By Julie Candler
Jan. 10, 2013
Those organizing Detroit’s crowning automotive event, the North American International Auto Show, say 2012 was great – and they promise 2013 will be even greater.
Scott LaRiche predicts this year’s show will draw 800,000 car enthusiasts to Cobo Center in downtown Detroit Jan. 19 through 27. That could surpass last year’s successful tally of 770,932.
|One of Detroit's best assets, its waterfront, will be on display along with hundreds of impressive vehicles at Cobo Center this January. Photo Courtesy Cobo Center
LaRiche, president of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and vice president of Lou LaRiche Chevrolet in Plymouth, says one of the highlights for show-goers will be Cobo’s newly completed Atwater Street entrance. Its three-story glass atrium lets visitors look out – at last – on the Detroit River from Cobo’s main meeting room. The crowds also will see special celebrations during this 25th international show.
The show is what 2013 NAIAS Chairman Jim Seavitt calls a “must-attend” industry event and one of the top five auto shows in the world.
“We pull from the entire area, and thousands of people travel here to see the worldwide product introductions,” Seavitt says. “This year, we expect 50-plus (exhibitors) based on responses from manufacturers we met during the Paris Motor Show.”
He agrees that if the weather cooperates, the region may see greater public attendance than NAIAS 2012.
Chairman Seavitt predicts more auto manufacturers will participate this year. Jaguar Land Rover is returning, and it will have several Chinese brands, including Guangzhou Automobile Group Corp. and some new, emerging brands.
As for what’s on view, again this year manufacturers are introducing cars that use alternative energy to meet the federal standard of 56 miles per gallon by 2025. Automakers are also stretching the reach of four-cylinder engines, making them more popular. Some vehicles with four-cylinder power plants are achieving up to 46 miles per gallon.
Seavitt, who owns Village Ford in Dearborn, predicts that local media coverage will generate interest around the entire state of Michigan as well as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Canada.
The sights will be substantially different this year as well for the working media. Sponsored by Michelin Tire, the Media Center will expand from its former third-floor headquarters to a more convenient and larger well-equipped area in Michigan Hall. Last year, LaRiche said 5,265 members of the press attended the show, representing 58 nations and 40 states.