Auto Show Opening Attendance Jumps 11 Percent
Posted on Nov 6th 2010 12:39 PM
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Attendance numbers for opening weekend of the annual South Florida International Auto Show exceeded expectations and organizers believe it reflects a rise in consumer interest in new cars.
"It's been a slow couple of years for our industry," said Rick Baker, president of the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association. "But this year, paid attendance for the first three days was up 11 percent over 2009. That's a ray of sunshine and we'll gladly take it." The10-day event typically is the first major U.S. auto show of the season, filling the Miami Beach Convention Center with hundreds of new models. This year's show is the 40th anniversary of the event.
New this year is Green Way, a special exhibit that gathers hybrid, electric and other models that sip fuel, or use none at all. It includes a production version of the Volt, Chevrolet's new extended range electric sedan, Nissan's new all-electric LEAF and Honda's new CR-Z Hybrid. Volvo used the show for the North American introduction of its 2012 S60 R-Design. Other new models include Nissan's Juke and Suzuki's Kizashi sports sedan. The South Florida show, one of America's oldest and largest, also features the latest crossovers, SUV's and pickups.During opening day press events, Ford showed off its all-electric Focus prototype and Lincoln's MKZ Hybrid, then reviewed new technology in charging stations. Jeep's all new Grand Cherokee has an upgraded interior, a new suspension designed with Mercedes-Benz and it boasts a 5-star crash rating. Reporters learned that sales are up 61 percent at Maserati, and 20 percent at Ferrari, from executives of the Italian marques who shared details of Maserati's new 4-seat grand touring convertible and Ferrari's new 458 Italia. Nissan demonstrated the charging port, solar panel and other features of its 100 percent electric LEAF (Leading Environmentally Affordable Family) model. Toyota shared details of its new plug-in hybrid Prius in a special one-day-only event for media. Press day ended with events by Saab, Acura and Hyundai, which has new hybrid and turbo-charged versions of its popular Sonata sedan.
"There are new vehicles here that pave the way to the future," said Baker, "and based on opening weekend we expect lots of auto enthusiasts to visit this year's show."
Another new exhibit at the 40th Anniversary South Florida show is Miami Street Rides, a collection of chopped, tuned and painted custom cars in the spirit of 1960's California designers. Numerous manufacturers are participating in Ride & Drive events that put attendees behind the wheel for a spin around the streets of Miami Beach.
Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America, was in Miami to speak to journalists gathered for the annual award luncheon presented by the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA). The group chose the Chevrolet Volt as its "Star of the Show," Nissan's LEAF as its "Best Green Technology Vehicle" and Jeep's "Lower Forty" as its Best Concept Vehicle.The South Florida International Show is produced by the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association, a four-county group of 190 new car dealers from The Keys to the Palm Beaches.