NEW YORK -- Next to a red MX-5 in the glow of Mazda's stand at the New York auto show, Geraldina Posada, 18, and Sky Quiceno, 19, discuss the benefits of posting on Snapchat, the social-media site favored by the likes of DJ Khaled, or Facebook Inc.'s Instagram.
"When you see a good car, and you like it, you put some filters on it and then -- boom, you have a picture that can get hundreds of likes" on Instagram, said Posada, who uses one account for her artistic photos and another for her social life. Quiceno likes that pictures there don't disappear, as they do on Snapchat.
Tweets, posts and snaps help auto shows reach millions of consumers beyond those that go to the annual events to sit in cars and dream about what could go in their driveways. While perhaps a million people will attend the New York show at the Javits Center, which runs through Sunday, more than 40 million people saw the 25,000 tweets with the official hashtag of last month's Chicago Auto Show.
With flashy displays and teams of social media producers, automakers are looking to amplify attention on their brands as U.S. auto sales roll toward what's expected to be another record year.
March sales announced Friday will probably show all of the biggest U.S. and Japanese automakers reporting increases as the annualized selling rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, ticks up to 17.3 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.
The total number of light vehicles sold will probably be the most for any month in a decade, said Tim Fleming, an Irvine, Calif.-based analyst with Kelley Blue Book.