Many car dealerships are known for exactly what you’d expect – selling cars. But more often than not, the dealerships that truly thrive are the ones that connect with their community.

So there’s the big question – how can a local car dealership host events that connect with its community in a meaningful way? Every dealership is different, so use these ideas as a baseline and customize them as needed to fit your goals! Without further ado, here are 15 car dealership event ideas to get you started:

1. Food, toy, or clothes drives for charity

Help your customers feel better about supporting your dealership by giving back through a food, toy or clothes drive.

Not only will it support members of the community who need those resources, but it gives people a sense of pride in the business they are making a large purchase from.

Promoting a food drive also has the potential to get a lot of attention on social media along with more people stopping by your dealership who may be interested in what they see in the lot. So really, it’s a win-win!

2. Food trucks or local business pop-ups

Everyone loves food. It’s just a fact. So, why not reach out to local food trucks and start a partnership to help raise each other up over a delicious meal?

You can make this car dealership event idea into a weekly occasion with different trucks to really spice it up and keep your customers coming in. Just think about shopping for a car over some ice cream, pulled pork, or mac and cheese…yum!

3. Car show and/or cruise in

Car shows are a great way to involve your local community of car lovers. Whether a person has a vehicle they want to show off or just wants to take a look, there’s good fun for everyone.

Partner with a charity to turn this fun event into a fundraiser.

One way to do this is through a raffle. Just don’t forget about prizes for those who show off their awesome cars!

4. 5k race

Racing isn’t only for cars! Host a 5k that starts and ends at your dealership to connect with the runners (and walkers) of your community. You can make it a fundraiser for an organization you’re passionate about and make T-shirts for participants to wear as well.

Our personal favorite example of this is the John Michael Morrison Scholarship 5k Run.

5. Ticket giveaways

Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Drive traffic towards your dealership with a giveaway! It can be a big ticket item like festival tickets or smaller scale, for example, gift cards to a local business. Or, offer up some of your own services like a car wash or free service.

No matter the product, giveaways have a lot of potential. Because, again, who doesn’t love free stuff?!

6. Test drive charity event

Donate to charity through test drives!

For every potential customer who comes in for a test drive within a predetermined time period, donate a certain amount of money to a charity of your choice. This encourages people who want to support the charity to come in for a test drive regardless of if they are interested in purchasing a vehicle.

Who knows, maybe they’ll change their mind once they’re in the driver’s seat?

7. Kids craft table/car-themed art

Sure, kids don’t purchase cars, but their parents do! Take the ease off of bringing children to the dealership by having a kids’ craft table event. Parents can shop with ease knowing their child is looked after and having fun.

Bring it to the next level by having them make car-themed artwork and hanging it up around the dealership for some adorable decor!

Maximize your event turnout!

Make the most of your car dealership’s event with this digital marketing blueprint!

8. Animal adoption events

To all the animal lovers out there, this is a great way to help out all the cute fur babies who need a home. You can partner up with a local shelter to either sponsor an event there or host one yourself.

Not only are puppies super cute, but you’ll make a lifelong ally with the animal-loving community!

9. Nail/spa day events

It’s nice to be pampered every once in a while! Offer up free manicures and pedicures for customers who have purchased a car from your dealership–this is a great way to say, “thanks for buying from us.”

This can be a one-and-done event or have a regular schedule depending on your dealership’s goals.

10. Holiday events

Involve local families in wholesome, holiday fun at your dealership.

Whether it’s a photo op with Santa or the Easter Bunny or a Trunk or Treat event for Halloween, this is a great way to connect with the families of your community!

11. Supporting Veterans

Host an ongoing event around Veteran’s Day or the Fourth of July to write cards or make care packages for veterans.

This is a great way to say thank you to those who have done service for our country.

12. Block party

Block parties are always a good time–why not host one?

You can do a Fourth of July barbeque, a start of the season celebration, or whatever else you feel like celebrating. Allow people to check out new models on display over some food, drinks, and music!

13. New parents night

Being a new parent is scary! There is so much to do before you welcome your little bundle of joy into the world, and one of those is learning how to bring them home.

Host an event to educate new parents on what the best car seats are, how to set it up safely, what features they should look for in a family vehicle, and anything else you think would be helpful.

14. Sponsor local youth sports

Let’s hear it for youth sports!

Show some love to the young athletes of your community by sponsoring a game or tournament. Make a banner or T-shirts for the event, get lots of pictures, and don’t be afraid to brag about it on social media!

15. Mini carnival event

Whether you’re 2 or 92, everybody loves a carnival. Fill up your lot with a caricature artist, a face painter, some fun carnival games, for example, ring toss, and anything else you can come up with–there are countless options with this one!

You can also have a wheel to spin with prizes varying in size redeemable at your dealership or local businesses. Seriously, the options are endless!

 The Best Dealership Event Ideas Are Authentic

As you can see, there are plenty of options of events to choose from, but the main takeaway here is to keep it authentic to your dealership and its goals.

Many of these events connect with philanthropy of some kind–this is a key strategy to connecting with your community on a deeper level and foraging relationships with loyal customers who care about your dealership.

Hopefully this sparked some ideas, now go connect with that community of yours!

Leverage your Digital Marketing to Ensure an Incredible Turnout

Now that you’re loaded up with excellent event ideas – it’s time to put together a game plan to execute the event and get the word out. Run through this list of 7 digital marketing best practices for your car dealership event to maximize that turnout!