An auto show, also known as a motor show or car show, is a public exhibition of current automobile models, debuts, concept cars, or out-of-production classics. It is attended by automotive industry representatives, dealers, auto journalists and car enthusiasts. Most auto shows occur once or twice a year. They are important to car manufacturers and local dealers as a public relations exercise, as they advertise new products and promote auto brands. The five most prestigious auto shows, sometimes called the "Big Five", are generally considered to be held in Frankfurt, Geneva, Detroit, Paris and Tokyo.
The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers organizes many auto shows, including the Big Five. These shows all have an advertising purpose. They are held as part of the sales strategy of the manufacturers.
There are other car shows that are organized by car enthusiast associations. There is no generally accepted term for these more common events.
Manufacturer car shows typically showcase vehicles currently being manufactured and available for purchase. Enthusiast car shows showcase individually owned vehicles, that are not currently being manufactured, and that are not available for purchase. Manufacturer car shows always charge for admission, whereas enthusiast car shows do not.
Enthusiast car shows have rules of entry, limiting the types of vehicles that may be shown, e.g. classic cars, hot rods, single-model (Corvette, Model-T Ford, Mustang). Some single-model shows allow the entry of vehicles currently being manufactured.
Enthusiast car shows usually draw there entries locally. In any given week there may be a dozen or more enthusiast car shows across the country.