Quick Flip: Auto Show Media Swag Is For Sale On eBay Within Hours

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It's as much of a tradition at Detroit Auto Show media week as parking complaints and open-bar receptions: Some journalists see freebies as what-am-I-bid opportunities for side income.

More than four dozen giveaways are on eBay a day after previews for auto writers began at Cobo Center.


Up for bids: Chrysler's media kit with a Pewabic tile that says "Imported From Detroit." (eBay photo)

The practice is legal, though ethically questionable. Automakers give out media kits with glossy booklets and images on memory sticks for journalists to use as reference materials and coverage illustrations, not for personal profit.

Souvenirs such as scale models and a Pewabic tile from Chrysler (shown at right) are good-will promotions that some writers display near their desks or give to their kids. "It's refreshing to have an actual local souvenir with heritage and meaning," automotive writer Aaron Foley posts at Jalopnik Detroit about his blue "Imported From Detroit" tile. "I have to tip my hat to them."

Other recipients tip themselves.

The tile and rest of the media kit went on eBay Monday night, drawing six bids so far. The same seller is peddling eight other giveaways from the 2014 North American International Auto Show, open only to credentialed professionals through Friday  

Five profiteers peddle red die-cast models of the new Corvette Stingray, including a Royal Oak opportunist who starts bidding at $75 and offers a $150 buy-it-now option. He's undercut by a Waterford seller who sets a $50 opening bid and $125 buy-it-now level.

Other auctions are for 'Vette buttons and electronic press kits.

Visiting the show during media week can pay off, as we reported last January about a Redford seller's $500 eBay windfall for a 2014 Corvette Stingray media kit in a numbered, sealed presentation box.    

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