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Detroit auto show attendance rises again

Associated Press • Jan 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM

DETROIT — The Detroit auto show drew big crowds Sunday at the renovated Cobo Center as patrons tried for last-minute peeks at the shiny vehicles, helping to push attendance to 815,575 visitors this year, which included the president of the United States.

Sunday's crowd finished at 104,263, according to the North American International Auto Show website figures. Attendance overall broke last year's attendance of 808,775.

Ki-Jana Malone, a Wayne State University freshman, was among those checking out the popular vehicles on Sunday, the last day. The annual auto show offers car lovers a chance to see new models and the latest developments in automotive technology.

Malone got into the driver's seat for a quick inspection of the Audi S-5 Cabriolet. She said she's an auto show regular and wouldn't have missed the chance to check it out.

"I like how it highlights Detroit," said Malone,18, who was attending the auto show with her family. "I like the sleekness and the new technology in the cars like the wireless (options)."

The flashy car exhibits have pulled more people into the auto show each year.

Derek Burger, a Canton Township resident, sat in a Burgundy 2016 GMC Sierra 1500, with his 8-year-old son to get a feel for the vehicle.

Burger said the event was great.

"I like it," said Burger.

Ricardo and Sylvia Thomas were among those who see the show as a yearly family ritual. The couple, who own a Volkswagen Passat, were looking at the stonewashed blue metallic 2016 VW Beetle Denim convertible.

Sylvia Thomas, a school counselor, said she is happy to see Detroit shine as people flock to the city to see the car show.

"I like to see my city showcased," said Thomas.

For Lee Winkler, a Warren resident, it was a chance to see what the competition had to offer. Winker, a retired Chrysler worker, sat in a white limited edition of the Ford F-150.

Loyal to his former employer, Winkler said "there's still no competition" as he exited the sleek Ford truck which got a lot of attention.

Winkler's sons Steve and Aaron took in the show with him.

"This year's exhibits are incredible," said Steve Winkler looking around at the flashy exhibits.

"Considering the old (auto shows), there's no comparison," said Winkler giving approval to the revamped auto shows.

Several vehicles, which included a cobalt blue Buick Avista and the red Lexus LC 500 that will be released next year, were among the show's favorites.

"I love the color," said Ann Marie Tomko of Monroe. "I'm a truck girl but it is sharp."

Tomko said it was her first time attending the auto show and was grateful for the free tickets her boss gave her.

The nine-day show closed Sunday.

Last year, some 808,775 people attended the show breaking a 12-year attendance record. The auto show began in 1907.

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