Detroit auto show in high gear on first public day

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Antonio Leonard helped his son Torrence, 9, jump into the driver's seat of the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali to take a picture in the car they were eager to see when the North American International Auto Show opened to the public Saturday. 

"It's been awhile since I've been to the auto show, but we really wanted to see the tailgate on this truck and Torrence really likes the Kia Soul," said Leonard, from Detroit. "The Kia has nice features in the backseat with automated controls like you get in the front seat. Otherwise, the new stuff is catching my eye and I'm glad we came out."

Leonard and his son were just some of the thousands that braved the winter storm to see the cars at Cobo Center Saturday. Starting at 9 a.m., visitors were able to jump into their favorite vehicles, test drive through virtual reality and watch demonstrations of the cars of the future feature. 

The All-New Ford Ranger is surrounded at Cobo Center.

Jack Hewitt from Petersburg cames to the auto show almost every year but on Saturday he used the room as a show floor to look for a new car to purchase after his lease ends in a few months.

"I'm looking at Lincoln's, the GMC Ukon, Jeeps, and of course it'll be whatever my wife wants," said Hewitt, 67. "We have four kids so we've always had big cars, the Navigator is a great SUV, but now they're all grown so we don't really need that much room anymore."

Some visitors also spent times in lines for free giveaways and to meet guests like former Red Wing Mickey Redmond who played from 1968-1975. 

Adam Belair, 33, was admiring the red RK Rally saying it reminded him of one of his favorite cars. 

"It looks like an old RT10," said Belair, who lives in Livonia. "Vipers are great cars and they haven't really changed in 20 years. They always keep the overall look of the car by changing just a few minor details and I like the consistency."

People admire the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 at Cobo Center on Saturday, January 19, 2019.

One of the biggest attractions on the show floor was the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 in blue. 

"It's missing the manual but the look of it is phenomenal," said Caleb Mosher, from San Francisco who admired the car with his brother Drew, who lives in Dayton. "I love the wing and looks way better than previous cars. The only thing I don't like I the flap in the rear wheel. That will collect a lot of dirt."

See them all for yourself. The auto show runs Saturday through Jan 27.  

More: What to know if you go to the Detroit auto show


  • Saturday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (no admittance after 9 p.m.)
  • Sunday, Jan. 27: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (no admittance after 6 p.m.)

Early access for handicapped individuals 8 a.m. each day at the Hall C entrance


Tickets to the Detroit auto show can be purchased ahead of time or at the door. For tickets at the show, visit the booths located in the Cobo Center concourse (cash only). Ticket kiosks through the concourse allow credit card sales only. 

  • Adults: $14
  • Seniors: $7 (65 and older)
  • Children: $7 (7-12 years old; 6 and under free with a parent or guardian)
Twitter: @SarahRahal_