Industry experts visit Detroit's auto show

Posted at 10:13 AM, Jan 13, 2016

Industry experts now have their chance to visit the 2016 North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit. Cobo Center is packed, parking will be tight all week – and the show doesn’t even open to the public until Saturday.  

Wednesday and Thursday are “industry preview” days inside Cobo Center. Automakers and others in the business can purchase $95 tickets that allow their employees an early opportunity to see what their competitors are up to.

Sometimes, you’ll see automotive engineers attending the industry preview days with cameras and rulers, looking under hoods and comparing parts. More than 34,000 attended last year.

Monday and Tuesday were “press preview” days at the Detroit auto show.

Thousands of members of the press spent both days covering the big reveals. Many of those writers, photographers and bloggers have come to Detroit from outside the United States. Journalists are expected to represent news outlets from 60 different countries at this year's show.

It won't be until Saturday, Jan. 16, that the Auto Show actually opens to the public. By then, all of those visiting journalists will have spent the week sharing photos and video with their audiences and introducing a whole crop of new vehicles to potential buyers.

When you go to the public show, you’ll see all of the same vehicles as the journalists, but the press preview days allow automakers a chance to unveil their newest designs in truly grand style.

As if all of this doesn’t make for a uniquely Detroit sight, there’s one more thing that happens just before the show opens to the public on Saturday morning.

On Friday night, January 15, more than 12,000 people will attend the city’s glitziest event of the year.  Tickets to the auto show’s black tie “Charity Preview” are $400 and benefit a number of area children’s charities.

The Charity Preview event transforms the auto show into a world where women in gowns and men in tuxedos kick tires and celebrate Detroit’s biggest industry. Over the past ten years, organizers say it's raised $45 million.

WXYZ is the official television partner of the NAIAS Charity Preview. That night, even if you're at home on the couch, you can join hosts Stephen Clark and Carolyn Clifford as they present our “Red Carpet Charity Preview” live special beginning at 7 p.m.

The show’s aisles are then quickly cleared of their tables of champagne for Saturday morning’s big public opening. Tickets are already available for $13 (only $7 for seniors and children).

By the time the show opens, we’ll make sure you know what not to miss. 7 Action News crews will spend the entire week at the show.  Our team will cover all of the 2016 Detroit auto show press conferences and we’ll share photo galleries with our favorite cars and trucks at the show.

We’ll also be interested in hearing about your favorites from this year’s North American International Auto Show.

Use the #7AutoShow hashtag on Twitter to let us know what you think of all the new vehicles this week.