10 Most Popular International Car Shows

London Motor ShowMany car enthusiasts like me would love to follow the most popular world car shows to see and experience the latest in the auto world. International car shows are some of the biggest world events on the global calendar with huge economic impact. 

Throughout the year around the world, there are popular car shows that many people would love to know more about. For some, it’s for information purposes yet for others it’s detailed information for the buying decisions they require. Most people can follow these events online or other such great platforms. However, the experience of physically attending these auto shows is way different. 

The popular international car shows may to some people look like vain events for the elite. These events however provide great value beyond just the admiration of new or unique cars and their features. The impact goes beyond participants and attendees. There is a long chain of other supporting economic sectors like the hospitality sector and many others that derive value from these events. 

Here are some of the most popular international car shows to follow:

  • Paris Motor Show
  • International Geneva Motor Show
  • Auto Shanghai
  • IAA – International Motor Show (Frankfurt Motor Show)
  • The Detroit Auto Show (The North American International Auto Show)
  • Festival of Speed
  • London Classic Car Show
  • London Motor Show
  • Chicago Auto Show
  • Tokyo Motor Show

The Paris Motor Show

Paris Auto Show Yellow

The Paris Motor Show is held as the name suggests in Paris, France during October, every two years. It takes place at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center.

This is one of the biggest and longest-running international car shows in the world. It is a spectacular event for major car manufacturers all over the world. You will find concept cars and new entrants here at the Paris Motor before they are known and released to the world market. The exhibition attracts a wide spectrum of participants. These include Manufacturers, Dealerships, Car designers, enthusiasts, and those looking for the next big thing in the world.

Like many in-person gathering events, it was negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; but it is set to return in 2022.

Chicago Auto Show

Chicago auto show Red & Yellow

The Chicago Auto Show is described as the largest and longest-running auto show in North America. This auto exhibition has been running since 1901 and has been hosted or produced by The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) since 1935. 

The show is hosted annually in February at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center. It is the largest auto show in North America. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the show was rescheduled to July for its 2021 edition. 

At the Chicago Auto Show, you will find all manner of vehicles from luxury to economy cars; from concepts, convertibles to crossovers, and many more. While it is a huge commercial event it is also a great social and family event. It attracts all kinds of people from exhibitors; specialist car enthusiasts; buyers to ordinary car admirers. 

Geneva International Motor Show

Geneva concept auto show

The Geneva International Motor Show is one of the major car exhibitions for debuts and concepts. It is held every year at the Palexpo Convention Center, Geneva in Switzerland. This car show has been happening since 1905 and it’s still going strong every year. Several brands of supercars and other luxury cars are exhibited at this show.

Compared to other major auto shows; this is one of the smallest. Nonetheless, it attracts a wide range of automakers from all over the world. Of course, the event is not small on any scale as it is the largest Swiss public event of over USD200 per year. 

The event is largely viewed by many automakers and stakeholders as a ‘neutral’ event. This is so because it is hosted by Switzerland which has no car brand of its own. It is unlike the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA – International Motor Show) which is hosted at the hub of world auto manufacturing.

IAA – International Motor Show

Auto Show - Ferrari

The IAA – International Motor Show; previously known as the Frankfurt Motor Show is arguably the biggest international auto show. It happens annually in Frankfurt and Hannover Germany. The passenger vehicles are exhibited at Messe Frankfurt while the commercial vehicles are exhibited at Hanover Fairground. 

The organizers of the event were reportedly considering moving the event to other cities like Munich; Berlin and Hamburg. The future of the show may drastically change in the coming next few years.

This show has been running since 1897 and has become a calendar event for most automakers and other industry players around the world. It has gone through many changes since the first exhibition in  The event attracts over 1 million visitors every year.

London Motor Show

London Auto Show

The London Motor Show was previously known as “The London Motor Fair” until 1993. It’s hosted annually by The London Motor Show Ltd. From 1977 to 1999 it was hosted at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Between 2016 and 2017 the event was held in Battersea Park; it later moved to ExCeL London from 2018 to date.

The London Motor Show is the place to be for many UK car enthusiasts. It creates that motor love vibe every year for auto entrepreneurs and consumers from across the country. If you want to catch the glimpse of the latest releases in the UK auto space, the London Motor Show is the place to be.

London Classic Car Show

Classic Mercedes-Benz

The London Classic Car Show is the place of choice for all classic car lovers; owners and collectors. The exhibition has been running for over 135 years with a focus on the evolution and general progression of cars from the first-ever four-wheeler to the most recent ‘old’ vehicles.

Many auto shows and exhibitions create an opportunity to showcase the manufacturers’ latest offerings or the dealers’ choice stock of cars. The other benefit that comes with auto shows is the potential deals that one can strike via the platforms. However, very few such auto shows allow you to buy anything on the exhibition floors but this auto show does.

Auto Shanghai

Auto show Shanghai

The Auto Shanghai is a biennial auto exhibition that started in 1985. The event is hosted at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), China. It is officially known as Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. The event alternates with the Beijing Auto Show also known as Auto China.

With the participation of many foreign auto brands, ‘The Auto Shanghai’ has become one of the biggest International Auto Exhibition. It ranks well with other such events; like the Paris Motor Show; the IAA; the Tokyo Motor Show and others.

The auto show is also the oldest in the country.

Tokyo Motor Show


Video by Auto Moto Media.

The Tokyo Motor Show is an automotive exhibition that happens every two in Tokyo, Japan. This event has been running since 1954. In the earlier years, it was an annual event until 1973, it then became a biannual event between 1975 and 1999 after which it resorted to being an annual event once again between 2000 and 2007. 

From then to now it has been hosted every two years. The exhibition usually runs for plus or minus ten(10) days with the big international flare to it.

The Tokyo Motor Show boasts of several auto brands but its main thrust is on concept vehicles more than the regular ones. It is regarded as one of the big five which include; Detroit; Paris; Geneva and IAA(Frankfurt).

The North American International Auto Show

Detroit Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show commonly referred to as the Detroit Auto Show is an annual auto exhibition that takes place in Detroit, Michigan. The show has been going on in this format since 1899. The first Detroit Show was however first organized by William E. Metzger in 1899. Since then it has evolved on many fronts including the venues and the format to what it has become.

The show is ranked among other top international car shows like Paris, France; Geneva, Switzerland; IAA(Frankfurt), Germany, and the Tokyo, Japan auto shows commonly referred to as the ‘Big Five’. The show attracts a wide range of international car makers across the globe. Like the other four, it is mainly a debuts and concept cars platform for auto manufacturers around the world.

The Charity Element of the Detroit Auto Show 

One of the unique elements of this auto show is the charity dimension. At the beginning of the auto show, the organizers host a press preview and a charity preview event. The charity event raises money for several local children’s charities. Millions of dollars are raised in these events every time it is hosted. 

The participation and attendance of the event are therefore not purely an economic exercise as it also carries a cause to it. For those who are into events that back noble causes then the Detroit Auto Show is one to follow.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual motor racing cars event that began in 1993 in Goodwood Estate. The event was first organized by Lord March who later owns became the Duke of Richmond. The event has continued to evolve over its years of existence. 

Some have argued that this is more of a car racing event than it is a typical auto show. While it probably does not compare well with most of the other auto shows it truly brings its flavor and mixes to the industry. 

The race track includes a 1.86 km hill climb stretch and a 2.5 km stretch of forest rally. Of late the race has largely been designed not to clash with the Formula One season to allow the participation of some of the participants from them. The Festival of Speed is a weekend family event with a 150000 attendance cap for all those who are fascinated by fast cars.

The International Car Shows Economic Impact

For those who don’t care much about cars, these events may not seem much of a deal. They may seem nothing more than simple car enthusiasts congregating to view their favorite or latest models of automobiles. These are more than just viewing spectacles; they are significant global economic spots that have a wide spectrum of impact across several economic sectors.

The Economic Impact of The World Auto Shows goes way beyond the immediate auto-show exhibition and events core spaces. Several other downstream economic players benefit immensely from these events. Chief among these are the hospitality; aviation and logistics sectors.

International Car Shows Impact On Aviation and logistics

For most of these global auto shows, a lot of their exhibition materials and exhibitors have to be transported from across the world or continents. Some of the exhibition materials require special forms of packaging and conditions that call for many other service providers that ideally may not seem apparent when looking at the core players of the shows.

Airlines and other logistics players benefit immensely from the short-term surge in the demand for their services to transport people and goods. 

The International Car Shows Impact on the Hospitality Sector

Hotel room motorshop

Many of these auto shows have taken a deliberate effort to partner with nearby hotels and other accommodation service providers that get a boom in business from housing the organizers, exhibitors, and visitors of these motor shows. 

Restaurants and other food-related businesses also make significant gains from these popular world auto shows. Services and goods are demanded by the participants of these motor shows create several opportunities including temporary employment for locals. In some cases, the opportunities can lead to long-term commitments.

The combined impact of world auto shows is significant. As stated earlier the contribution goes way beyond just the car events to several other key economic sectors.


These are the premium world auto shows that come with massive business opportunities for many auto market players and the local economies.  In a number of these shows, you get several concept cars and debuts while some will bring to their exhibitions classic cars of interest from around the globe. 

Global auto shows are sweet spots for car enthusiasts across the globe. Therefore it is most ideal, if you would love to get a glimpse of what is yet to come in the auto world to attend the ‘Big Five’ auto shows (Geneva, Frankfurt, Detroit, ). On the other hand, if you see some of the most priced pieces of history in the automotive world then don’t miss The London Classic Cars Motor Show’. To experience the full richness of the new, classic, and concept cars, you have to take a keen interest in these global motor shows.


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