An auto show’s lingering impact

This Bentley Continental GT at last month’s Frankfurt auto show could still be influencing buyers next September.

An auto show’s glitz lingers in lucrative form for car dealers for many months afterward.

That’s the conclusion of a study by Foresight Research, which surveyed 621 new-vehicle buyers in the top 25 markets who attended an auto show and were influenced by that show to purchase a car. Foresight’s study, done in May and June, measured the elapsed time from the auto show to the date of purchase. It calculated in the purchase influence to see if the power of auto shows declines after three months, as many have assumed, said Steve Bruyn, CEO of the suburban Detroit company.

It does not, he said. While about a quarter of the respondents said the auto show they attended “highly influenced” their vehicle purchase in the first three months after going to the show, that rate held steady throughout the year, with the auto show proving just as influential on purchases 12 months later as it was the month of the show. In fact, he said, much of the “power of the auto show” on purchases happens more than three months after the show closes.

“We have been measuring auto shows for about 10 years and measure 55 markets each year — about 15,000 respondents — with very detailed questionnaires,” said Bruyn. “We find that auto shows are far more powerful than believed by most people in the industry.”