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2011 Knoxville Car Show a Huge Success

By John Disque

Over the past weekend (Feb 25-27, 2011) I attended the 2011 car show at the Convention Center sponsored by the Knoxville News Sentinel. Admission was a very reasonable $8.00 with seniors getting a discount and children getting in free.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I walked through the fair-site and through the doors of the Convention Center. I must say I got a warm welcome by security and management as I made my way down the escalators and to the floor. Once there I would witness even more hospitality and hundreds of people asking all the right questions.

If this wasn't proof that the economy is rebounding nothing ever will be. The public is getting ready to get the auto industry back on its feet, and the auto industry is prepared. The main difference today is that people are more careful with their purchases. They're not going to plunk down their money unless they're completely happy with the car, and each car must meet a checklist of their own specific needs. The automakers seemed to be preparing for this while they dealt with lagging sales from the past few years of a bad economy.

With 20 manufacturers represented, thousands of people attending, and plenty of questions the event promised to be a success and it did not disappoint.

Today's agenda: High-tech - computer everything, beautiful paint, comfortable seating, fuel economy and/or plenty of horsepower.

Ryan Anderson of Maryville said he was there because his boy (Daniel) wanted to attend the event. "He loves the high performance cars and loves computers so I wasn't about to let him down. He's having a great time and I'm glad we came. He's teaching me as we go and I'm learning a lot," Anderson said.

Speaking of kids, there were many there and they all seemed to be having a great time. Some events held at the Convention Center have a children's area, but this one didn't seem to need it. In fact, the kids seemed to be more car savvy, interested and having more fun than most of the adults.

Most of the cars were open so you could have a seat, check the comfort and the dash panel to see if the car spoke to you on a personal level. Over the years, most of the attention in the auto industry has been on exterior, emissions and performance, but the interior is usually the deciding factor on purchasing the car. The driver's seat is where the person spends all their time. If they're not comfortable and the interior doesn't address their personal needs they'll keep searching. Today all of that has changed. Most of the interiors showed incredible detail, personal touches and controls within arm's reach.

Big trucks are not going out of style any time soon. People keep predicting that trucks will get smaller as the public focuses on fuel economy, but that isn't the case. At this event the trucks seemed to be getting more attention than many of the cars, and they certainly weren't small.

The event also had a $25,000 giveaway towards the purchase of a new vehicle offered by The Knoxville News Sentinel, free electric-car test drives offered by Nissan, food, off-topic venders and more.

Venders included: Hyundai Mitsubishi Nissan Mini BMW Honda Toyota Lincoln Lexus Mazda Dodge Chevy Cadillac Toyota Buick Jeep GMC Chrysler Buick Scion

Published March 1, 2011

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