NEW YORK – Lou Giordano spends a lot of time listening while on the floor of the New York International Auto Show that opens to the public April 6 for a 10-day run.

“I like to hear what people are saying, but they don’t know who I am,” says Giordano, chairman of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Assn., the group that stages the 112-year-old annual event.

It draws about 1 million visitors a year. Many of them are in the market for a new vehicle.

“They are intenders,” Giordano tells WardsAuto. “I hear people saying things like, ‘I like this but don’t like that,’ and ‘My wife feels this vehicle has enough legroom.’ These are people who will be in a showroom within six months.” 

Giordano runs Croton Auto Park in Croton-on-the Hudson, NY, selling Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram brands.

Many Americans think New Yorkers don’t drive cars, but that is belied by the number of vehicles that cram the city’s roadways. They aren’t all yellow taxis, although there are plenty of those.

“New York is a huge car market,” Giordano says. “It also is one of the most challenging.”

The dealer association he heads represents 425 franchises. Members employ 56,000 people, generate $24.9 billion in revenue and account for $1.7 billion in sales taxes.

Many New York new-car dealerships are family operations, says Giordano, who started in the business selling used cars. “Dealers’ contributions to the industry often are overlooked.”

The auto show is the largest event held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.