The 11 Best Automotive Trade Shows You Can’t Miss [Updated for 2024]

For more than a century, automotive trade shows – both industry-exclusive and public-facing – have been the premier showcase for automotive manufacturers and industry leaders to highlight their latest products and innovations.
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The auto industry’s return

The auto industry’s return to form coincides with the return of the events and trade show industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted every industry, but not in the same way. First, the lockdowns hit the automotive, causing sales in the U.S. to drop 47% by April 2020. The second hit came a few months later when the supply of automotive semiconductor chips could not meet the demand resulting in a shortage.

However, even with the chip supply chain issues, car sales rose during the first half of 2021. Also, due to U.S. and German encouragement, the Taiwan government is working with chip manufacturers to end the shortage by Q4, 2021

The auto industry’s return to form coincides with the return of the events and trade show industry. For over a century, automotive trade shows – industry-exclusive and public-facing – have been the premier showcase for automotive manufacturers and industry leaders to highlight their latest products and innovations.

TRADE SHOW ROI GUIDE Exclusive insights and equations for measuring your Trade Show ROI

The secrets to exhibiting at automotive trade shows

Every industry has at least one big show. The water industry has WEFTEC. The pet industry has Superzoo and Global Pet Expo. The commercial airline industry has Routes World. The outdoor and hunting industry has SHOT Show.

In the automotive industry, the biggest show is the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, which annually attracts roughly 100,000 car enthusiasts each year. Following not too far behind SEMA is the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX).

Given the automotive industry’s size, there are hundreds of smaller, regional and national shows throughout North America. To get a feel of the unique challenges and opportunities of exhibiting at a SEMA or AAPEX, watch the interview below with The Trade Group’s very own Austin Montgomery.

Here are 11 of the biggest upcoming automotive trade show.

1. Progressive International Motorcycle Show

When: February 9, 2023

Where: TBD

This year and for the first time, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show creates a festival atmosphere by hosting every event outdoors. The tour has already made stops in Sonoma, CA, and Pingree Grove, IL, with six destinations to go. These experiential events are personalized to the host area and offer hands-on experiences unique to the surroundings. In addition to motorcycles, attendees will also see demos featuring two-wheel and four-wheel, on- and off-road products, electric bicycles, and more.

Registration link:

2. The Texas Auto Body Trade Show

When: July 12 – 13, 2024

Where: The Irving Convention Center Irving, Texas

Hosted by the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT), this annual two-day event aims to help those in the automotive repair industry stay updated on the latest technology and trends. The show features several educational seminars, a trade show floor showcasing 50 exhibitors, live demonstrations, a car show, and the “Big Shot Competition” featuring painters, estimators, and body technicians.

Registration link: ABAT

3. North American International Auto Show / NAIAS Motor Bella

When: January 10 – 20, 2025

Where: Huntington Place and Hart Detroit, Michigan

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of the North American International Auto Show canceled the NAIAS show and replaced it with an outdoor event known as “Motor Bella.” The new event takes place at the M1 Concourse track in Pontiac, Michigan. It features off-road and tracks driving areas, new vehicle debuts, and exhibits by automakers and technology companies. Organizers have already stated that the North American International Auto Show will return to Detroit in 2022. However, if Motor Bella is a hit, it may also return or become a separate event in the future.

Registration link:

4. Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX)

When: November 5 – 7, 2024

Where: The Venetian Convention & Expo Center Las Vegas, Nevada

This industry-exclusive, global event is exclusively focused on the aftermarket auto parts industry. The expo features hands-on training on the latest technology, new-to-market products, educational sessions, and a show floor filled with manufacturers and suppliers from around the world.

Registration link:

5. SEMA Show

When: November 5 – 8, 2024

Where: Las Vegas Convention Center

Organized by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the SEMA Show is a trade-only event geared toward automotive and specialty equipment manufacturers. In addition to the 2,400 trade show displays spread throughout the show floor, the event features a new products showcase, educational seminars, networking opportunities, hands-on workshops, and live drifting demonstrations.

Registration link:

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6. Performance Racing Industry Show (PRI)

When: December 12 – 14, 2024

Where: Indiana Convention Center, Indiana

PRI is an annual event showcasing the latest in racing technology. The show features equipment demonstrations, numerous conferences and seminars, and over 1,100 companies exhibiting in more than 3,300 booths. Admission is complimentary, but attendees must prove they own, manage, or work for a racing business to gain entrance.

7. Philadelphia International Auto Show

When: January 13 – 21, 2024

Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia

The Philadelphia International Auto Show first debuted in 1902. The annual event is attended by 250,000 people and showcases 700 vehicles varieties, including new vehicles, concept cars, exotics, and antiques. The show kicks off with the Black Tie Tailgate Preview Gala, where proceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Registration link:

8. Washington Auto Show

When: January 31 – February 9, 2025

Where: Walter E Washington Convention Center, Washington DC

The Washington Auto Show is the largest public show in the nation’s capital, attracting nearly one million visitors each year. The event features more than 600 vehicle models from over 35 manufacturers, cutting-edge exhibits, and historic vehicle displays. Two Public Policy Preview Days of announcements for government, industry, and media officials precede the public show.

Registration link:

TRADE SHOW ROI GUIDE Exclusive insights and equations for measuring your Trade Show ROI

9. Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS)

When: February 14 – 23, 2025

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Ontario

Not only is CIAS the most prominent automotive expo in Canada, but it is also the country’s largest consumer show. All things automotive and automotive adjacent appear at CIAS, including cars, trucks, SUVs, concept cars, motorcycles, alternative energy cars, bicycles, rickshaws, electronics, sporting goods, toys, and games. The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada also hosts its annual awards at the event.

Registration link: Canadian International Autoshow – Toronto

10. National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Expo

When: January 23 – 26, 2024

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Targeted toward franchised new vehicle dealers, NADA offers attendees the chance to see the hottest new automotive products and technologies. The show showcases more than 500 exhibitors, education programs and workshops hosted by industry experts, and networking opportunities throughout the event.

Registration link: NADA

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11. Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS)

When: March 27 – 29, 2025

Where: Louisville, Kentucky

With over 1,000 exhibitors and 70,000 attendees, the annual Mid-America Trucking Show is the largest heavy-duty trucking event. In addition to featuring representatives from all major truck manufacturers, the event also offers more than 40 education sessions covering current industry topics, the PKY Truck Championship, and an after-party concert at Fourth Street Live.

Registration link: Mid-America Trucking Show

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Still searching for the right show?

Use our free trade show search tool. Simply type in your industry, and every related show will appear along with the average number of attendees, exhibitors, date, and location.

To learn more about our awesome trade show displays and how they can make you stand out at the best automotive trade shows, contact us here or call The Trade Group at 800-343-2005.

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