Going to an auto show? Lay out a game plan

(November 19, 2011) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Auto shows are a playground for car enthusiasts, but they can also be valuable resource for shoppers in the market for a new car. Edmunds.com lays out a game plan that consumers can follow in "A Car Shopper's Guide to Auto Shows."

"The first thing any car shopper should do before attending an auto show is to plan a course of action," says Ronald Montoya, consumer advice associate at Edmunds.com.

"They should print out the floor plan for the show that they're going to attend and circle the locations of the automakers whose cars they want to see. This will help them plan the most efficient route along the show floors, which are often quite large and can be spread out among convention center halls."

To help with research before the show, Edmunds' InsideLine.com has full advanced coverage of every major U.S. and international auto show, with overviews of the new cars and interactive features on display.

MotorwayAmerica.com also offers a quick guide depicting new car debut as well as a description of concept cars being shown.

Edmunds.com suggests the following additional tips for shoppers looking to make the most out of their auto show expeditions:

    • Avoid the crowds — The opening weekend of any auto show draws the biggest crowds, making it difficult to get uninterrupted access to the cars that are most interesting. To minimize crowds, try to go to the show on a weekday, preferably as soon as the doors open.

    • Compare vehicles — An auto show allows you to compare the greatest number of cars in the shortest amount of time and distance. Don't just look at the car that interests you the most; be sure to check out its competitors, too.

    • Talk to the reps — One of the best things about an auto show is the lack of sales pressure. Most of the people staffing the manufacturers' exhibits are not salesmen. The auto-show reps have to be well-schooled in the cars on display, so don't hesitate to ask the many questions you may have about the cars.

A full look at "A Car Shopper's Guide to Auto Show's."