car shows

Photo by Goldpanda94 on Flickr, hosted under CC BY-ND 2.0

Top 10 Car Shows Around the World

Along with providing a great means for people to enjoy the beauty and innovation of old and new vehicles, car shows are a good place for people to choose which vehicles they will buy next. No motor show can bring car enthusiasts together better or make their hearts race faster—than the biggest 10 around the world. Learn more about these events here:

1. Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung

International Motor Show 2007 in Frankfurt, Germany. Image courtesy of Der Wolf im Wald on Wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

International Motor Show 2007 in Frankfurt, Germany. Image courtesy of Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de on Wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Previously called the International Motor Show Germany or simply known as the International Motor Show, the IAA is the biggest vehicle trade fair in the world based on the number of passenger and commercial vehicles exhibited. The car show features passenger cars on odd years and is held in Frankfurt am Main. Commercial vehicles are featured on even years in Hanover. Both of these auto shows are usually held toward the end of September, but the types of vehicles on exhibition were separated in the 1990s because of the increasing number of exhibitors and visitors. During the car shows, enthusiasts can get a look at both production and concept cars.

2. Tokyo Motor Show

Photo by ChibaRagi on Wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Photo by ChibaRagi on Wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Some of the largest automakers in the world are located in Japan, including Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, so it’s fitting that Tokyo is the host of this motor show. The event is held at the Tokyo Big Sight every other year in late October to early November. It’s known for exhibiting a high volume of concept vehicles, but traditional production cars are shown off as well. There can be anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 cars, commercial vehicles and motorcycles. Visitors who want to be some of the first to see these vehicles can buy tickets for Preview Day.

3. Paris Mondial de L’Automobile

Image courtesy of Thesupermat on Wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Image courtesy of Thesupermat on Wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Referred to as simply the Paris Auto Show, this event is held at the Paris expo Porte de Versailles, which is sometimes called the Paris Expo hall. It was initially called the Salon International de l’Automobile and Cycle. The biennial show occurs during October on even-numbered years, and it’s a great exhibition event for auto enthusiasts whether they’re interested in production or concept cars. What makes this car show so special is that it was the first in the world having been launched by Albert de Dion in 1898, and it hasn’t lost it charm over the decades: It’s easy for visitors to spend hours looking at the vehicles on display.

4. International Geneva Motor Show

Image courtesy of R20k on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Image courtesy of R20k on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

This event is sometimes just referred to as the Geneva Motor Show. As its name suggests, the exhibition is held in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Geneva Palexpo Convention Center beside the Geneva Cointrin International Airport, which makes it easy for many foreign visitors to find and access. The annual event takes place every March. The first time that it was held was in 1905, and since then, nearly every major internal combustion model has been exhibited. Many benzene- and steam-powered vehicles have been displayed as well, along with exotic supercars. The International Geneva Motor Show is also known for hosting political and social debates.

5. North American International Auto Show

Image courtesy of F. D. Richards on Flickr, hosted under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Image courtesy of F. D. Richards on Flickr, hosted under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Also called the Detroit Auto Show, this is the premier exhibition of vehicles in North America. Held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan, the event usually occurs in mid-January every year and lasts for about a week. Three of the days are reserved for charities, the industry and the media, and the rest are open to the public. With about 1 million square feet of space, the more than 100-year-old show features production and concept cars. This is important for the Metro Detroit area, which is the headquarters for the three major American carmakers: Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. Awards are also given during the NAIAS, including those for Car and Truck of the Year and EyesOn Design.

6. Chicago Auto Show

As the name suggests, the Chicago Auto Show is held in the Windy City at the McCormick Place complex. Car enthusiasts can expect it to be scheduled for February every year. Despite the significance of the NAIAS, the Chicago Auto Show has had more exhibitions than any other motor show in North America. With more than 1 million square feet of space, 1 million visitors and 1,000 vehicles each year, it’s also one of the world’s best-attended auto events. Since it has so much space, some of the exhibitors have featured free concerts and test tracks that allowed visitors to ride along on test drives.

7. Beijing International Automotive Exhibition

BAIC BJ100 concept. Image courtesy of El monty on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 4.0.

BAIC BJ100 concept. Image courtesy of El monty on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Since 1990, this motor show is held in the Chinese capital on even-numbered years. Otherwise called Auto China, the exhibition has becoming increasingly prominent along with the expansion of the Chinese domestic vehicle market. In fact, China is the biggest and fastest-growing market in the worldwide automotive industry. This has made the show a key event for major car brands such as Audi, Bentley, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. These brands, and others, show off both production and concept cars.

8. Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition

Image courtesy of Ridking on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Image courtesy of Ridking on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Shortened to Auto Shanghai, this exhibition alternates with Auto China, so it’s held on odd-numbered years in Shanghai, which is the most-populous city in the country. The show was launched for the first time in 1985, making it the oldest motor show in China. Like Auto China, Auto Shanghai is considered an important event for the automotive industry. Many foreign production and concept vehicles from major brands are on display, the most prominent ones being Audi, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet and Volvo.

9. Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Image courtesy of Rex Gray on Flickr, hosted under CC BY 2.0.

Image courtesy of Rex Gray on Flickr, hosted under CC BY 2.0.

This car show is held in Pebble Beach, California, on the Pebble Beach Golf Links every year in August, and is the finale for Monterey Car Week. “Concours d’Elegance” literally means “a competition of elegance” in French, so this show is more of a competition between prewar and postwar cars. The vehicles are judged based on their authenticity, function, history, and style. Guests can experience the elegant presence of about 200 of the most-prized cars in the world, which roll onto the 18th fairway of the golf course. Visitors can even buy tickets for guided tours. In addition to the competition, however, anticipated production and concept vehicles are also on display. Concours d’Elegance is often visited by celebrities and some of the richest people on the planet, who are most likely looking for their next vehicle.

10. Woodward Dream Cruise

Image courtesy of Stephen K. Donnelly on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Image courtesy of Stephen K. Donnelly on wikipedia.org, hosted under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Held along Woodward Avenue in Metropolitan Detroit, the Woodward Dream Cruise spreads from Pontiac, Michigan, to the State Fairgrounds in Detroit. It’s always scheduled for the third Saturday in August. Hosting about 40,000 cars, people show off their convertibles, hardtops, hot rods, and muscle cars from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and other far corners of the world. The cruise originated in 1848, when carriage drivers used the road for racing. The WDC turned this tradition into the biggest single-day motor event in the world.

From the oldest car show in the world to the show with the most exhibitions in North America, there are many events during which car enthusiasts can connect with each other over what they love.

Have you attended any auto shows?

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