Are Auto Shows Dying?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

The question I posed in the headline is an interesting one. There's been a lot of consternation that auto shows are dying, set to be killed by a changing world.


Most of that narrative comes from an automotive press that goes to the media-preview days and then writes about the ills of auto shows if there's not much news being made. Never mind that auto shows are for the paying public, not the media, and no matter what happens during the press preview, auto shows are really about the general public.

So, no, I do not think auto shows are dying. I do, however, wonder what will happen with media days.

I've said this before so I won't belabor the point further. Even with the recent big Stellantis news.

I did, however, talk to Jennifer Morand, the president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, and automotive content creator (and NACTOY juror) Jill Ciminillo, about this. Chris Tonn and I then discussed their takes and had our own chat about auto shows.

We also went in on the Tesla Cybertruck, which we saw in person for the first time (Chris and I even sat in it) before spinning it back to the auto-show conversation -- we discussed our favorite vehicle debuts of all time. Naturally, we asked Jen and Jill for theirs, as well.

Thanks for listening!

[Image: Chicago Auto Show]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 42 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Feb 12, 2024
    Nah, not worth the time or trouble. Used to enjoy them. They also used to have fun cars to get excited about. No more. Definitely interested in checking out Radwood and would love to make more time for Cars and Coffee.
  • Steve Steve on Feb 13, 2024
    Ever since SUVs and CUVs took over the market, auto shows have been dead to me. When we get more electric cars, my interest might be revived.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Simply put, I like it.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Ah GM, never stop being you. GM is working hard to make FIAT look good.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Top Gear of the 2000's was a fresh concept and very well done. Sadly to say there isn't a TV show concept that doesn't eventually exhaust fresh ideas and, as a result, begins to rehash and wear out once were fresh ideas. The show eventually becomes a pale imitation of itself, then begins to embarrass itself, it will get to a point where it jumps the shark. Top Gear began to get stale, the Clarkson, Hammond and May left and the formula failed - surprise! the presenters were part of the magic. Fast forward many years and Grand Tower is trying hard to be Top Gear but it's all very obviously scripted (it always was by felt spontaneous in its original form), Clarkson, Hammond and May are much older, tired and have become caricatures of themselves. Guys, just stop. You should have stopped 10 years ago. Now you're just screwing with your reputations and legacies.
  • FreedMike Kudos to Toyota for making a legitimately slick looking piece (particularly in metallic cherry red). But PHEVs seem like a very narrow niche to me. Yes, the concept is cool - if you play your cards right you never have to fill up with gas, and the gas engine means you don't have to worry about charging facilities - but the operative words are "if you play your cards right." And PHEVs have all the drawbacks of EVs - spotty charging availability, decreased range in cold conditions, and higher price. Personally, I'd opt for a non plug-in Prius and use the plug-in money to upgrade the trim level. It's slower, but even the base Prius performs roughly on par with a Corolla or Civic, so it's not a dog anymore. But who buys a Prius to go fast in the first place? If I wanted to "go gas free," I'd just buy a BEV. YMMV, of course.
  • Analoggrotto Anyone seeking benchmark affluence will get the EV9 by Kia the most cutting edge electric vehicle on the market bar none.
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