GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan International Auto Show opens in Grand Rapids Thursday morning.
If you haven’t been able to check out that vehicle you’ve been thinking of buying in person, the auto show is your chance.
From practical family haulers to EVs or something fun to drive, it’s all at the DeVos Place.
There’s also some nostalgia, like the Ford Bronco Sport Heritage edition.
“It kind of looks like 60s, 70s look to it. But obviously it has all of the technology that we enjoy today,” Adrienne Robins with Ford said.
For dealers and manufacturers who want to sell you your next car, the show is a conversation starter.
“It gives us a chance to talk to customers. It also gives people a chance to see what’s coming up with Ford, what they’re looking at in the future. Some of these vehicles aren’t even on the lot yet,” Robins said.
The challenge for show organizers is filling the floor.
It’s not just the lingering impact of COVID-19 and supply chain shortages. Some manufactures that used to supply the display cars are finding ways other than auto shows to market their vehicles.
You won’t see Honda, Mercedes or Volvo on the floor. You will see 25 other manufacturers, including Stallantis brands.
“Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, they unfortunately could not participate last year. They’re here with a big presence this year. We’re excited about that,” said Dawn Baker with Showspan.
Baker credit local dealers for the busy floor at this year’s show.
“Vehicles are such an emotional purchase. They are an extension of your personality to a degree,” said George Sharpe Junior, whose dealership’s offerings incudes Land Rover, BMW, Mini Cooper and Jaguar brands. “So you want to be able to sit in, feel it, drive it before you do buy it.”
It’s the 25th year for the show.
Electric vehicles are the big stars, like the Ford F-150 Lighting and Mach-E.
“We also have the Cadillac Lyric. That’s kind of like the showcase this year to actually have that here. You can’t even see it in a dealer’s showroom,” Baker said.
Along with the latest models, the show features the Michigan Auto Salon and its exotic vehicle collection, along with the Gilmore Car Museum.
“Another brand new feature that celebrates the journey — the road if you will — to where we are today with electric. Starts with a vehicle from 1903, the Columbia,” Baker said.
There’s also displays featuring West Michigan’s contributions to the auto industry from companies like Gentex and Pridgeon & Clay.
“In addition to that, we have a lot of companies, tier one, two, three, the manufactures, that get tickets for their teams, so that the local employees who are really making the components that are on these vehicles out here, can some down to the show and see their work,” Baker said.
The show open to the public Thursday. For times and ticket information, go to showspan.com.