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REVIEW: 2008 NAIAS attracts 702,814 people; a slight decline from last year

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

by Jason Rzucidlo



DETROIT -- Cold weather. A struggling Michigan economy. The absence of Porsche. Those are just some of the possible reasons for the slight dip in attendance at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, held at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.

This January, 702,814 people attended the auto show. That is 2,412 less people then last year. In 2007, there was 705,226 car lovers at the auto show. A year earlier, 759,310 people visited the show. Record attendance was set in 2003 when 810,699 people came. was proud to have seven members of our web team at the auto show. Those who covered the event include Jason Rzucidlo, Gloria Rzucidlo, Jerome Rzucidlo, Mike Ismair, Mike Wrathell, Sheila Franklin and Dana Bonner. Additional members of our web team covered supporting events including Garrett Godwin, Cymone Allwood and Jennifer Vuong.

I had the opportunity to interview 2008 NAIAS Senior Co-Chairman Carl Galeana. The interview was recorded LIVE at the auto show on Sunday, January 13 during press week. Click here to listen to my exclusive interview with Carl Galeana.

"We are a major auto show to the industry," Galeana said. "If someone wants to make a statement, they want to debut in Detroit because it's an industry show."

Porsche chose not to display any of its vehicles this January at the auto show. Galeana responded: "Porsche decided to market their vehicles where they sold their cars. They sold about 237 vehicles in Michigan and they sell like about 4,000 in their other markets: New York, Miami, Denver, Philadelphia and Chicago.

"That being said, we've lost people in the past. Mitsubishi left and they've come back. Naturally, we understand Porsche's decision and would love to have them back. Hopefully, we will."

My favorite cars at the auto show were the Dodge ZEO, Chrysler ecoVoyager and the Jeep Renegade. These three are the latest concepts from the Chrysler family. The vehicles are electric and will reduce our nation's dependency on foreign oil. The designs of these vehicles are marketed towards younger drivers.

I was also impressed by the Chevy Camaro Bumblebee. The bright yellow exterior with the black stripes caught my attention.

When it comes to trucks, I think its hard to beat the F-150. However, Dodge is making a bold statement with its new Ram pickup. I particularly like the Ram Box feature, which allows space for golf clubs to be locked within the two storage bins that are built into the sides of the pickup's bed area.

2008 NAIAS attracted lots of celebrities at supporting events's Cymone Allwood and Jennifer Vuong attended the Urban Wheel Awards at the Fox Theatre. Dozens of celebrities and auto executives showed up for the big night on the red carpet. Of those who attended: Rosie Perez, Martha Reeves, Evander Holyfield, Jamie Foster Brown, Lisa Vidal, Drew Sidora among many others. Click here for a full report on the Urban Wheel Awards.

Gloria Rzucidlo and I attended the AutoWeek Design Forum. West Coast Choppers owner Jesse James was the featured speaker. He came with no prepared speech. James' wife, actress Sandra Bullock, also made an appearance at the event. Click here to watch Jesse James' speech. Click here to watch the AutoWeek Editor's Choice Awards. Click here for a full report on the AutoWeek Design Forum.'s Mike Wrathell attended a conference titled "China's Emerging Automobile Market" at the Sheraton Detroit Riverside Hotel (formerly Hotel Pontchartrain). All five Chinese automobile manufacturers that had vehicles on display at the auto show spoke at this conference. Click here to read a full report on "China's Emerging Automobile Market."

For the first time, Garrett Godwin and I attended the Automotive News World Congress. It took place at a new location -- inside the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. In previous years, the event was held at the Dearborn Hyatt. Over 35 automotive executives spoke at the conference including Ford Motor Company's President and CEO Alan Mulally and Chrysler's Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli. Click here for a full report on the Automotive News World Congress.

Another exclusive: We've added seven videos from that auto show that you can watch on your computer. This includes LIVE unveilings by Honda, Hyundai and Mitsubishi. Also, look for Jesse James' speech during the AutoWeek Design Forum and the Editor's Choice Awards presentation. We've also included an interview on the Chevy Tahoe "Boss" and the 2009 Nissan GT-R. Click here to watch our exclusive videos from the 2008 NAIAS. was proud to be the ONLY website in the world with FREE tickets to the public show days of the auto show. This year, we gave away three pairs of tickets. Our lucky winners were Kim Kazusky from Northville, MI, Dave Witzman from Flushing, MI and Jennifer Brief from Manchester, MI. Congratulations!!

I really enjoyed the 2008 NAIAS. There was so much to see at the auto show. If you only went for one day, you missed a lot. Our goal was to help you see as much as possible with our coverage of the show. I attended the show four of the five days of Press Week and I barely saw everything.

Bottom line: Americans needs to start buying cars built by GM, Ford and Chrysler in order to save our jobs. If you buy from a foreign manufacturer, you are costing our country another American job that will be lost. Especially when these Chinese manufacturers start selling in the U.S., it is important to buy American. Porsche needs to come back to the auto show. Where was Michigan International speedway this year?

We'll see you in 2009...'s coverage of the 2008 NAIAS is sponsored by The Omni Detroit Hotel at River Place, The Dow Event Center in Saginaw and by



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



The Chrysler group always makes a splash with its reveals at the auto show. This year, the Dodge Ram was unveiled behind a herd of 120 cattle, flown in from Oklahoma, along Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit.



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



January 17 - 20, 2008

The Dow Arena

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This page was last updated on Sun, February 3, 2008 12:22 PM


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