Ford Grabs Show-Floor Real Estate In Detroit


Ford, which says it now has its largest consumer display in the world at Detroit's Cobo Hall for the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), is enjoying increased attendance, already up 6% for the first two days.

The company says its display comprises 75 vehicles, 22 interactive exhibits and 67 product specialists, is 25% larger than last year's and is larger than a football field. The automaker says its display includes an elevated track on which attendees can ride the Focus Electric car.

"We've moved from one-way communication to full-blown two-way communication and total engagement with visitors," said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, global marketing, sales and service, in a statement. "Futuristic concept cars and simple narrations about products have been augmented by or replaced with product interaction, hands-on technology displays, conversations with knowledgeable hosts and even games."



The automaker is also using the show to explain how electric powertrains work and the difference between electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Ford's "Living Electric" exhibit is a mix of displays, digital tutorials, lectures and demonstrations by "product specialists", and games.

Ford also has a replica of the Laguna Seca raceway done up as a giant slot car track where visitors can test a scale-model Mustang Boss 302, and a kiosk with the not-yet-released Electronic Arts video game Need for Speed Shift 2.

NAIAS says attendance this year is up, and that the show is exceeding last year's attendance figures for the second consecutive day. According to the organization, attendance is up 6% so far with the first two days up over 3% each versus last year. The show's organizers say 87,000 people came on Saturday, and 99,000 on Sunday.

"We're currently trending to meet our goal of 725,000 to 750,000 attendees," said Barron Meade, NAIAS chairman, in a statement. Monday is likely to be well attended because most people aren't at work, he said.

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