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PREVIEW: 2008 NAIAS to Welcome Five Chinese Automakers to its Lineup and Many More Surprises

PHOTO BY MIKE ISMAIR / ©'s Jason Rzucidlo reports LIVE from Cobo Center for the NAIAS.

by Jason Rzucidlo



DETROIT -- The 2008 North American International Auto Show will be bigger and better than ever before. Five...Five Chinese automakers will be showing off their vehicles at the show for the first time in a little over 10 days from right now. Over 50 concept cars and production models will be unveiled inside Detroit's Cobo Center.

The NAIAS will open its doors to the media from Jan. 13 through 15. The industry preview will take place on Jan. 16 and 17. The charity preview will be held on Jan. 18. The public will have its chance to see the auto show beginning on Jan. 19 and ending on Jan. 27. is proud to be the ONLY website in the world with FREE tickets to the auto show. Click here for your chance to win! was the first website in the world to announce which concept cars will be displayed (9/24/07) and which production models would be on display (9/21/07).

The five Chinese automakers that will have their vehicles on display include BYD Auto, CHAMCO Auto, Changfeng Group, Geely International Corp., Li Shi Guang Ming Auto Design Co. Ltd. and ZXAuto China (Hebei Zhongxing). Geely and Changfeng will make return appearances to the Detroit show.

"We foresee another world-class show with a number of significant vehicle intros and a strong media presence," said Carl Galeana, Senior Co-Chairman of the 2008 NAIAS in the September edition of ShowTalk. "From every indication we've received from exhibitors, the 2008 show will host some stunning product debuts, attracting attention from media across the globe."

Many environmentally-friendly vehicles will be shown off at the auto show. These are vehicles that run on energies other than gasoline such as ethanol, hydrogen and electricity. Sporty performance cars, pickup trucks and family haulers are among some of the vehicles to be displayed.

California companies Quantum Technologies and Fisker Coachbuild, LLC will introduce a plug-in hybrid vehicle. There is still no name for the production model that will be on display at the NAIAS. However, we know that about 15,000 of these vehicles will be produced at a price just under $100,000. The plug-in hybrid will be a luxury car that can be recharged with a standard home electrical outlet.

Chrysler is expected to unveil three concept vehicles -- one for each of its brands. The Jeep Renegade is a two-seat electric vehicle with a lithium-ion battery and a small diesel engine. The Dodge ZEO is a station wagon that runs only on electricity from a lithium-ion battery. The Chrysler ecoVoyager is a 4-door sedan that will operate on fuel cell batteries.

Ford will show off the world premiere of the next-generation F-150 pickup truck. This will be the twelfth generation of the best-selling pickup truck. It will be modeled after the Ford Flex, a crossover unveiled at the New York Auto Show. The new F-150 comes with the automaker's signature three-bar grille.

Ford will also unveil the Verve concept car. It will help the automaker meet demands for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Nissan will introduce its Forum concept car, a next-generation family transportation vehicle. It will have trackless sliding doors and no pillars between front and second rows of seating.

Mitsubishi's unnamed concept sports car will be a take off of the Evo X. It is going to have an aluminum space frame structure and a environmentally friendly turbo-diesel engine. It also features Mitsubishi's S-AWC vehicle dynamics control system.

Kia will unveil its 2009 Borrego seven passenger sport utility vehicle at the auto show. It will have three rows of seats. The Borrego will be offered with a 3.0 liter VGT diesel V6 engine, a 3.8 liter V6 engine or the new 4.6 liter V8 Hyundai Tau engine. It also comes with hill descent control.

Toyota is going to show off the A-BAT Concept Hybrid Truck. It will offer a mid-gate to allow cargo that's longer than the four foot bed to extend into the cab area. It will come with Toyota's signature Hybrid Synergy Drive and a 4-cylinder engine.

Mercedes-Benz will introduce its 2009 GLK-Class, a compact entry-level luxury crossover SUV. It will be built in Bremen, Germany. The GLK will be offered in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

BMW will unveil a number of concept cars and production models, many of which will run on diesel. The automaker will show off the 2009 X6, a midsize luxury crossover SUV. It will be the largest SUV offered by BMW with four doors. It is offered with a 4.4 liter V8 engine or a 3.0 liter gasoline engine.

Click here to view our complete listing of concept cars. Click here to view our complete listing of production models.

Supporting events to offer lots of surprises and celebrities

The NAIAS is a huge deal. When you look at all the supporting events for the auto show, Detroit becomes the center of attention for the world. A total of 14 supporting events will take place simultaneously with the auto show.

General Motors will hold its invitation-only Style event on Jan. 12, a day before the press preview of the auto show. Grammy winner Mary J. Blige will perform at the event. GM will unveil its concept cars and production models for the NAIAS here.

The Society of Automotive Analysts will host its 20th Annual Automotive Outlook Conference on Jan. 15. AutoNation chairman and CEO Mike Jackson will be the keynote speaker. The conference also includes forecasts from a panel of chief economists for the Big Three. It will be held inside the Detroit Marriott at Renaissance Center. The conference begins at 7 a.m.

The 12th Annual Urban Wheel Awards will be handed out on Jan. 15. The awards ceremony will take place at the Fox Theatre with a red carpet reception. Rosie Perez and Kevin Frazier will host the ceremony. Additional celebrities confirm to appear include Lisa Vidal, Musiq Soulchild, Sway, Amanda Amann, Tyson Beckford, DJ Funkmaster Flex, James Kyson Lee, among others.

The CEO's of four of the Chinese automakers at the NAIAS are holding a conference titled China Business Update. It will be a half-day seminar located at the Sheraton Detroit Riverside Hotel (formerly the Hotel Pontchartrain). The theme will be China's Emerging Automobile Market.

The 15th Annual AutoWeek Design Forum will take place on Jan. 16. The keynote speaker will be Jesse James, Owner of West Coast Choppers. "Design for Fun" is the theme of the forum. The AutoWeek Editors' Choice Awards will also be presented. It begins at 8 a.m. at the Riverview Ballroom inside Cobo Center.

The NAIAS Charity Preview will be held on Jan. 18. Tickets are $400 each for this black-tie event. Six million dollars was raised for children's charities in 2007. Twelve local charities will benefit from 90 percent of ticket sales. The Barenaked Ladies will perform a 75-minute concert during the gala. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-888-838-7500 or by visiting

Automotive News will hold its 32nd Annual World Congress at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. More than 30 speakers will address over 800 people from Jan. 21 through 24. The keynote speakers are Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Alan Mulally and Volkswagen of America President and CEO Stefan Jacoby.

We'll see you at the auto show! Stay with for complete coverage of the 2008 NAIAS. Look for reviews, interviews, pictures and video that you won't find anywhere else. We'll have the show covered from every angle.

Click here to Win FREE Tickets to the public show!'s coverage of the 2008 NAIAS is sponsored by The Omni Detroit Hotel at River Place, The Dow Event Center in Saginaw and by


Sketch courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

This prototype Honda Pilot will be unveiled at the 2008 NAIAS.


Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The Mazda Furai will get its worldwide debut at the 2008 NAIAS.



:: Return to Our Coverage of the 2008 NAIAS ::



January 17 - 20, 2008

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This page was last updated on Wed, January 2, 2008 11:12 PM


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