As the auto show season is wrapping up, we thought it’s a good time to look at these shows and point out how they impact local dealerships.
Modern Dealership’s local event is the KC Auto Show, which took place in early March. Similar to others around the country, most all well-known OEMs were represented at the Kansas City Convention Center, showing off their latest models. The event was also punctuated by live music (Blue Oyster Cult appeared), classic cars on display, food trucks and areas for kids.
Ryan Schwank, a Toyota product training specialist, was one of the representatives at the auto manufacturer’s booth fielding customers’ questions about particular vehicles.
Though Toyota doesn’t have salespeople from local dealerships participate in auto shows, he said that they still benefit.
“We support them all,” Schwank said of the dealerships, explaining that when a customer approaches the booth wanting to know where they can buy a particular vehicle, locations near their home zip codes are supplied.
And he said the show has similarities to a car dealership: “How many people come with the idea of just looking? It was reported to me that more than half of the customers who come to these shows are in the market within six months.”
Plus, Toyota and other OEMs offered test drives of their new models, which were parked outside of the convention center, possibly further whetting the appetite of a potential buyer.
Historically, there is an increase in area dealership car sales in the six to eight weeks following the show, said Larry Carl, CEO of the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Kansas City and producer of the KC Auto Show.
“There is a bump in traffic and sales,” he said. “The auto show is part of the yearly sales cycle.”
The plus for consumers is that they have all of the OEMs in one place. Instead of having to go from dealership to dealership to try tp experience a vehicle, they can just walk from booth to booth and see the latest models. But consumers must go to a dealership to buy one they like.
“People still need to see if they can fit in the car,” Carl said of the hands-on experience.
Even though some OEMs don’t have local salespeople at shows for operational reasons, consumers often like it when they can speak to someone with local dealership knowledge.
“The local sales guy is more zeroed in and can be more one to one,” Carl stressed, pointing out that they can quote the actual price of what the vehicle would cost to acquire in their area.
What is your experience with auto shows? Do you think they translate into local dealership vehicle sales?
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