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Special Reports

650,000 people, 700 cars

By Russ Olexa

January 2009 -Braving cold weather and snow, more than 650,000 people, including nearly 5,500 journalists from more than 40 countries, attended the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)Jan. 11-25 at Detroit's Cobo Center where more than 700 vehicles were displayed in 2.4 million sq. ft. of space.

With an increase of exhibitors over the 2008 show, the 2009 NAIAS unveiled 53 new vehicles, including 34 worldwide debuts and 19 North American debuts. In addition, more than $2.6 million was raised for children's charities at the annual black-tie charity preview.

The event featured attractions by exhibitor participants including the American Red Cross SE Michigan Chapter, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Denso Corp., Ferris State University, Macomb Community College, Michigan's Secretary of State, Northwood University, SAE International's A World in Motion program, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, State Farm Insurance and Walsh College. One Chinese car manufacturer, Build Your Dream Co., showed its stable of cars. One was a gas/electric hybrid, but there's no current plans for U.S. dealers.

The future of driving
Chrysler's new 200C EV Sedan concept, an all-electric, high-style vehicle that represents the pinnacle of the company's recent improvements in product quality, energy technology and design was unveiled at the show.

Chrysler's new ENVI all-electric power train technology is the basis of many concept vehicles the company displayed at NAIAS. The group includes a tangerine-colored Dodge Circuit EV, a Jeep Patriot EV and the 200C EV.

Some unique features are offered by Chrysler's 200C EV such as organic materials in the interior and one that offers a virtual chaperone for teen drivers, including speed-limiting and parent notification if their child is driving erratically.

Ford Motor Co. used the show for the world premiere of its redesigned 2010 Ford Taurus and Ford Mustang GT500, along with announcing plans for electric vehicles.

General Motors had a parade of new vehicles including the 2010 Cadillac SRX, Buick Lacrosse, and Chevrolet Equinox, along with a concept vehicle collection including the new microcar Chevrolet Spark and Cadillac Converj, which is a two-door, all-electric crossover.

Overall, GM emphasized big fuel efficiency gains by using electric and hybrid power trains, along with its styling evolution and global footprint. Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and CEO, stressed that the company is leveraging its product strength to move beyond its current financial and sales problems. FFJ

To view more images from the Detroit Auto Show, click here.

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Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
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