Rebecca Bernard
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6 Tips for a Successful Auto Show Visit

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successful auto show visit

The 2015 Ford Edge at the Chicago Auto Show

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… auto show time! Perfect for shoppers who want to see all the car world has to offer, or for auto enthusiasts to see the latest models with their own eyes without the strings attached to a dealership visit. Before you head out to the convention center, take a look at these tips to make sure that your auto show experience is as productive as possible!

  1. Plan ahead—Many auto shows have maps available online before the event, so you can look and see where the brands you want to visit are located. This is also a great way to make sure your favorite brand will actually be in attendance.
  2. Dress for the car you want—I’m not saying you have to wear an Oscar gown if you want to buy a luxury car, but brand representatives are more likely to pay attention to you if you look like one of their potential customers. If you’re a woman and planning to attend, check out these tips from SheBuysCars for some ideas.
  3. Have a budget in mind—Feel free to look at your favorite high-end luxury cars while at the show (this year at the Cincinnati Auto Expo, I couldn’t resist the Jaguar F-Type and its amazing leather interior), but know what you can reasonably afford before you fall in love with a car thousands of dollars outside your price range.
  4. Be ready to be there for the long haul—I’ll admit, attending an auto show is exhausting. You’re on your feet for long periods of time, talking to brand representatives, listening to presentations, and climbing in and out of cars. I ate a good meal before I went and also packed some nuts and snacks. Some auto shows do not allow outside food, so be prepared to spend a few dollars on concessions. You don’t want to miss out because you have to leave early.
  5. Ask questions—If you have requirements for your next vehicle purchase, such as a specific towing or passenger capacity, know that information heading into the show. Talking with brand representatives can really help you choose the right vehicles to focus on. After talking to a representative from Hyundai about the technology I would want in a new car, she steered me from the Hyundai Accent I was admiring to the Hyundai Elantra, which is still really reasonably priced but has more standard options that I want.
  6. Have fun!—Auto shows really are a great starting point for any car search. These are opportunities for you to see all of the new car options available to you without the pressure of visiting a dealership. The manufacturer representatives are there to inform you about each vehicle so that you choose them over the competition, and for the most part are not commissioned sales people. Take a look around and figure out which cars are best suited to you and your automotive needs. Test them to make sure that you could sit in them for long road trips, that the back seat has enough legroom, and that the trunk could take on one of your shopping days. Once you have a few favorites, then you can visit a dealership after the show for a test drive to make your final choice. Remember, successful auto show visits are about having fun; dealership visits are all business.

Are you headed out to an auto show this year? What are you most excited about seeing in person?