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The 10 Best Auto Shows around the World

What's in this article?
  1. What Was Japan’s 1St International Auto Show?
  2. When Did The La Auto Show Premiere?
  3. Where’s The North American International Auto Show?
  4. What’s The Woodward Dream Cruise?
  5. What Are The Geneva International Motor Show’s Origins?
  6. What’s Paris Motor Show’s Historic Significance?
  7. How Long Has The Chicago Auto Show Been Around?
  8. How Many Visitors Does Auto Shanghai Draw?
  9. What Does Pebble Beach “Concours D’elegance” Mean?
  10. How Did The Frankfurt Motor Show Earn Its Name?
  11. What’s Your Favorite Auto Show?
The 10 Best Auto Shows around the World

Auto shows are the ultimate advertising platform for car manufacturers. These events are filled with media coverage and consumers taking in all the latest and greatest that the auto industry has to offer. A certain percentage of auto shows may display classics and future concept cars alongside their current market lineup.

Compare visiting an auto show to swinging by your local dealership, and there’s no competition. Drivers shopping for a car can use one of the major auto shows on our list to spot just about every new vehicle on the market while (depending on the event) checking out cool concept or vintage models along the way.

Even if you aren’t near one of our auto show picks, our list may inspire you to visit an auto show event that’s closer to your location.


10. What Was Japan’s 1st International Auto Show?

The first all-Japan motor show event was held in April 1954 at Hibiya Park in Tokyo. Two hundred sixty-seven vehicles were displayed at the first Tokyo International Auto Show, with 17 cars of this total number being passenger cars. Most of the 267 vehicles at the 1954 Tokyo International Auto Show were trucks and motorcycles. This 267-vehicle showcase was enough to attract over half a million visitors.

Jump forward to present time, and the Tokyo Motor Show still makes an impact with its biennial scheduling.

The Tokyo Motor Show features:

  • A combination of domestic and international brands
  • Concept cars
  • Demonstrations
  • Hands-on events
  • Passenger vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Parts, tools, tires

Passenger vehicles make up most of the Tokyo Motor Show’s cars. This auto event’s commercial vehicles section features leading makers of buses, vans, and trucks. Like the passenger vehicle lineup, you can jump inside many of the Tokyo Motor Show’s commercial vehicles and even view some concept models.


Feel free to hop on Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki motorcycles if you’re able to visit the Tokyo Motor Show. Many of these motorcycle manufacturers showcase their entire model lineup at the Tokyo Motor Show in addition to eye-catching racing models.

9. When Did the LA Auto Show Premiere?

Founded in 1907—the Los Angeles Auto Show® quickly distinguished itself as a noteworthy event not solely for the city’s citizens but for the entire country. The goal of this show was and continues to be to showcase the future of mobility. It makes sense that Los Angeles would play host to a show like this, given that there was one automobile for every 80 people back in 1907.

Ninety-nine cars were displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show’s 1907 launch, with more than 3,000 visitors to spectate. This 1907 event was the west coast’s first auto show and the largest event west of Chicago. The Los Angeles Auto Show still draws large crowds 100 years later, with significant progress in the last 25 years. A 1993 expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center gave the show enough space to fulfill the needs of manufacturers, the press, and consumers.

Several thousand journalists from across the world travel to the Los Angeles Auto Show to indulge in new cars and concepts. The Los Angeles Auto Show captivates its visitors with information delivery through cutting-edge technologies that make learning entertaining and informative. A prime example of the Los Angeles Auto Show’s ability to showcase the latest and greatest of everything automotive is Fisker’s reveal of their new SUV—the Fisker Ocean. Now, Tesla has some serious competition thanks to the Fisker Ocean’s status as the most sustainable vehicle ever made.

8. Where’s the North American International Auto Show?

Rewind to the dawn of the automobile age in 1899, and you’ll find two electric and two steam-powered cars that were exhibited in Detroit at a show that also included sporting goods, fishing gear, and big game trophies. 1907 led to the newly created Detroit Automobile Dealers Association holding a show under their name at a Detroit beer garden near the Belle Isle Bridge. Growing attendees led to the Detroit Automobile Dealers Association show changing locations over the years until it found its permanent location in 1965 at Cabo Hall. Thanks to decades of success, this show would earn its North American International Auto Show name in 1989.


The North American International Auto Show operates during a nine-day run and draws just shy of 1 million visitors. Detroit’s Cobo Center has expanded so the North American International Auto Show can showcase over 700 vehicles from around the globe. It takes around ten weeks to assemble this show’s multi-level displays and thousands of yards of carpet. In past years, significant North American International Auto Show moments include Ford reviving the GT 40 concept, an all-electric plug-in Chevy Volt in 2007, and two Jeeps driving through glass during their showcases in 1992 and 2006.

7. What’s the Woodward Dream Cruise?

Michigan’s Woodward Dream Cruise was created as a fundraiser to generate money for a local soccer field. Organizers presented the first Woodward Dream Cruise show in the Summer of 1995 to recreate classic 1950s and 1960s automotive culture. This event proved an instant hit, with 250,000 people visiting the inaugural event. The Woodward Dream Cruise is now the world’s largest one-day car event with its 1.5 million average yearly visitors and 40,000 classic cars.

You can preface the Woodward Avenue cruise by viewing these models up close weeks ahead of the official event. Cars participating in the Woodward Dream Cruise come from around the world, while ‘oldies’ concerts, family events, and food help set the mood.

The Woodward Dream Cruise understandably attracts significant local and national attention. Car manufacturers have used this press to their advantage by unofficially debuting some of their new models.

Impressive cars from the 2021 Woodward Dream Cruise include:

  • Nissan R-34 Skyline GT-R
  • 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
  • 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
  • Ford GT Test Mule

If you’re a classic car fan, you won’t find an auto event more grand than the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit.

6. What are the Geneva International Motor Show’s Origins?

Switzerland’s first motor show took place in 1905 in Geneva. This 1905 event included 37 stands that attracted over 17,000 attendees. 1924 led to the premiere of the Geneva International Auto show’s 200 exhibits that drew just shy of 70,000 visitors. The following years would lead to the show growing its audience and exhibitors to garner global recognition. Geneva’s International Motor Show held crowds of over 200,000 people by 1948 and over half a million by 1967.


An expanding audience prompted Geneva to open its new Exhibition and Congress Centre in December 1981. The Exhibition and Congress Centre held massive appeal with its modern design that drew over 745 thousand people in 1982 over two events.

Wind back the Geneva Motor Show’s clock a few years, and you’ll find some of the coolest concept cars and modern vehicles. The 2018 Geneva Motor Show featured Jaguar showcasing their I-PACE—an all-electric SUV that performs like a sports car. More esoteric 2018 Geneva Motor Show exhibits included the reveal of the Icona Nucleus, an autonomous electric concept vehicle with a cabin that mirrors the stylings of a futuristic living room.

5. What’s Paris Motor Show’s Historic Significance?

Many auto historians see the Paris Motor Show as the first complete world auto showcase. The seed for the Paris Motor Show was planted in 1898 with an outdoor exhibition covered by a makeshift roof. The first decade of the 1900s led to the Paris Motor Show featuring significant innovations like the 1902 electric resistance ignition and a transmission that used a cardan instead of a chain.

While WWI and WWII stalled auto makers’ production efforts, plenty of innovation was displayed at the Paris Motor Show in between and after these two wars. Pre-World War II Paris Motor Show highlights include independent front wheels, front traction, and plenty of new models.

The Paris Motor Show pivoted from presentation to entertainment in 1952 and raised its audience to 1 million people. Noteworthy moments during previous Paris Motor Show years include the debut of the highly influential Jaguar E in 1961, Lamborghini Miura showcases in 1966, and the BMW e25 reveal in 1972.

4. How Long Has the Chicago Auto Show Been Around?

Chicago’s first auto show took place in 1901 and now stands as the largest auto show in North America. 2021 marked the 115th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. Let’s see what led up to this impressive milestone.


Organizers were forced to move the Chicago Auto Show to locations like the International Amphitheatre and McCormick Place to fulfill the event’s sizable industry and consumer draw. The Chicago Auto Show promoted design and performance upgrades in 1930s vehicles while establishing an exceptional backdrop filled with decorations and high-end lighting.

Swing by the Chicago Auto Show in 1941, and you might’ve seen two county Sheriffs showing off their new 1941 Plymouth squad car before World War II stopped this event in its tracks. Similar to other auto happenings on our list, the Chicago Auto Show made a strong post-World War II comeback before experiencing other challenges like a fire that burned down this show’s stomping grounds—McCormick Place exhibition hall. This facility was rebuilt and returned to hosting the Chicago Auto Show in 1971.

Not everything in the world’s best auto shows is great. 1991 Chicago Auto Visitors saw the Yugo—a model that many consider one of the worst vehicles ever made.

To be fair, most of the Chicago Auto Show’s exhibitions are noteworthy. 2021’s Chicago Auto Show included the return of the Ford Bronco, the drop-dead gorgeous 2021 CAS Lamborghini Aventador, and the redesigned Lincoln Navigator.

3. How Many Visitors Does AUTO Shanghai Draw?

AUTO Shanghai is one of the biggest automotive trade fairs on the planet, with an average of 1 million biennial visitors. This event’s off years leave room for the Beijing Auto Show to shine. Attendees of AUTO Shanghai get to experience an automotive presentation that combines history, original vehicles, cutting-edge technology, and much more.

One highlight of the 2021 AUTO Shanghai show was the showcasing of the Audi A6 E-Tron concept. This Audi sedan boasts an all-new vehicle architecture that Audi refers to as “Premium Platform Electric”—a platform that will find its way into a minimum of three future Audi’s. You’ll find practical features like Quattro all-wheel drive in the A6 E-Tron concept that complements engineering innovations like air suspension fitted to the car’s chassis.

2. What Does Pebble Beach “Concours d’Elegance” Mean?

Concours d’Elegance translates to “a completion of elegance.” This phrase couldn’t be truer for this yearly charitable event at Pebble Beach. A visit to Pebble Beach for Concours d’Elegance is well worth your time with its vast collection of high-performing vintage vehicles. The event’s lineup competes for the coveted ‘Best of Show’ price based on history, authenticity, style, and function.


This automotive event was established in 1950 but hit its stride in 2001 when a car preservation category was added. Jump ahead to 2006, and Concours d’Elegance was attracting major attention with its 25 judge classes and 175 cars from 13 countries and 27 states. Average total vehicle costs for Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance easily cross the $200 million mark. Spectators can watch these cars go for a spin with the 17-mile Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance drive that culminates in each vehicle receiving a snazzy snapshot with a scenic back view.

1. How Did the Frankfurt Motor Show Earn Its Name?

While the Frankfurt Motor Show has recently closed its doors, we can still give a nod to its rich history. Passenger vehicles were shown every other year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with commercial vehicles headlining during the alternate years. The Frankfurt Motor Show never officially held this name—it just showcased in Frankfurt for decades.

1897 marks the year of this event’s first show that featured eight cars. After years of development, the Frankfurt Auto show found a long-term home in 1951 and drew 1 million visitors to its large 12 halls. Japanese manufacturers participated in the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1965 and received more recognition from Europeans as a result.


The reason we’re choosing the Frankfurt Auto Show for our number one pick is the fact that many of the automotive industry’s most legendary cars made their debut at this event. The Porsche 911, Jaguar XK120, Ford Mustang, Jeep Cherokee, and countless other classics scheduled their release within the Frankfurt Auto Show and made significant mark splashes as a result of this planning.

What’s Your Favorite Auto Show?

Do you have a favorite auto show that’s not on our list? Comment your favorite auto shows on our social media feeds so we can hear your picks.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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