Why the LA Auto Show is a good place to shop for your next car – Los Angeles Times
The auto show season is under way, and if you think these events are only for car superfans, think again: They’re actually perfect places to shop for your next new car.
Although you can’t purchase a vehicle at an auto show, for about the same ticket price as a movie, you’re free to compare as many models as you’d like. You can sit behind the wheel, pile in the kids to see if they all fit in the back seat, and learn about the latest safety and performance features from product specialists.
Some shows even offer test drives. The Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs through Nov. 27, expects to have almost 100 models that visitors can sign up to drive.
Here’s why it makes sense to do your comparison shopping at an auto show:
You’ll see cars from many makers under one roof
Usually, to comparison-shop cars, you have to spend your weekends running across town from one dealership to another — and you’re likely to look at only a few with your limited time and energy. At an auto show, you can check out your favorite brand’s newest models, then simply walk across the convention center floor to scope out the competitors. You may even find a car you never would have considered before.
There’s no sales pressure
Each area is staffed by auto experts — but not salespeople. They’re not interested in selling you the car there on the spot; they just want to help you learn more about their models.
“They’re product specialists … not salespeople you’d find at a normal dealership who are based on commission,” says Mike Asner, senior director of Digital and Show Marketing for the L.A. Auto Show.
These experts tend to have the cutting-edge updates from their manufacturers, so shoppers can learn about new car technology without feeling rushed or confused.
You’ll see cars that dealers don’t have yet
Auto show attendees get to see new cars before they even hit the dealerships. This is where the much-anticipated new models are debuted, so you can avoid the buyer’s remorse of getting the model currently in stock, not realizing that the next version will have features or colors you would have preferred. If you’ve done your research at the show, you’ll be ready to buy when the cars actually roll onto the lot.
How to prepare
To avoid the crowds, stick to weekdays and earlier hours. Try to give yourself several hours to explore all the cars. The average participant spends three to four hours covering the entire show, according to Asner.
If you’re truly in the market, you can work out the numbers in advance with an auto loan calculator to see how much car you can afford — before you get swept off your feet by the next big thing.
Nicole Arata is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website.