North American International Auto Show kicks off in Metro Detroit

By Allen Jordan

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The 2013 North American International Auto Show will be rolling through downtown Detroit this weekend, showcasing its annual event with the world watching.

The 2013 Cadillac ATS and 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 were named car and truck of the year by JD Power and Associates, beating out the Ford Fusion and Mazda CX-5 for the honor.

The win for Cadillac is the first for the luxury American car company and the first for Dodge since 1984.

New features for the ATS were inspired by the company and its idea to expand into the entry-luxury concept taking aim at luxury competitors such as the BMW 3 series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Cadillac looks to get in on the eco-friendly fuel movement offering the 2013 ELR model. The battery-driven coupe is based on the same technology as the Chevy Volt with both being produced at the GM Detroit-Hamtramack plant in a $1 billion dollar investment venture that includes both vehicles.

The new Ram includes the addition of an eco-diesel engine with a 8-speed transmission.  Inside car features include voice-connecter software in Chrysler’s latest version of the Uconnect infotainment system.

Jeep’s 2013 Grand Cherokee goes in a different direction this year with the change to a Ecodiesel engine in the mid-sized SUV.

Both Chrysler-Dodge models will be produced at the Detroit Jefferson Assembly Plant in Detroit.

The 2013 Ford Fusion looks to capture patrons attention offering the option of buyers to choose between three gas engines as well as a hybrid engine and plug-in hybrid version.

Ford and Chevy take a trip back in time with the F-150 and Corvette lines. Ford will be showcasing its 1948 model of the classic truck in hopes of sparking renewed interest in the pickup and Chevy will be unveiling its new 2013 Chevy Corvette Stingray version of the vintage sports car.

Automakers look to be more interactive with customers this year with more hands-on activity for fans to take part in with touchscreen displays and Mac computers that serve as a guide models being showcased.

“What we wanted to do this year was give patrons a feel for the product before they see the car,” said Paul Hemsworth, executive creative director for George P. Johnson Experience Marketing Agency.

The local business, located in Auburn Hills, works directly with Chrysler in designing their displays for events such as the auto show.  The Chrysler display will be featured at upcoming shows in Chicago and Cleveland.

The event runs from Saturday until Jan. 27 and is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. with no admittance after 9 p.m. every day, except the 27th when it will be closed at 7 p.m. with no admittance after 6 p.m.