Auto Shows Influence Auto Sales, National Study Confirms Expectations
Posted on Oct 1st 2011 1:18 PM
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It's pretty much a given that Floridians love their cars. Year after year, vehicle registration data show that the Sunshine State follows only California and Texas in sales of new cars. America's economic woes haven't changed that ranking, according to the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association. Also, South Florida dealers typically chalk up about one-fourth of all new vehicle sales dollars across the state.
Why do Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach counties account for such a large dollar-share of statewide sales? Deliveries of exotic cars, many at six-figures each, add to the value of vehicles bought by families, students, singles, businesses and other buyers. Some of the industry's fastest, flashiest fantasy machines are in local showrooms and on local streets.
It doesn't hurt that South Florida is home to one of America's five largest auto shows. Does a major auto show influence lookers to become buyers? A just-released national study says yes. It looked at 19 metro markets and 7,459 buyers who bought new vehicles from October 2009 to September 2010. The study by Foresight Research of Rochester, Michigan covered 29 auto brands that represent 95 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S.
Among Miami/Ft. Lauderdale buyers who attended an auto show in the 12 months before purchase, 58 percent reported strong auto show influence in their decision. That's more influence than word-of-mouth, the Internet, a brochure, consumer media and other communications. However, the strongest influence on a buyer is still prior experience with a brand.
Miami/Fort Lauderdale ranked in the middle of the 19 markets based on the number of people who attended an auto show before buying. But the local show's influence on purchases was ranked much higher -- second among all 19 markets. Only the Detroit show surpassed the South Florida show's influence on a buyer's purchase. The three remaining cities with Top-5 auto shows followed: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
"We know that most new buyers go to the shows for entertainment," said Richard Baker, auto show manager, "but 57 percent were looking to buy. That's a strong incentive for automakers to exhibit every model possible at our show."
The 41st annual South Florida International Auto Show opens its 10-day run at the Miami Beach Convention Center on October 28.
In the 19 markets studied, attendees in Miami, Phoenix and Detroit had the shortest one-way travel time: about 40 minutes. The average of all cities was over one hour.
Among all 7,459 buyers in the study, 23 percent attended an auto show last year, 42 percent said it influenced their purchase and 60 percent said they made up their minds at the show. Over 75 percent of recent buyers were influenced by the ability to see and sit in the vehicle. Another big influence was Ride & Drive.
"Today's economy has fueled a strong interest in smaller, more efficient cars," added Baker, "and the show this year will be loaded with the latest hybrids, electrics, diesels and conventional vehicles that squeeze more value and performance out of a tank full."