It will be home field advantage for GM, Ford and Chrysler when the 2011 North American International Auto Show opens in Detroit next month, one of the biggest shows of its kind on the auto show calendar. The last two years have been fairly quiet for the NAIAS, compared to all the hoopla that usually accompanies this event. The lagging fortunes of Chrysler and GM tempered things as did the overall economy.
Cobo Center Renovations
The 2011 show, however, is likely to bring more exhibitors and visitors to the Cobo Center located in downtown Detroit. This venue is in the midst of a $278 million renovation, designed to upgrade and expand the facility. That’s good news for southeastern Michigan which was in danger of losing the NAIAS to another city. Certainly, the “Detroit Auto Show” would continue, but the NAIAS mantle could have passed to Los Angeles, Chicago or New York.
Being that Detroit is home territory for the Big 3, we’ll see plenty of new car releases and concepts rolled out. Expected debuts should include compact sedans from Cadillac and Lincoln, and at least one Fiat based model for Dodge. Other automakers will use the event to showcase their wares with the NAIAS reporting 37 debuts including 27 worldwide introductions.
The lead up to the NAIAS is all about creating buzz, certainly helped by two days of press events on January 10 and 11, followed by two days of industry previews and a one-day charity preview. By the time the show opens up to the public on January 15, the NAIAS will have had five days of wall-to-wall press coverage. The 2011 show comes to a close on January 23, with more than 700,000 visitors expected to have visited the more than 500 models on display.
If you’re planning to attend the 2011 NAIAS, expect to see the following hot auto trends:
- The lower level of the Cobo Center will be the display area for electric cars and related displays for the third consecutive year. This “Electric Avenue” display will feature cars and products from at least 18 different companies.
- Chrysler, which is releasing 16 new or updated products for the 2011 model year, will officially introduce the 2011 Chrysler 300. This car won’t look much different from earlier models, but it does reflect Chrysler’s new found attention to better quality materials and a quieter interior.
- Hyundai is taking one of its most anticipated vehicles, the Veloster hatchback, to Detroit. This car, which made its debut as a concept at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show, is expected to arrive as a 2012 model later in 2011.
Just before the show launches and not officially related to the event will come the 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACOTY) awards. As many as 50 journalists from the United States and Canada act as jurors, choosing the best new car and truck for the year. Last year, Ford ran the table as its Ford Fusion Hybrid won the car category and the Ford Transit Connect was selected the best truck.
“Auto Trends Magazine” will offer expanded coverage of the 2011 NAIAS beginning on the first press day.