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Home/News and Feature Articles/Event Coverage/ **Major Shows and Events/

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The NAIAS returns to Detroit for its 26th edition.

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Acura revives its high performance NSX nameplate.

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2015 North American International Auto Show
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Story by Eric White, No Limits Magazine feature writer
Photos by author - reprint with permission only.


The floor of the Cobo Convention Center in downtown Detroit is ready for the first Press Day of the 2015 North American International Auto Show. All the cars are in their places. Scattered covered vehicles await their turn at the numerous spotlight unveilings. Five-thousand media types, and a couple thousand various industry-related persons are credentialed for the first two days of the event.

It's Monday, January 12th, and the weather outside is not too bad, for Detroit in the first month of a northern winter that is. The roads are snow-covered and treacherous, making for a three-hour trip that normally takes one and a half hours. Inside the hall, spotlights are positioned, stages dressed, and seating is arranged for the upcoming ten hours of press conferences, introductions and reveals. The day starts at 6:30 A.M., and the last press conference runs to 4:35 P.M.

It's a normal process for me to not follow the masses from stage to stage for each unveiling. I find that by letting the journalistic masses congeal around the current reveal, the congestion around the other displays is much relieved. This results in better photo opportunities. Still, there are the unthinking or uncaring attendees who refuse to recognize a guy with a camera. All part of the job.

After two days of inspecting and photographing the industry’s latest gems of sheet metal sculpture, conducting interviews with various automotive industry personalities, chasing a very hectic schedule of over fifty vehicle reveals press conferences located at far-flung corners of Cobo’s vast upper-level display floor can really wear a fellow out. But what an enormous feast to serve up on a car guy’s plate!

Historical heritage is always a good draw to any manufacturer's display. Ford presented one of the largest display areas, yet showed us relatively few vehicles. A large portion of its display ground was devoted to entertaining and feeding the attendees. And as with last year, an overhead observation deck featured display cases touting Ford’s racing history via dialog panels and exquisitely detailed scale models of Ford racing vehicles. Ranging from Henry’s stripped-down #999 land speed racer through modern day NASCAR replicas, this was a unique and educational display of FOMOCO competition history. Historic vehicles on display on the main floor included a 1966 GT-40, 1966 Shelby Mustang GT-350, 1966 F-150 dressed in full Baja regalia, and a 2006 Ford GT.

Alfa Romeo made use of its history as well, during the introduction of its new 4C series coupe and Spider. Past racing legends like the: 1932 Gran Premio B P3, 1951 Alfetta 159, and 1967 33 Stradale reminded all of the rich racing past of Alfa Romeo.

Toyota displayed a recent NASCAR series Camry replica, #18 of Kyle Busch, along with several other historical competition vehicles.

The return of Acura’s supercar model, the NSX, brought with it some of the event’s best promotional items in the form of an limited edition media kit (currently selling on Ebay for over $150) and 1/64th scale "Hot Wheel-type" diecast replica (currently selling in the $30-40 range).

Here is a rundown of the major reveals at this year’s NAIAS.

Acura—NSX
Alfa Romeo—4C & 4C Spider
Audi— Q3, Q7
Bentley—Bentayga
BMW—M6 Gran Coupe
Buick—Avenir concept, 2016 Cascada convertible
Cadillac—ATS-V, 2016 CTS-V
Chevrolet—Bolt, 2016 Volt
Ford—2016 GT, Mustang Shelby GT350-R, F-150 Raptor
GAC Group—GS4
Honda—FCV concept
Hyundi—Santcruz concept
Infiniti—Q60 concept
Jeep—Renegade X
Johnson Controls—ID15
Lexus—2016 GSF
Lincoln—2016 MKX
Local Motors—Strati (world’s first 3D-printed car)
Maserati—Alfieri concept
Mercedes-Benz—C350 plug-in hybrid, GLE Coupe
Mini—Cooper Superleggeria, John Cooper Works Mini
Nissan—2016 Titan V8
Porsche—911 Targa 4 GTS
Ram—Ram Rebel
Toyota—Tacoma
Volkswagen—Cross Coupe, NAIAS Car of the Year Golf
Volvo—CX90, S60

During preview week, the press has its special displays and media kits, while a week later, the public gets a more rational take on new-car offerings. At that time, all of the presentation stages are gone, replaced with expanded floor displays of new-car fare. Media kits are replaced with dealer sales brochures. The number of product specialists is stepped up a bit to meet the ten-fold increase in daily demand of an inquiring public. All of the current models (with the strange exception of Chevy's SS) are on exhibition for attendees to try on for size, and perhaps a swift kick on the tire and slam of the door.

This year total public attendance for eight days exceeded 800,000. The whole rigmarole comes back to Detroit in mid-January 2016. I’ll be there—several times.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider on the floor. In the rack are the new 4C coupe and the vintage 1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.

2015 BMW i8 hybrid.

Buick Avenir concept sedan.

New Cadillac ATS-V road ripper.

2015 Corvette Z06 convertible.

Chevrolet's 2015 Colorado in off-road ZR-2 trim.

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel.

NAIAS Truck of the Year, Ford F150. This is the Platinum Edition package.

Top performance Mustang GT350 in R (race) clothing.

Honda FCV concept display.

Infinity Q60 concept.

Maserati Alfieri concept.

Mini Superleggera Vision conpept convertible.

Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen powered concept.

Slated for production in late 2016, the new Ford GT supercar garnered a lot of attention. Various visual cues tie this new version with its predecessors.

1932 Alfa Romeo Gran Premio 159.

A representative of the Ford GT-40's first generation from 1966.

Another 1966 Ford, and the only standard-cab pickup in the whole show, is this vintage Team Abatti F-150.