2005 Geneva Motor Show
Forget the rail pass. Give us one of these, and those...oh yeah, and that, too. The automakers sashayed into Switzerland for the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. What they unveiled for concepts are hardly Old Europe: no lederhosen here, but a collection of sophisticated and urbane ideas tailored to the Euro tastes of the 21st Century. Of course, our friends over there have yet to embrace the SUV and pickup truck like we have, but there were a few concepts that we can probably shoehorn into the context of our mag's take on the automotive world.

Where America Shops
More consumers are likely to purchase automotive accessories from franchise auto parts stores than any other retail outlet, according to SEMA's Automotive Lifestyle Study. Independent auto parts stores come a close second. About 50 percent of consumers say they are likely to shop at an independent store, while 59 percent say they are likely to visit the chain stores. On the flip side, around 75 percent of consumers say they are unlikely to go to a car show for automotive goodies, and 68 percent of consumers wave away newspaper classified ads as a likely option. Just about 24 percent said they would buy parts from a speed shop.

But, what about that digital vanguard of the buy-anything set? Surprisingly, 57 percent of consumers said no way to eBay, while 24 percent of consumers surveyed thought they were likely to buy car parts on the online auction. That said, internet sites appealed to more consumers (33 percent) than did magazines and mail order catalogs (24 percent).

Other Interesting Factoids
* Women are more likely to buy accessories from a brick-and-mortar store than men.

* Women are more likely than men to purchase specialty equipment from the dealer (42 to 24 percent). Meanwhile, more men will buy from internet sites than women.

* Consumers, ages 28 to 39, prefer chain stores more so than their younger counterparts.

* People who are 52 years and older are less likely to buy from an independent shop than younger consumers. But, those who are 16 to 27 are more likely to visit the car dealer for accessories than people 28 to 51.