10 of the World’s Biggest and Best Auto Shows

Source: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images
Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

If there’s one thing that can bring people from all around the world together, it’s a love of cars. Auto shows are traditionally the biggest events in the automotive industry, and they attract millions from all over the globe every year. Not only do auto makers use car shows as a platform to promote their latest products, but also to test out ideas and concept vehicles in order to get a gauge on consumer enthusiasm. Essentially, the biggest car shows in the world act as a press conference of sorts.

Of course, there are other, more organic car shows that happen around the world. Events like the Woodward Dream Cruise have their roots deep in the past, and have evolved to include tens of thousands of vehicles, and attract millions of spectators. Car companies and industry insiders get a chance to rub shoulders with their customers directly at these sorts of events, and often can develop new ideas based on the feedback they receive.

While there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of car shows held every year around the world, some are massive and some only attract a couple hundred of spectators. But they all have value, and provide a chance for people to check out their favorite models or explore new concepts. Here, we’re going to take a look at the world’s biggest and best.

However, trying to determine which shows are the biggest is a challenging feat, as there is often no reliable data on the number of attendees, or the number of vehicles present. Therefore, we hand-selected ten of the most famed auto shows from around the world to highlight.

Read on to see ten of the world’s biggest and most important auto shows.

Source: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images
Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

10. Tokyo Motor Show

Japan, where several of the world’s largest auto makers call home, holds the Tokyo Motor Show in which producers get the world’s stage to show off concepts, ideas, and the next stage of engineering and design. Tokyo, as one of the biggest cities in the entire world, has plenty of car enthusiasts and media to get the word out. The show is held on a biennial basis, and brings out car buffs from around the world. The Tokyo Motor Show is known for its high concentration of concept vehicles over traditional production models, making for some pretty interesting entries.

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

9. North American International Auto Show

Held annually in the heart of the American automotive capital of Detroit, Michigan, the North American International Auto Show is the traditional platform for many of the United States’ auto makers to show off their stuff. The show also plays host to awards ceremonies for North American car and truck of the year, giving it even more clout on the international stage. This show is where many consumers get their first look at what’s in store for companies like General Motors and Ford, as well as several others.

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

8. Chicago Auto Show

The Windy City — home to several NBA championships, da Bears, and of course, the Chicago Auto Show. Chicago has actually been able to overtake Detroit’s show in terms of scope and attendance, but industry insiders and automotive analysts still typically prefer the trip to Detroit. The Chicago Auto Show brings in more than 1,000 vehicles every year for consumers to gawk at, and is held at the McCormack Place convention complex next to Lake Michigan. This show has the honor of being the largest auto show in North America.

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

7. Goodwood Festival of Speed

The storied Goodwood Festival of Speed, which sounds more like some sort of Renaissance festival, is held every year in West Sussex, England. Held during the summer months in June or July, the Goodwood Festival regularly attracts crowds of more than 100,000 on each of the three days on which it is held. The festival itself is held on the grounds of the Goodwood estate, a location with very important ties to British automotive history, and features several events and attractions.

Source: AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

6. Pebble Beach Car Week

Several events take place in California’s Pebble Beach area over the summer, including auctions, cocktail hours, and of course, judging vehicles. The famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a part of the annual Monterey Car Week festivities, and often includes several celebrities and some of the world’s richest individuals as its attendees. Cars are often auctioned off for millions of dollars over the course of the week, and many of the world’s rarest models are on display as well.

Source: AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

5. Paris Motor Show

Nothing quite melds with the wine, art, and overall elegance of Paris like expert auto design and engineering. That’s exactly what attendees are in for when they visit the Paris Motor Show. This was the first auto show in the world, and has become a major event in which the world’s car designers show off their latest concept models. The first Paris Motor Show was put on way back in 1898, and is held every other year, with the next event being held this fall.

Source: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

4. International Geneva Motor Show

The city of Geneva has been a meeting place for the world for several reasons, and these days, the International Geneva Motor Show is chief among them. Every March, the city’s Palexpo convention complex becomes home to hundreds of thousands of automotive buffs and industry officials, all vying for a chance to see the latest and greatest the world’s car makers have to offer. The International Geneva Motor Show has become one of the most vital industry events of the year, and often plays host to the debuts of many new production and concept models.

Source: AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

3. Auto Shanghai

China is quickly becoming addicted to cars, and that is what makes it such a vital target for the automotive industry at large. Also, the country is home to a huge number of people — and potential customers. Auto Shanghai is held every two years, and saw its birth during the 1980s. The show has become a strong staging event for North American and European car companies to show off their latest creations to the Asian market, and is sure to only grow in importance every time it is held.

Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

2. Woodward Dream Cruise

The famed Woodward Dream Cruise is a car lover’s paradise. More than 30,000 muscle cars, hot rods, and more converge on Woodward Avenue in suburban Detroit, bringing with them spectators that number in the hundreds of thousands — if not millions. The Cruise has its origins all the way back in 1848 when carriage drivers would race along the roadway. Since then, the road was used for street racing, and now hosts the annual Dream Cruise on the third Saturday of August. It’s the world’s largest single-day automotive event.

Source: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

1. Frankfurt Motor Show

The king of auto shows is undeniably the Frankfurt Motor Show. Held annually, the show’s actual name is Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, and has been split into two since 1991 — commercial vehicles are shown in Hanover, Germany on even numbered years, and on odd numbered years, passenger vehicles are put on display in Frankfurt. Like other major world car shows, Frankfurt has its origins way back in the late 1800s. Since then, it has grown to become the biggest and best car show on the planet.