Monday, January 23, 2012

New thing #15: NAIAS

The North American International Auto Show, one of the largest media events in North America, is held in Detroit every January. The leading automakers display their latest product launches and concept cars. More than 700,000 people attended the show this year, the most since 2005. But even though I've lived in the metro Detroit area for nearly ten years and I work in the automotive industry, I had never attended the show. I'm not a "car" person. Usually the only thing I notice about someone's ride is the color.

So on a lazy Sunday morning, Senior and I headed downtown. We parked at Greektown Casino and rode the people mover to Cobo Hall. People watching is usually prime on the people mover, but today was pretty dull because everyone looked like us, middle class cul-de-sac-ers bundled up against the cold. 

The Auto Show, however, lived up to the hype. Everything was bright and modern with an energetic vibe. The OEM's outdid themselves. The Ford booth was an interactive playground, complete with virtual rides and game shows. GM let you get in touch with your inner artist by drawing on their dry-erase grafitti wall and making customized buttons. You could dance with a virtual hamster at the Kia booth, simulate an IMAX theater experience in the Lexus booth, channel your inner IKEA in the Volvo booth, and gawk in the Mini booth at the race track that ran up to and along the ceiling. Hundreds of people wandered through the hall, listening to the animated and well informed spokespersons and watching the entertainment. Detailers worked feverously to keep up with the fingerprints and smudges on the displays, and the insidious smell of cinnamon roasted almonds permeated the hall. It was a really enjoyable show!

Oh, and there were a whole bunch of cars there too. Mostly white or gray ones.

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