Broadway Auto Row is a section of Broadway linking uptown and Piedmont. It is mostly characterized by long blocks of auto dealerships with little foot traffic (most likely due to the fact that there aren't many businesses breaking up the long stretches of dealerships). The City has tried to make a "themed shopping experience" in Auto Row (according to a 1999 City of Oakland Community and Economic Development Agency fact sheet, see Oakland History Room) with $3m in public street improvements (including a landscaped median and two pedestrian plazas).
There are 20 auto dealerships on Auto Row. The majority of the auto dealerships and auto-related businesses are between 27th Street and I-580 and there are metal signs above the street signs. Between I-580 and 51st Street / Pleasant Valley, there is only one dealership (Toyota) and a few auto-related businesses, but there are vinyl banners hanging from the street lights labeling it as part of Auto Row, too.
Auto Row dates back to about 1912 when the first automobile-oriented businesses began appearing. 1,2
Some links for further research:
Broadway/Valdez Specific Plan has some background