Auto Show Energy Revs Up for 25th Year Of Expanded Version

January 05, 2014, 9:12 AM by  Alan Stamm

Detroit is preparing for a yearly business community highlight -- a chance to show global media visitors that bankruptcy reorganization ≠ citywide liquidation.   

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is "our annual Super Bowl,” Mark Phelan of the Free Press quotes a local financial analyst as saying.

“It’s one of the absolute must-attend global auto shows” for automakers, senior analyst Michelle Krebs said.

The 2014 show will feature the unveiling of 50 or more new vehicles from around the world [and] the first events in Cobo’s new riverfront ballroom and atrium. . . .

Leaders of the industry from around the world, politicians and celebrities will stream into Detroit. Thousands of journalists from every corner of the world will follow.

This is the 25th anniversary of the event's modern era as NAIAS, a souped-up successor to "a sleepy event dominated by the Detroit Three and local dealers," as Phelan writes in his paper's front-page Sunday centerpiece display. The Detroit News also has a splash by freelancer Paul Eisenstein, a veteran local auto writer with an extensive photo gallery. 

Free Press advance coverage includes a Tom Walsh column with 43 images from past events and memorable highlights from Cobo Center since 1989.

Media previews start a week from Monday on Jan. 13, followed by industry events and a swanky charity preview Jan. 17 with entertainment by Sheryl Crow. Public days are Jan, 18-26. (See hours, prices here.)

In addition to about 50 not-seen-before cars, trucks, crossovers and concept models, other vehicles will have "their first appearance at Cobo after debuting at the big Frankfurt, Tokyo and Los Angeles auto shows late in 2013," Eisenstein writes in The News.

Toyota’s hydrogen-powered FCX prototype will make its North American debut, along with several other fuel-cell vehicles set to go into production between now and 2015.

Meanwhile, Ford will rush its C-Max Solar Energi concept from its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to Motown. The prototype uses a new way to tap the sun’s power to charge up its batteries rather than having to find an electric outlet. . . .

The full-size 2015 Ford F-150 . . . is expected to be one of the stars of the show as it highlights some of the dramatic trends reshaping the auto industry. The new model is expected to use an “aluminum intensive” design that will shave perhaps 500 pounds or more off the truck’s mass, yielding as much as 5 mpg or better in fuel economy. . . .

Among the modern muscle cars on tap are the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the new Ford Mustang, the Porsche 911 Targa, and the Lexus RC-F coupe. The Kia GT4 Stinger concept is a great example of how things are changing. While it may have a mere 2.0-liter powerplant under its hood, that inline-four will deliver as much horsepower as many traditional V-8s thanks to modern technologies like direct injection and turbocharging.

In his Freep preview, Phelan relays an estimate that "the glitzy and global North American International Auto Show has pumped about $10 billion into southeast Michigan’s economy since 1989."

Related coverage:

Bob Lutz, The Sequel: Still Plugged Into Electric Vehicles, Jan. 4, 2013

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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