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“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford

From the ‘Air capital of the world’ to the ‘Motor City’, we moved to Detroit, Michigan from Wichita, Kansas in 2003.  My husband, who worked in a company that made airplanes, was now going to be associated with making diagonstic tools for cars……it was a big change!

After living in Michigan for several years I gradually blended into the ways and lives of the automakers and the huge ‘after market industry’. Every terminology associated to the business, which sounded so new and strange to me, started to soon sound familiar.

There is probably no other city in the world that is so closely associated to cars as is Detroit.  Also known as the North American International Auto Show or NAIAS, Detroit hosts this show every year in the month of January. It is the most premier exhibition of cars and trucks.

Detroit Auto show 2011

We have had the opportunity of going to several of these shows. Our first visit to the Detroit auto show was in January 2011. We went for the Charity Preview.

Detroit Auto Show 2011: It was my first taste of the richness of this city.
Soon after the ribbon cutting, people started to stream into the Cobo Hall, in their finest gowns and tuxedos. Both Tanvir and I had dressed up appropriately. I knew that it would involve miles and miles of walking, so I completely avoided the stiletto heels. We took our camera with us and took lots of pictures, as requested by the kids, back at home. Inching from one hall to the other, we had this great opportunity to see some great looking and interesting cars that we normally don’t see on the streets.

One of our favorite exhibits that night was the Hot Wheels, which featured a grey Chevy Camaro Convertible. At the booth, we were asked to make a high jump into the air, while 27 cameras snapped, creating what looked like a moving image. We were then allowed to post that picture on Facebook. While we were doing so, a journalist from the Detroit Free Press approached us to ask us about our experience. Much to our surprise, we got phone calls from friends the next day to let us know that a huge picture of us had come out in the newspaper. We were completely blown away!

Tanvir Arfi, 40, and his wife, Benazir, 35, of Northville have some fun at the Hot Wheels exhibit during the 2011 North American International Auto Show Charity Preview at Cobo Center in Detroit on Friday. At the popular booth, 27 cameras snap multiple photos. / ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press

After a little taste of fame, we couldn’t wait for the the Auto show of 2012. We did go for the Charity Preview, however we also did take our kids when the show was open to the public.

Detroit Auto Show 2012
Detroit Auto Show 2012: 2012 was a very significant year for the auto industry. After the major financial crisis that had resulted GM and Chrysler to file for bankruptcy and after being bailed out, it was nice to see to that these companies were turning around. They were all turning out to be profitable and were able to deliver some great technology.

A must see! Simply click on the play button to view the video!!
In order to demonstrate the power and responsiveness of the Ford Ecoboost engine, an augmented reality experience was created by putting the visitors at the center of the daredevil stunt by legendary race car driver, Ken Block, in his Ford Fiesta with Ecoboost engine! It was very exciting to see ourselves on this huge TV screen!
The Car and Truck Award for the Year 2012 was bagged by Hyundai Elantra and Range Rover Evoque.
Hyundai Elantra (Car of the Year 2012)
Range Rover Evoque (2012 Truck of the Year)

Fast forward to 2013….

Detroit Auto Show 2013: Held at the Cobo Center, from January 14th-27th, the Detroit Auto show was opened for Press Preview on January 14th and 15th. It was open for the  “Industry Preview” on January 16th and 17th. The Industry Preview is a great networking opportunity for the automotive professionals. It was followed by the Charity Preview on January 18. And then it finally was open to the public from January 19th-27th.

We had initially planned to go for the Charity Preview but upon seeing the interest shared by both the kids, we decided to pre-pone our visit by a few days. Tanvir arranged for 4 tickets and we went there on one of the Industrial preview days.

It was a great experience to have the liberty of spending a lot of time between cars and car makers. Each one of us got our first hand experience in viewing  the latest and greatest for the year 2013. Both Ozy and Zain hopped in and out of their favorites. By the time we left Cobo center, Tanvir and I had already made a short list of our prospective buys.

Ford’s Model “A”

Celebrating 150 years of business, the Ford Motor Company’s booth was at its best! To celebrate 150 years, the man himself, who put the world on wheels, Henry Ford-actually enacted by hired actors, guided the guests around this years Ford booth. The tour began near an original 1903 Model “A”, taking the guests through his life history, while showing off the current line-up of Ford vehicles.

My favorite vehicles for the year 2013 were the Tesla Model “S”, the Infinity JX and the Mercedez B Class electric SUV.

Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model X, indeed looked like its from the future. Notice the doors or like the Tesla guys call them, “falcon wings”! I was very curious to find out how much space it would take in the garage! To my surprise the Tesla PR guy said “These doors can open in smaller places, than the minivan sliding doors.” They are hinged in the middle as well, which allows them to open without demanding any space at all on the side of the car. “Impressive indeed”, I thought!

Inside the Tesla Model X

BMW i8 Concept
Mercedes-Benz B-Class  Electric drive
1964 James Bond car, ‘Aston Martin DB5’

This iconic vehicle co-starred with Sean Connery in the movie, “Goldfinger” and appeared again with Daniel Craig in “Skyfall.”

Finally, the Car and Truck Award of the Year 2013 goes to…..
Cadillac ATS (2012 Car of the Year)
Dodge RAM 1500 (2012 Truck of the Year)