The Hello Bar is a simple web toolbar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Advertise on Detroit Moxie

Search Detroit Moxie
Connect with me

Get your Detroit Moxie gear!


Most Recent

« Detroit Moxie's Weekend Roundup | Main | The Super-Secret Detroit TED event Delivers »

Highlights, tips & photos from the 2011 NAIAS

The 2011 version of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) arrived at Cobo Center this week with an air of excitement and a look to the future. The media days are behind us, the industry and charity previews are this week, and the Auto Show opens to the public on Saturday, January 15th.

With 700 cars on the showroom floor there is a lot to see and do. Here are a few of my highlights.

Head downstairs and check out the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s “Smarter Living in Michigan” exhibit. It features Michigan-made innovation and clean energy in a town square environment. From batteries to wind, LED lights, and charging stations; it’s all about green, renewable, and sustainable energy.

While I was there, Governor Snyder had a quick press conference and walked the showroom floor. He stressed that innovation and entrepreneurship are what will make Michigan thrive, “innovation is the driver, not technology.” When asked how he likes his new job he pointed out that he’s only been at it for a few days but that, “it’s a good job.”

Govenor Snyder at NAIAS for the MEDC.

Also in the Smarter Living area is the Ride and Drive Track featuring electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. For the press days, we were allowed to drive the cars ourselves around the mini-track. I took the electric Smart Car for a spin. It’s perfect for Europe and cities like New York and Chicago but I’d give it a pass here in Detroit. It gets about 80 miles on a full charge and there is distinctive whirring noise.

Ford and Chevy both had fun, interactive displays and are a must see. At the Ford display you can race slot cars around a track and test your driving skills on a virtual road course on the Fiesta Rally Simulator.

Over at Chevy, they were also playing virtual driving games. The coolest interactive display was the Camaro Convertible photo op. They encourage you to jump while they snap your photo and you can instantly share with Twitter and Facebook or send it as an email or text. Take a look at my Camaro photo.

If you’re into design the College for Creative Studies and the Michelin display are both very creative and worth a look.

Tips for surviving NAIAS & things to do:

  • Check your coat or leave it in the car! It gets hot under the lights.
  • Bring cash if you plan to grab a snack or check your coat.
  • Take the People Mover, it’s only 50 cents.
  • If you’re taking tons of photos, first shoot one of the information placard or the back end of the vehicle. This way you won’t confuse the vehicles when going through them later.
  • Niki’s Pizza in Greektown is offering 20% your food bill until January 24th. Just show your NAIAS ticket or badge.
  • Auto Show Bar Tour from Inside Detroit. Check out a few bars with a local and special drink prices.

More tips for the Auto Show from last year.

Now for the car eye candy!

2011 Ford Explorer

Boss Mustang.

Slot car racing at the Ford display.

Fiesta Rally Simulator

One of the designs from CCS. Photo courtesy of College for Creative Studies.


Car from The Green Hornet.

Ford C-Max

Call of Duty: Black Ops Jeep.

Old Fiat 500.



Mini Paceman

Camaro photo op.


Chevy Sonic

U of M Solar Car in the Smarter Living exhibit.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (4)

Becks you did it again, this is the most complete and thorough overviews of the auto show I have read yet this year. I was a little excited to go this year, but now I am cannot wait till it opens. I always look forward to seeing all the new cars, but had no idea about Michigan Economic Development area. This is a definate must see on my list.
Your tips are great. Thanks

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNoah Babcock

"I took the electric Smart Car for a spin. It’s perfect for Europe and cities like New York and Chicago but I’d give it a pass here in Detroit."

Why do you say that?

Thanks for a fun summary. Great photos!

January 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Thanks Noah, glad you enjoyed!

When I lived in the UK I wanted a Smart Car and would have bought one if we still lived there. It's perfect for the narrow streets and you can park them anywhere. I also think it suits cities like Chicago and New York where you don't really need a car but they are convenient to have for certain errands. Detroit is much more spread out. I'd still consider a hybrid but the Smart is too small.

I just wish they weren't so damn cute!

January 12, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

That GM EN-V looks like the thing Tom Cruise drove around in "Minority Report."

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPJ Lincoln

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>