Auto shows are great for you, misery for me

I don't like auto shows very much.

That, however, is as an auto journalist and not as a consumer.

As a consumer, an auto show is a terrific opportunity to spend several hours or even a day at one of the larger shows, leisurely wandering among all the newest vehicles.

There are shiny cars, bright lights, music, spokesmodels and interactive displays. What's not to like?

Perhaps better entertainment values are out there for the $10 to $12 admission fee most shows charge adults, but I don't know what they are.

I certainly can't think of a better way to spend 10 bucks.

No, when I say I don't like auto shows, I'm speaking about the press days built into the schedule of some auto shows before they officially open to the public.

These media days are almost must-attend events for auto journalists.

The shows in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, as well as Geneva, Frankfurt and Tokyo internationally, are all major debut venues for the auto industry, demanding the attendance of industry bigwigs and auto journalists.

Before writing about cars, I often imagined being a part of those exciting press days I'd read about in car magazines, when movers and shakers in the car companies would reveal new products to the automotive media. What could possibly be more exciting?

Cracking yourself on the shin with a ball-peen hammer jumps immediately to mind.

Imagine two days of racing, en masse with 2,000 journalists, back and forth across an exhibition hall to attend a different press conference every 20 minutes.

Forget about sitting down in one of the 300 seats positioned in front of the podium. You have to skip the previous press conference to snag a seat for the next one.

In fact, if you aren't among the first 1,000 or so journalists stampeding to the next press conference, you'll be lucky to position yourself to hear the presentation, let alone see it.

Journalists get into a show's media days for free, but the better way to see an auto show is to pay your $10 admission fee and enjoy the day.

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