Admission to the Twin Cities 2016 Auto Show is $12, but you can net more than $200 just for attending. Here’s how to make money while you’re kicking tires. Buick, Ford, GMC, Kia and Lincoln are each offering $25 to $75 for test driving a vehicle of your choice at a dealership of your choice.
To sign up go to the manufacturer’s area on the show floor at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Look for the info desk that each of the manufacturers has in its area or a rep holding a computer tablet. Say that you’d like to sign up for the test drive incentive. The rep will input some of your personal info on the tablet such as name, address, vehicle you’re interested in driving, and give you a postcard with a code.
Depending on the manufacturer, you will then get an email confirmation or be instructed to go to a website to complete the registration. You can then print out the test drive offer or send it to your smartphone to take to a dealer of your choice. You cannot meet the requirement by test driving a vehicle at the auto show. You have to go to a dealer near you.
Last year I had no problems with the test drives. The salespeople were helpful without being aggressive. No one pestered me by phone for weeks after the test drive. One sales person even asked me, “Do you really want to do the test drive or should I just sign your voucher?” I did the test drive.
The offers vary by manufacturer, but most allow you to choose a gift card that is mailed or emailed to you (your choice) for Amazon, Best Buy, Cabela’s, iTunes, Lowe’s, Target or Trader Joe’s. At least one manufacturer still offers a MasterCard or Visa pre-paid gift card. One new wrinkle this year is that some manufacturers allow you to get the gift card mailed to you (4 weeks lead time) or emailed to you within 5-7 days.
Kia is offering a $25 prepaid Visa gift card if you sign up at the website. by March 31. It’s the only manufacturer that does not require you to sign up at the Auto Show.
GMC is offering a $75 auto service voucher (oil changes, brake jobs etc.) at a GMC dealer or a $50 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lowe’s, Trader Joe’s or Starbucks.
Buick: same offer as GMC.
Chevrolet: $75 auto service coupon or $50 gift card to Amazon, Best Buy, Cabela’s, iTunes, Lowe’s or Target.
Ford and Lincoln give out a business card after signup indicating that an email should be received within 5 days of signing up at the auto show. I believe it is a $50 gift card at Ford and $75 at Lincoln, but the amount is not stated on the business card.
Last year, Cadillac offered a $50 Visa card, but no offer is available this year. However, GMC is offering an incentive this year. To my knowledge, no other auto makers at the show are offering incentives other than the ones listed, including Acura, Lexus, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, or any auto makers in Luxury Lane.
The incentive offers are available only while supplies last. It’s possible that they may be depleted by the end of the Auto Show. Check each offer for limitations. Some require the test drive to be taken within a few weeks to a few months.
The Twin Cities Auto Show continues through Sunday, March 20. Admission is $16 with the following discounts. Half-price day is Wed., March 16. Get $2 off if you bring worn clothing or household goods to Lobby B in the Convention Center. Receive one free adult ticket with the Child Seat Safety Check inspection on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Grant Street side of the Convention Center. Free admission for members of the military on Tues., March 15 and $2 off for their friends and family with them. Save $2 when buying tickets online at the website. but it cannot be applied on half-price day. On Friday March 18, employees from participating downtown businesses get a 50% discount. Ask your employer. Discounted tickets may also be available from auto dealers.