Car News:  Oversteer

What Happens to Auto Show Cars When the Auto Show Is Over?

RELATED READING
See all Ford Transit 250 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2017

Hello, Oversteerians, and welcome to this week's version of Ask Doug, which is this great feature we do each week where you Ask Doug a question, and then Doug gives you a nice, meaningful answer that you can always cherish.

If you'd like to be a part of Ask Doug, you can! Just send me an email at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, or send me a message on my Facebook page. Although I can't promise I'll use your letter here on Oversteer, I can promise I'll chuckle at it if you make a witty pun.

Anyway, today's letter comes to us from a reader, apparently located in New England, who I've named Timothy. Timothy writes:

Hi Doug,

I was recently at the New England Auto Show, and I was wondering what happens to the show cars when the manufacturers are done with them? If a car like the Jeep Wrangler or Fiat 500, which haven't changed over the last few years, get dragged around to shows all over the country over a 3- or 4-year period of time, what happens when they redesign the car and they end up with a 3- or 4-year-old car with three miles of carpeted driving on it? Does it become just a used car with 3 miles on it? One of those weird left-over "new" cars? Does it disappear into a black hole?

Thanks,

Timothy

This is an excellent question, Timothy, and you've come to the right person in order to find out the answer, largely because a) I used to distribute cars for auto-show use, back when I worked for an automaker, and b) I've been to several auto shows, including one where I stood up in the back of a Ford Transit without bumping the ceiling with my head.

First off, it's important to understand that automakers don't "recycle" cars for auto shows, even if the vehicle is completely unchanged for that model year. Each auto show contains that year's models, period. This means an auto show in 2017 won't have a 2015 model in it, even if it's absolutely, completely, entirely impossible to tell a 2015 model apart from a 2017 model without looking at the VIN.

This is an important point, because it leads me to my next one: There are no 3- or 4-year-old cars that come out of "auto-show duty" across the country. Cars that have served in auto shows are never more than a year old, since the vehicles are swapped out regularly -- and that means there isn't some glut of 3-year-old cars reaching the market with only two miles on the odometer.

But that doesn't really answer the question of What happens to the cars at the auto shows?

Although I can't speak for all automakers, here's an interesting fact: Many of the cars at regional auto shows (like your New England Auto Show or my Philadelphia Auto Show) are provided by local dealerships, while cars at larger auto shows (the Detroit Auto Show or New York Auto Show, for example) are provided by automakers.

While this isn't true for every brand and every auto show, it's true for many -- and it's largely due to the fact that there are simply too many auto shows for every automaker to handle every one. For example, the Philadelphia Auto Show runs from late January to early February, directly overlapping the Washington Auto Show for the D.C. area, the Portland (Oregon) Auto Show and the Montreal Auto Show.

As a result, there are generally two paths a former auto-show car can take. If that car was at a regional auto show, it simply goes right back to the dealership when the show is over -- and it's sold as a new car, no different from any other new car, with mere memories of its day in the sun (or, more accurately, the local convention center).

However, automaker cars take a different route. In the United States, they're typically shuttled to four shows: the Los Angeles Auto Show (in November), the Detroit Auto Show (in January), the Chicago Auto Show (in February) and the New York Auto Show (in March). That's considered the annual "auto-show season," and it coincides with the launch of new products at the end (and beginning) of the year.

Once the New York Auto Show is finished, the automaker cars follow a similar route to that of the dealership cars: They're sold to dealerships, and unsuspecting customers purchase them, typically never knowing their car was gawked at by tens of thousands of people at the most important auto shows throughout the country. By then, the car's fifteen minutes of fame are over -- and the automaker's employees are already planning which cars will be famous on next year's auto-show circuit.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
The Qvale Mangusta Is the Italian Exotic Car You've Never Heard Of
These Are the Lowest-Mileage Older Cars For Sale on Autotrader
A Used Lincoln MKS EcoBoost Is a Great Deal

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
What Happens to Auto Show Cars When the Auto Show Is Over? - Autotrader