However, the event has grown into a Martin Luther King holiday weekend tradition and has become more popular than ever.
The automotive industry as a whole is coming off a strong 2013, its best sales year since 2007, with sales increased by 8 percent over 2012 to a total of 15.6 million vehicles. That success has had a positive effect on the Boston show, as marketing budgets are strong.
“This year’s show shapes up as one of the best in its 57-year history, ” says Barbara Pudney, vice-president of the Paragon Group, which produces the show.
During the industry’s recent down years, some manufacturers skipped parts of the auto show circuit. No longer.
“Everyone’s here this year, ” says Pudney. “That’s 34 car lines.”
The new dates also have proven to be an effective lead-in to next month’s Presidents Day weekend industry promotions, which traditionally kick off local auto dealers’ spring selling season.
“Our surveys show that a third of the people who attend the show plan to make a new car purchase within the next three months, ” says Pudney. “The show is a great opportunity for them to compare brands, check out features, and perhaps narrow their search to take advantage of the coming deals.”
Manufacturers have taken notice of that trend and started to offer short “Ride & Drives” in some of their best-selling models, giving show-goers the opportunity not only to see the cars, but also to drive them.
The driving loop goes around the huge convention center building, and the rides are available during daylight hours. Participating brands include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Kia, Scion, and Toyota.
While most of the month’s world automotive premieres will be in Detroit, Boston will have a full complement of cars now on the market and a sneak preview of the coming Mini hardtop, Kia K900 sedan, and Toyota Highlander hybrid.
If one-third of attendees are serious shoppers, what about the rest?
“Another third are the gearheads, ” says Pudney. “They want to see the new cars in person, and they’re also interested in the latest in technology, the high-end models, and the exotic cars.”
For a lot of them, one of the big attractions is the Million Dollar Mile with Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, Lotus, and Aston Martin. A Rolls-Royce Wraith with what is described as “awesome optional features” will be at the Boston show.
Porsche will be displaying its new Macan compact “sports car” SUV, a vehicle that made a Hollywood entrance in the fall when it was introduced by tennis star (and Porsche 911 driver) Maria Sharapova in Los Angeles. It’s based on Audi’s SQ5 compact SUV platform.
For those interested in supercars, McLaren will have both a coupe and roadster on display among the exotics.
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the
computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with
technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00
cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."
In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release
stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be
driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a