Auto Shows and their importance in our digital age
Many consumers, whether a car enthusiast or just a car buyer, have attended an automotive show to see the latest and greatest in beautiful vehicles and groundbreaking technology.
It may be due to trying to decide on our next vehicle purchase, and for some it may be a hobby and tradition to see the latest vehicles first and to see the future and dream through the concepts. No matter what the reason may be, auto shows are still an increasingly popular event within large metropolitan regions. These events are generally held by the regional dealer associations to create buzz and exposure for their new products with a great deal of help from the automotive manufacturers as well. Being that we are now in this great digital age where we can price vehicles online, see the latest photos of these vehicles on line when they are released to the press and for some automakers, vehicles can now even be purchased online. So with all of this at our fingertips, why are auto shows still strong in popularity and often break attendance records yearly? The reason to this question is just as interesting and often has to do with the type of consumer and spectator that we are, Psychology.
For the average consumers, the family needing a crossover or minivan or the commuter needing an economical vehicle that is comfortable, the auto show is a time to gain information and often make purchasing decisions. With all of the current vehicle manufacturers at hand, consumers can travel within one or two buildings out of the elements and view all competing vehicles and compare without having to drive and spend a lot of time driving between different dealers. The vehicles are at hand so that they can be climbed through, looked around entirely and even identify how it can work for you. So in this digital age, images inside and out can be found online as can the specifications and price, but visually and physically seeing and feeling the vehicle makes a large influence on finalizing. The psychology on the hands on information session with the vehicle there is one thing that digitally cannot be done yet.
Another group that often enjoy auto shows are children and auto shows often cater to this quite well to keep them busy while their parents look for their next vehicle. Growing up, my father took me to every Toronto Auto Show since I was two months old and this probably had quite the influence on my love for cars and where I am now in the industry. February in the Greater Toronto Area was always an exciting time as we would be going to the auto show to check out the coolest sports cars, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and for me the big deal growing up was the Dodge Stealth R/T. The auto show was somewhere I could also look at the new concept cars and dream about the future to come. Activities and play areas are always integrated as well to gain the attention and help us have fun. The auto show can also turn these children into car enthusiasts as it did for me, fueling a life-long passion, interest and career.
For car enthusiasts, the auto show is like Christmas and the most important time of the year. It’s the time where we can go and view the latest cards that we read about being released and also learn about the future to come. In this digital age, the automobile is experiencing a large change in propulsion and user experience as well. This may be great to some consumers but to some enthusiasts, this also is quite scary. The auto show is not just an information session for an enthusiast nor a time always to make a buying decision. The auto show is often a yearly tradition that can be had with friends or family. This past weekend I had attended the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and enjoyed the show with about 28 other friends and car enthusiasts. This social aspect is also a great part of the auto show as it is a place for people and friends with the same interests to go and walk the show, sit in vehicles and have a great time and some laughs even at the cars we think may have not gone so right. This is a huge aspect that in the digital age could not be completed as well, the social aspect cannot be performed from behind a computer screen.
The last group that also benefits from the auto shows are industry professionals. Your local salesperson would most likely attend the auto show to learn about the newest products coming and to gain information to pass along to the consumer. Other professionals in the industry often attend as well to keep up with this fast-paced market and ever-growing technological advances have a huge influence. Working in the industry, we need the hands on experience to experience these new advances first and learn what is on our doorstep to help gauge interest for the future and serve the consumer better by answering, “What’s Next?”
While many sites and blogs provide most of the information and images that consumers, industry and enthusiasts need, they lack the most important aspects. The psychology behind the auto show is the hands-on experience, the ability to see everything in person right before your eyes. Look, feel and touch cannot be experienced from behind a computer screen, at least at this point in time. Socializing is also another big reason as to why these events will not disappear. They provide a place for like-minded enthusiasts and industry to gather. While a computer may influence your opinion on a vehicle and help gain your interest, the hands-on experience of the entire vehicle in person is even more important. This year I look forward to attending my 27th year at the Toronto Auto Show and it was my 13th year in Detroit. The events have both become tradition and I continue to share them with my friends and encourage others to have fun and do the same and get out there.
Written by David Murphy