgary auto show this week for their high dollar ticket closed door event which was nice but didn’t compare. The major manufacturers put on their displays but it was of course very subdued compared to what I was used to. It was more of a chance to shoot the sh1t with industry folks.

  • avatar

    I attend at least two shows each year: our local one (St. Louis) and Chicago.

    The St. Louis show is just as Jack described: local dealers, just a chance to see a bunch of makes/models under one roof. Good chance to get seat time in a variety of vehicles. The $$$ Euro brands stopped coming a few years ago, and it’s shrunk overall to about 1/2 size from 10 years ago.

    Chicago is more “A-Game”, vendor displays, a huge show in every way at McCormick Place, new model introductions, and just about everyone accounted for (no Bentley, Rolls, Ferrari, Lambo).

    I go every year.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Almost forgot (shouldn’t have) that I went once to the NAIAS about 10 years ago. I loved it and wish I could go back.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Go to the CIAS every year…only 90 miles away and an opportunity to hit Toronto…never a bad thing. Ride the GO Train from the U.S. border, no parking issues, no traffic, close to the huge underground network – PATH is the largest underground shopping complex in the world, for those members of your party who don’t want to spend as much (or any) time at the show. Wear nothing but a light jacket in Toronto, in February. Works AWESOME.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Fordson….Thank You for coming up and visiting. Nothing like getting 33. cents on the dollar eh? We are like “Woodchucks” we live underground for about 5 months a year : )

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Would not miss it…like many folks living close to the border in this area, on either side, we have family and many friends on the other side.

        Living close to the U.S./Canada border is the best of both worlds.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I’d probably still go anyhow, but it helps getting free tickets from work. At the same time, I’ve probably already had the chance to poke and prod half the cars on the floor already, but it’s a good chance to check out the vehicles my company doesn’t currently buy.

    I’m just at the point where a weeknight is the only time I can go, just for the sake of the crowds. My biggest takeaway from working the show circuit is that no one goes at 9:30 on a Tuesday night (seriously, you could recreate the Blues Brothers mall chase in there, even if the new Oldsmobiles will never be in early again).

  • avatar

    There’s one in my town this weekend and I might go with my kid to feed his interest in cars and give me a chance to “wander the lot” without being ambushed by sales staff. Admission is high IMHO, and other peoples children monopolizing cars as their personal playground is getting kind of old.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I’ve been to the one in Boston every year since maybe 2011. I was there the last year of the Aveo, Cobalt, W body Impala, and DTS. Old GM.

    The year before last Mitsubishi had a Lancer Evo X Final Edition, everyone was all over it, last year Mitsu didn’t even show up. Very sad.

    I’ve never seen Jag or Land Rover there. Porsche is on or off, two years ago they came equipped with every last model there up to the 911 Turbo, all for the public to touch. They were not there the next year and they were the last but they had everything locked up.

    Honda and Nissan are deathly boring and barely anyone looks at any of their cars. All of Cadillac is ignored except the Escalade.

    Mercedes almost always puts on a good show, they always bring an E convertible, S, S-coupe, GLA45 hot hatch, cool stuff. G-Wagon was unlocked this year!

    Real concept cars are generally not present, but production ready concepts, like the new Continental and the new GM full size SUV’s on the pedestal a year ahead.

    Exotics are there (Aston, Bentley, Rolls, Lamborghini, but usually not Ferrari), but roped off.

    BMW humorously always has an M3 and an S1000RR as examples of the ultimate driving machine, while everything else is different cross overs and coupe sloped weirdness.

    At the end of the day, regardless of how many luxury cars I sit my butt on, the one you get in to drive home is always the most comfortable.

  • avatar
    ElAntonius

    LaAntonius and I go to the Tampa one almost every year. Excuse to get downtown and have something to do.

    It’s OK, you see some fun stuff, but the quality varies wildly since it’s the dealers.

    GM tends to be one of the best presences there, usually bringing 2-4 examples of each of their performance vehicles and a huge raft of their normal stuff, and if they have a high profile concept it tends to be there (5th gen Camaro was there in ’08 or ’07)

    Mazda was strong in 2015 (we didn’t go in 2016), bringing some actual racing hardware.

    Subaru invariably has not a shift knob in sight.

    BMW tends to be pretty weak, last time we went it was all 335i, 5-whatever, and crossovers.

    Nissan likes to put up a huge banner of a GTR and not have one.

    Ford fluctuates. 2015 was pretty cool as they had a (locked) GT350R and a (locked) Focus RS to look at, and I was in the market, but in other years the most interesting thing they’d bring was a Mustang GT. First time we ever went they did have that Mustang-based Lincoln concept. That was cool.

    We’re not very into touching things that crowds of people are touching, so the lines to sit in things dont bug me. Just fun to look at sheet metal once a year. Dunno if I’d want to do it more often.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Been to Toronto every year since about 94-95 (when I was 4), it does get worse every year since the interiors of new cars just get more homogenized and sitting in different models isn’t as interesting as it used to be, but the classic cars are always worth seeing and occasionally some good concepts from throughout the last year will show up.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    I went to the Geneva Auto Show last weekend, and felt it was 8 francs (it’s half price as of 4:00) and 4 hours very well spent. Saw the Koenigseggs, Paganis, the Bugatti Chiron, the new and classic RUFs, and a bunch of other stuff that I found interesting. Seeing Euro-market stuff that we don’t get in North America is fun, too, and you can sit in some semi-exotic stuff like the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. Despite it being the first Friday that it was open, the crowds were extremely manageable, and that’s coming from someone who really doesn’t deal very well with crowds. Last year’s show was much busier; possibly because of the introduction of the Chiron.

    I don’t go to the local show very often; maybe once every few years.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    I get to the annual Twin Cities auto show (which is occurring this very week through the 19th) about every other year, alternating with the annual motorcycle show that’s held in the same venue in February; it’s a 500 mile round trip for either and I don’t feel like I see enough new product out of each trip if I’m at both each year.
    I think the most exotic thing I’ve seen there was the Lexus LF-A, but the general market up to low 6-figure cars is well represented. Chrysler has sometimes even has brought concepts and once one of the ’60’s Turbine cars. Usually a few automakers bring pre-production cars that were revealed at a bigger show but are still a long way from being on sale. Camp Jeep is fun, and usually a manufacturer or two has test drives that take a loop around the convention center.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I’ve done NAIAS a few times, last time was about six years ago. I try to make the Pittsburgh show every year, had to this year because our Honda lease expires soon. My wife was not impressed with the Pacifica, wouldn’t entertain the Kia and the new ’18 Odyssey isn’t out yet We left there early and went to drive the only Sienna SE currently available in the Pittsburgh area. It really depends on when the new Odyssey arrives as to what we go with.

    But I digress. Pittsburgh show underwhelms. Only one weekend now (used to be a week when I was younger.) You tend to get either a base model and top of the line of any given vehicle. Unless it’s a truck, SUV or “sports car”. Lots of yellow cars with black trim because of the yinzers needing to drive around in a Steelers helmet to show loyalty.

    My brother lives about an hour outside Cleveland and is as big of a gearhead as me, possibly more so(he can wrench way better than me) so we try to make it there. Much better show, didn’t make it this year though. Due to the continued presence of the automakers and their suppliers in Ohio, there’s more in Cleveland. Multiple models of any vehicle, even most of the foreign makes. Nearly a junior NAIAS but without the flair. I-X Center much better for a car show than Pittsburghs convention center, though traffic can be a joke getting into the place. Most every make shows up, mostly local dealers, but it can be sparse.

    Cleveland also has a classic car show at the same time and while it’s usually the same cars every year. When my kids are able to appreciate it, it’ll be good to show them what was and what it is.

  • avatar
    CadiDrvr

    I’ve attended NAIAS since ’91, even though I live 600 miles away. It was a “21st Birthday Present” to myself, but I enjoyed so much that it became a tradition, even though my bday is in August. I originally went to see the concept cars, but it was fun to be able to see every car from the cheapest all the way to the most expensive Rolls, Ferrari, etc.

    About 10 years I started attending the Charity Preview(might as well put that tux hanging in the back of the closet to use). While I enjoyed people watching during the normal show, that moreso than the cars became THE activity…watching everyone parade around in their finest was hysterical. Not to mention almost every automotive “celebrity” was in attendance, as well as local celebs like Aretha and other Motown stars past/present.

    But Jack is correct that the way to attend one of the big shows is on Press/Industry/Supplier days when ALL THE CARS are unlocked. Wanna climb into the backseat of a half million dollar Rolls, you can have at it. But even during the Charity Previews those cars are either locked up tight, or you have to be holding an invitation from the manufacturer/local dealer to climb into the new models.

    But the last few years, Detroit has become like my local show in that all the “big boys” are skipping and the ones that do show–MB, BMW, etc. have very limited models to see.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My birthday is usually during NAIAS, and several times, I’ve wanted to go.

      • 0 avatar
        CadiDrvr

        Normally, I’d say treat yourself, but the Detroit show has become a former shell of itself.

        What with so many manufacturers skipping the show, and the remaining ones bringing smaller/simpler displays its more like a small town show in a REALLY BIG room.

        Once upon a time, everyone was there and the displays were fascinating. Everyone had 2-story displays, and the Germans would have “cafes” on their upper levels (for invited owners, of course).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    It’s been quite a while for me. The Seattle show is underwhelming and happens during my busiest time of year at work, and being in Seattle means it’s a major travel event to get to a bigger show.

    To keep up, I try to stop by dealers as time allows. I rent cars often enough that I always have a good idea of what’s going on in the compact and midsize classes.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @DeadWeight–Have you seen the Outsiders? It is about a group of mountain people that are self-sufficient fighting against the coal company and the townspeople who want them to leave the mountain so the coal company can mine billions of dollars worth of coal. The fictional story takes place in a fictional town called Blackburn in the fictional county of Crockett in Kentucky. This show is on WGN America but is also available thru Amazon and Netflix.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I saw it trending and was wondering about it and even read the summary info on it.

      I probably like/strongly like 1 out of every 80 movies and 1 out of every 200 made-for-cable/netflix/Amazon shows I bother to watch for even 120 seconds or more.

      I couldn’t sleep last night and Independent Film Channel was running The Hunt For Red October.

      That’s one of the very few movies I can watch 2 to 4 times per year and it’s enjoyable each time I watch it (unlike some other Tom Clancy-adapted-for-film novels).

  • avatar

    One of these days I’m going to go to a car event to just enjoy it.

    There have been events where I’ve shot more than 1,400 photos.

    There’s a reason why it’s called work and not “getting paid while playing”.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The Oklahoma City auto show last weekend was decent. The State Fairgrounds erected a brand-new events building, which helped. Ours seems to be a mixture of representation by dealerships and self-representation by the automakers themselves. For instance, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai, Acura, etc, all physically showed up, and brought representatives and kiosks. However, Volkswagen, Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes-Benz were dealership-sponsored.

    The Mercedes / Jaguar / Volvo dealership sponsors that brand, and its cars were the only ones that were off-limit brand-wide. Except Volvo. You were able to step into the Volvos for the first time. Otherwise, it was just pre-production , show or concept cars that were off limits. Last year, Ford displayed the single 1995 GT90 concept here in OKC, roped-off, of course. This year, Ford had pre-production versions of the 2018 Mustang and 2018 F-150 (both facelift models) that were locked, but that could be touched from the outside. Ditto for Volkswagen, who had a pre-production Atlas on the floor that was locked. (I spotted my local VW of Edmond salespeople there, who argued that the Atlas was the same as a Porsche Cayenne. I told them, no, that would be the Touareg over there…and even then…not quite).

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    I go to the local Twin Cities auto show almost every year but this year it been lacking. BMW has chosen not to display itself and many of the new cars shown in Detroit and Geneva are not in the auto show at all! Also, many of the luxury brand cars are now move to the main show area and are now locked Before, they were located in there own area and most were unlocked or could be unlocked if you ask the show car rep. No show car reps anymore either! Maybe, they went on their break?

    Kind of takes the fun out of the auto show now not being able to see new releases and luxury cars not being able to go in and sit in them!

    I guess you have to take a plane and hit the major shows like NYC, LA, Chicago to see the “real deals” before they arrive at the local dealers. May just go to NYC auto show on spare of the minute!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The good thing about the auto shows is just to be able to look and sit in the vehicles that you have an interest in without the hassle of salespeople. It is much different just to see the vehicles in person.

  • avatar
    ericb91

    I attended just about every NAIAS from 1998-2010 or so; it’s a huge part of why I love cars. I’ve been to the Chicago Auto Show twice and have really enjoyed that one. I missed it this year but I plan to attend next year. I really love going to auto shows because of the standard reasons- checking out the newest products, seeing everything in the metal, etc. It’s a grand time.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    Never been, don’t really care for crowds any more, not likely to ever go.


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