Why go to the auto show?
The auto show used to be the place for live reveals and for mobility education. The events were the primary means to showcase the latest technology in cars and to teach consumers how the technology benefited them. Guests were impressed by the cars on carpets, cars on spinning stages, and cars on rising platforms surrounded by smoke, lights, and music.
Today, auto shows still serve that same purpose. They still give us an intimate view of the latest technology on four wheels. We get to learn about the technology within the cars. And we can still sit inside our dream car and take it for a test drive.
Today’s auto reveals happen around the world via digital channels using augmented and virtual reality technology with virtual test drives. I took an augmented reality ride-along recently on a Porsche. We “drove” through winding streets at fast speeds. I must admit, I got a little motion sickness as a “passenger” in the car. While the feeling of a test drive was there, the actual experience fell short. I did not get to handle the steering wheel, press the acceleration, push the break, or see how my family and friends fit in the car. I did not get the new car smell or feel the seat I was on. The illusion was just that.
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology for all it does to make our lives safer and better. I love the virtual reveals and the ads showing the vehicles and their prowess. However, nothing can replace experiencing the actual cars as I do at the auto show. I can hear the roaring engine of the gas vehicle or drive with the purr of an electric motor. Each ride is distinctive. Each car is exceptional. Each experience is unique, and so is the auto show.
I don’t consider myself a car enthusiast, but I like a good car. One that is dependable and smart. When I am in the market for a new car, I pay attention to what is on the road, what is on the news, but most importantly, what my inner circle recommends. Sure, I look at cars online, but it is not the same as sitting in it and driving it. It doesn’t have the feel of the leather against your arms or that new car smell.
One way that I used to test cars, was through rentals. Every time I traveled; I would rent a different car. By doing this, I became intimately familiar with the cars I did not like. Those that had a lag before they picked up speed. Those that had the knobs or ignition switch in the wrong place. Those that just did not feel comfortable for my height and body style. And those that didn’t have the right visibility for me as a driver.
The other way that I learned to test my next car, was the auto show. Auto shows are a one-stop experience for the smart shopper. Here are five reasons why the auto show is a “must” for me.
- No selling. No one is trying to get me to make a purchase.
- Options in all shapes, sizes, and styles. I am the type of person that thinks I “need” one type of vehicle and end up buying another. I am probably a hard one for salespeople to figure out.
- Test drives for drivability, comfort, and fit. Just like the clothes that I wear and the activities I engage in, a car has to fit my personality. These days, my car is my personal assistant. It doesn’t only take me from point A to point B, but it has to answer my calls, read my texts, take my dictations, tell me where to go and when I will get there. It also has to remind me of when I need to take care of it.
- One location with all the product knowledge. I am all about convenience. I do not like to drive from one dealership to another. I do not like to talk to salespeople. I want to know that the car meets my needs and get on with my day. The auto show allows me to see many types of vehicles, compare them, sit in them, test them, talk to product specialists about them, and then go about my business.
- Family friendly and friend approved. Let’s face it, my family’s opinions are important. No matter who the primary driver is going to be, no matter what the purpose of the vehicle is before purchase, others will experience the car with me. I want to know that my family is comfortable. I want to know that my friends can enjoy the ride. I want to know that the car fits my lifestyle.
For these reasons and more, I like the auto show. Digital reveals and augmented reality test drives are wonderful, but they will never replace actually sitting in the vehicle and taking it for an old-fashioned test drive.