Detroit auto show draws crowd

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
Crowds make their wary through the Chrysler and Ram displays at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Georgio Dimopoulos loves cars. Even at 10 years old, he's got years of experience discussing cars with family and friends, even sharing what he knows with his teachers.

So it wasn't a surprise to hear Georgio excitedly name all the things he liked about the new Ford GT on display Monday at the North American International Auto Show.

"It's a really nice one," he said after taking several photos of the vehicle and then offering his list of likes: "I like the back, the exhaust tube, the headlights, the front and the interior."

Georgio and his family from Northville were among thousands who took advantage of a day off school or work for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to check out the latest vehicles at Cobo Center.

Marc Beardmore of Fremont, Ohio, said he tries to make the auto show an annual event for his sons, Ethan, 12, and Evan, 9.

"They had today off from school so it worked out well," he said as they sat inside a blue Buick Enclave on Monday afternoon.

Beardmore said one of their favorite things to do at the show is look at the concept cars.

Other auto show attendees were there for the luxury vehicles. Sandra Robinson, Stacey Crosby and Margaret Layton, all from Saginaw, took photos of the Infiniti, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover vehicles.

"You can tell we love luxury," said Robinson, the designated photographer for the group.

Each said she was in the market for a new vehicle. Layton, who hadn't attended the auto show in years, said it was educational for a car buyer.

"These are cars we thought were out of our reach," she said. "They're not as expensive as we would have thought."

Alfonso McClain checks out the Bentley display with his son, Aaron McClain, 10, and wife, DeQuaina McClain at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit .

Naveen Kumar of Royal Oak and his wife, Kavya, said a few vehicles stood out for them at the show, including Ford's GT and Mustang Shelby. This was Kumar's third auto show and his wife's first.

"It's nice to have the auto show here in Detroit," he said. "We don't have to go far away."

Attendance on Monday, the third public day of the auto show, was 70,420, officials said.

"Each time I walked the show floor today, there was an unmistakable, positive vibe," NAIAS Chairman Scott LaRiche said in a statement. "It's a celebration of an auto show that continues to stand among the world's greatest in a city that's firmly in the passing lane."

Attendance for auto show opening weekend was 215,836 visitors, surpassing last year's number by 7,000, officials said Monday evening in a statement. The show drew long lines to see 55 product premieres and 750-plus vehicles.

"Opening weekend," officials wrote. "Nailed it."

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