Detroit’s North American International Auto Show Draws Attention From Around the World

They don’t call it the Motor City for nothing.

It is an auto enthusiast’s dream – every major auto company in the world, and even a few of the minor ones, assembled under one roof. Hour after hour, covers are pulled off of new cars as they make their worldwide debut.

They call it the North American International Auto Show, but it is really three mega-auto shows all rolled into one. First, more than 6,500 reporters, photographers and TV crews from more than 60 countries invade the Cobo Conference Center in Detroit as auto company CEOs from the Americas, Europe and Asia offer updates, forecasts and previews of the latest offerings from their respective design studios. Then the show transforms, and becomes an insiders-only show for most of a week, open only to auto industry employees. Finally, the show opens for a two-week plus run to the public, where more than three quarters of a million people can check the more than 65 vehicles being unveiled to the public for the first time.

“The North American International Auto Show proved once again that Detroit is truly the automotive capital of the world,” Richard Genthe, senior co-chairman of the NAIAS 2006, said after the ’06 show wrapped up. “Every year the NAIAS committee strives to bring forth a world-class, internationally renowned auto show. With 69 vehicle introductions we have once again hit our mark.”

The 2007 show will take place Jan. 7-21 in Detroit. Press Preview Days will be held Sunday, Jan. 7 through Tuesday, Jan. 9. Industry Preview Days will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 10 and Thursday, Jan. 11. The show’s annual Charity Preview will be held Friday evening, Jan. 12. Public Days are Saturday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, Jan. 21.

“Every year we have a lot of events, a lot of news, but we never lose focus on what this show is all about. The cars are the stars,” said Bob Thibodeau, Jr., who will serve as the senior co-chairman of the show in 2007. Thibodeau has a unique vantage point on the show. His father, the late Bob Thibodeau Sr., served as the chairman of the show in 1989, the year the former Detroit Auto Show transformed itself into the international show that it is today.

Now, the NAIAS is the only auto show in North American to have been sanctioned by the Paris-based Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles, a world trade alliance of auto-related companies and organizations.
The show draws visitors from around the world. For those who can’t make it, there’s an annual live telecast from the show floor by NBC Sports. In 2006, more than 7 million viewers tuned in.

The show also features an Auto Industry Education Day, which special programming aimed at elementary, middle and high school students. Thibodeau said the Education Day features a special curriculum program that teachers can use in conjunction with a field trip visit to the show.

NAIAS 2006 highlights included a new Dodge Charger concept car, the unveiling of the 6th generation Toyota Camry, Kia’s first SUV and a raft of new hybrid fuel technology from General Motors. The 2006 show also marked the first time a Chinese automaker, Geely, had a display at the show.

Tickets and other information about the 2007 show is available online at www.naias.com

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