DETROIT (AP) - The North American International Auto Show in Detroit has opened its doors to the public.
The annual event began Saturday at Cobo Center following a week of previews for journalists and others in the industry. A race-worthy Corvette, a sumptuous Mercedes C-Class and other glitzy models catch the eye at the show, which runs through Jan. 26.
Ford Motor Company revealed a groundbreaking change for its top-selling F-150 truck at the North American International Auto Show on Monday. The new truck will have a body made mostly of aluminum instead of steel.
Ford is taking the calculated risk to retain its crown as the number one seller of pickups in the world.
Ford is banking on the loyalty of F-150 owners like David Mindell, CEO of Plantwise, a company that specializes in native plant landscaping and wetlands restoration.
The North American International Auto Show in Detroit kicks off on Monday with preview days for the international press.
The show opens to the public next Saturday. One of the highlights this year may not even be a car.
Auto show vice chairman Bob Schuman is pretty confident that everyone who goes to the show will be talking about the new Corvette, Chevy's top of the line sports car. But they may also be talking about the ongoing Cobo renovation. Cobo has a new atrium that opens up the convention center to a view of the river and the Windsor skyline.
Media preview days have begun at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Michigan Radio's auto-beat reporter Tracy Samilton is at the show and spoke with us this morning about what we should look for over the next week.
Its organizers say they’re encouraged by the figures out of Detroit where 735,000 people attended this year’s show.
That’s about 20,000 more than last year.
It's not a huge increase, but it is a change from years of steady decline. Paul Brian works with the Chicago Auto Show, which attracts a lot more people than the Detroit Auto Show. Brian says regional rivalries aside
"It's kind of like whether you’re Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines - everybody’s playing on the same team. If it’s good for the Detroit show, it’s good for Chicago, and New York, and LA, and it’s good for the industry."
Attendance Monday was 64,520, up from 61,112 from the same day last year, said NAIAS spokesman Sam Locricchio. On opening day Saturday, 86,622 attended the show, compared with 83,715 on the opening Saturday last year, he said. Sunday's attendance was 99,111 -- up from 96,623 for the opening Sunday in 2010, he said.
The show, at Detroit's Cobo Center, is open until Sunday.
At the Detroit International Auto Show, domestic automakers are celebrating a comeback of their industry. GM and Ford both saw profits last year, and the car makers are expecting a good year this year.
As more proof of the comeback, Bill Vlasic and Nick Bunkley report in the New York Times about profit-sharing checks that are expected to go to GM and Ford workers:
The two big Detroit carmakers will announce profit-sharing checks this month for their hourly workers, perhaps the largest in a decade, company officials and industry analysts say.
The checks are expected to top out at $5,000 at Ford, less at GM.
They report these checks "would be the biggest payout since the $8,000 checks that Ford handed out in 2000." Chrysler, the report says, is not expected to issue bonus checks this year.
The former NBA great toured Cobo Center... checking out the latest offerings from companies including General Motors and Ford. He says a comeback for automakers such as GM, Ford and Chrysler is positive for the city and the state.
Bing is just one of many politicians who have visited the show over the past few days. Governor Rick Snyder visited the show yesterday and members of Michigan's Congressional delegation, including Democratic Representatives John Dingell, Sander Levin and Gary Peters, have also visited Cobo Center this week.
Governor Rick Snyder visited the Detroit auto show yesterday, something governors traditionally do. They greet the CEOs, make nice comments about the new models, and disappear.
I can’t recall a single thing any politician has said at the auto show that was worth remembering. But this year is a little different. Two years ago, it was highly uncertain whether there would be either an domestic auto industry or an auto show in 2011.
What’s more, almost nobody in the industry or the state had ever heard of Rick Snyder, and nobody imagined he’d be governor.
Well, the auto industry is a good bit healthier today, and the state is getting used to a governor who doesn’t like to wear a tie, and doesn’t mind being called a nerd. Like other governors before him, Snyder didn’t say anything especially stirring at the auto show. But he did a few things worth noting. He didn’t just visit what we might now call the not-so-big three, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. He stopped by Kia and Hyundai and Toyota too.
Governor Rick Snyder visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit yesterday. He sat in a Chevy Volt, stopped by the Ford and Prius pavilions, and visited with Fiat-Chryser CEO Sergio Marccione. Rick Pluta was at the show and filed this report:
Governor Snyder cheered the rebound in the auto industry from where it was at this time last year. Snyder says he does not want to play favorites when it comes to economic development -- that Michigan should make all entrepreneurs feel equally welcome. But the governor also says he recognizes how big the car business still looms in the state’s economy. Snyder said:
The role of manufacturing and the auto industry in Michigan’s future is critical. I don’t walk away from it all. Actually, I embrace it. That is part of our heritage. That is something we have world-class people in.
The governor says he will call for lower taxes and less regulation and will reveal more details of his economic plan next week when he delivers his first State of the State address
The show opened for media previews on Monday and opens to the public on Saturday.
The 2011 North American International Auto Show is in a decidedly upbeat mood.
After two years of somber shows, automakers are rolling out new products and showcasing an unusual level of variety and innovation. And they're bullish about how consumers will respond to all those new choices.
Chrysler might be the poster child for the resurgent feeling at this year’s show.
Last year, the automaker barely had a presence, and Chrysler Brand President Olivier Francois remembered how that felt.
In past years, most of the so-called “green cars” at the North American International Auto Show were concept cars – not ready for prime time. This year is different.
The Toyota Prius has been America’s premier environmentally friendly car for ten years. Now, the car has some serious competition. Both the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf have an EPA fuel economy rating the equivalent of more than 90 miles to the gallon.
Today president of GM North America, Mark Reuss spoke with Michigan Radio's All Things Considered Host, Jennifer White.
The Chevy Volt won the "Car of the Year Award" at the Detroit Auto Show. White asked Reuss why the auto company has put so much into the development of the Volt.
"If you look at the electric and hybrid car piece of the industry, it's been steadily gaining in popularity as time goes on. But what does it take to go beyond hybrid? To go beyond the traditional electric car and produce something that really has an exteded range with the gasoline and the battery on board, so you don't have to worry about an electric engine on board?"
Reuss said they accomplished that with the development of the Volt, and that GM remained focused on the Volt through some rough times.
When asked about the prospects for the new car market, Reuss was upbeat because he says there are a lot of people driving older cars, so there's "pent up demand" for new cars:
"And the reason why I say this is because if you look at the cost to operate some of the newer vehicles from a fuel efficiency standpoint, they're much, much lower than some of the vehicles these people are forced to hang onto."
Reuss said, in the past, the company has been good at engineering and building trucks and some of the "truck variants," but today they're re-focusing their efforts on smaller cars:
"We have refocused with the launch of things like the Volt, and the Sonic for Chevrolet, and then the Verano for Buick. We've really refocused our efforts into excellence in the small and compact car markets. And you're going to see those as really good alternatives in the market as we go forward."
Reuss was asked how he views the automotive industry today. Here's his response:
Clarke says the two talked about both being graduates of Cornell University.
He expressed sadness on the attempt on Giffords' life, but he says that danger is just a fact of life that all elected officials must face:
"I'm not going to change how I work. I'm going to be as open and available to the public. I think that's very important. I represent the taxpayers. I'm paid by the taxpayers. I'm hired by them to work for them. They need to know that their government is open and available to them."
Here's a video of Carl Brower, editor-at-large of Edmunds.com talking about the Chevy Volt winning the "Car of the Year Award."
Update: 10:11 a.m.:
Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke with Edmunds.com editor-at-large, Carl Brower. Brower headed the jury of auto industry journalists who picked the Volt. Brower said:
"I think the Volt represents not only a break from traditional drive train technology, but a break from the manufacturing image. It's a hybrid plus. It's beyond a hybrid. And I don't know how many people would have believed that a big domestic auto maker like GM could pull this off a few years ago."
Finalists for the car award were the Volt, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Leaf. Truck finalists were the Dodge Durango, the Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Forty-nine auto journalists from the U.S. and Canada made the picks. The vehicles are judged on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value.
The NAIAS opened this morning for media previews. The show is open to the public on Saturday and runs through January 23rd.
Ford Motor Co. on Monday is expected to announce it will hire 7,000 workers in the U.S. over the next two years, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields is expected to confirm the news at the auto maker's presentation before the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, this person said.