With relatively good weather — for January in Detroit, that is — the North American International Auto Show notched an impressive final attendance of more than 800,000 ticketed visitors, officials said.
The Detroit auto show at Cobo Center in downtown wrapped up a 16-day look at the latest in shiny sheet metal as well as cutting-edge advances in autonomous and connected driving technology.
The show wrapped up Sunday with 100,605 attendees, bringing total ticketed attendance for 2018 NAIAS to 809,161. That was slightly above last year’s figure of 806,554, but below some past years that climbed above 820,000, said Rod Alberts, executive director of the North American International Auto Show for more than 20 years.
The Press’ Mark Phelan found highlights in every shape and size, from the dark green Mustang that Steve McQueen drove in the classic film “Bullitt” to new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup.
Other standouts Phelan noted included Infiniti Q Inspiration concept, the new Mercedes G-Class luxury SUV, the new 2019 Ram 1500 and return of the Ford Ranger for the American market. Other notables were the 2019 Honda Insight hybrid compact sedan, Lexus’ LF-1 Limitless concept vehicle and the all new Jeep Wrangler.
$480M economic impact
David Sowerby, managing director for the investment advisory firm Ancora, estimated the 2018 show had an economic impact of $480 million to the regional economy.
NAIAS officially opened on January 13 with the uber-luxury The Gallery, a collection of some of the most exclusive and acclaimed automobiles in the world. The decade-old event was held for the first time at Cobo Center and some of the featured vehicles also were shown during the public event.
In its second year, AutoMobili-D — designed to show off technology advances in mobility — saw a nearly 40% increase in startup participants from around the world, show organizers said.
After a week of press and industry previews, the show opened to the pubic on Jan. 20, the morning after the annual black-tie Charity Preview, affectionately known as the Auto Prom.
As for the reveals from automakers, bigger seemed to be better. Increasingly passenger cars, crossovers and pick-ups are getting supersized as the price of gas stay low and Americans’ taste for roomy roadsters grows.
Everyone had their favorite and auto critics were no exception.
DETROIT FREE PRESS/TNS