Last week I had the opportunity to attend media day at the North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit Auto Show. It is an annual event that features nearly every automaker that sells here in the United States and the exhibits are filled with lights, music and special effects. The show also features a charity gala that features celebrities hobknobbing with the auto industry that made Detroit the Motor City.
You also see cars you don’t see everywhere. Tesla, is a new electric car sold at a handful of stores in the nation. BYD is from China. BYD stands for “Build your dreams.”
First up on media day was the unveiling of the North American Car of the Year and Truck of the Year: the Chevy Volt and Ford Explorer. I had the chance to drive the Volt on a special indoor track. It is unbelievably quiet and pretty amazing inside.
Mark Miller of Pittsburgh driving the Volt.
2011 North American Truck of the Year: Ford Explorer.
The Detroit auto show is such a big deal the local television stations have special sets built and broadcast the news from above the show floor. Here are Devin Scillian and Carmen Harlan of WDIV, our former sister station.
5,000 journalists from all over the world attended NAIAS. Note the teleprompter.
Just about car is accompanied by a model, and in the case of the much heralded Chevy Volt there were three. Incidentally, here is a little known fact about Channel 3’s Kara Sundlun: After she graduated from college and was awaiting a job offer in journalism she was hired to be a model at the Detroit auto show. The offer came in before the show began, so she never got to show off her automotive prowess.
For obvious reasons, the Ferrari exhibit had a steady stream of visitors.
This Jaguar model looked like Judy Robinson from the cult classic TV series “Lost in Space.”
The new compact Buick Verano was unveiled in a cloud of blue dry ice. More on my Buick experience in a later blog.
Ford’s unveiling was the most impressive. A big crowd filled the nearby Cobo Arena where the Pistons used to play.
The auto show always features some new names. Here is the Ford C-Max. It is a good looking car, but C-Max? The legendary automaker came up with Mustang, Taurus, and Thunderbird over the years and C-Max is the best they can do?
The Detroit auto show is a magnet for politicians. Here is Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow talking to a crew. Steny Hoyer and others were also in attendance.
The new Fiat attracted quite a bit of attention. The Italian automaker is returning to the United States and will have three dealerships in the state, including Gengras Fiat of East Hartford.
The new Chrysler 300
This is what the cross section of the inside a vehicle looks like.
Hollywood was represented at the auto show. This is the “Black Beauty” from the Green Hornet. It is actually a 1966 Chrysler Imperial.
Here is the 1965 Lincoln Continental from the TV show “Entourage.” Great to see, but I don’t think it helped Lincoln to have it there nestled among their current models. I’m sure I wasn’t the only wondering “why doesn’t Lincoln build something this cool now?” Continental is such a cool name that has also vanished from the Lincoln lineup.
If you’re bad, you’ll soon see this in your rear view mirror. The new Ford Interceptor was on display in Detroit. This will be the new police car that will replace the iconic Crown Victoria, which ceases production next summer.
Plenty of the cars at the show were head turners ….
others had a face only a mother could love..
In this case, it is Mama Mazda in Japan.
More from Detroit a little later.