Over 800,000 Attend The 2018 North American International Auto Show In Detroit

The final day of the NAIAS was deemed the first “Sensory Friendly Day." Lights and music were toned down for attendees with sensory issues.

The 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

The final day of the NAIAS was deemed the first “Sensory Friendly Day." Lights and music were toned down for attendees with sensory issues.

The auto show started on January 13 and lasted 16 days in which visitors had the chance to preview the latest innovations in the auto industry. According to The Detroit News, by the show’s sixteenth and final day on Sunday, attendance had reached a total of 809,161 visitors. That number is up from last year’s event, which lasted nine days for a total of 749,229 attendees, according to the show’s organizers.

The increase in patrons to the auto show is probably due to two factors. First, this year it featured the Future Automotive Career Exposition (FACE), which connected companies with thousands of prospective employees in all automotive industry levels.

Secondly, for the first time ever, lights and sounds were toned down so visitors who deal with sensory issues could participate. People living with sensory issues such as autism can have problems dealing with loud noises, flashing lights, crowds, and long lines. That’s why a “Sensory Friendly Day” was created. The Detroit Free Press reports that thanks to NAIAS, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, and the Autism Alliance of Michigan – organizers of the first Sensory Friendly Day – many auto enthusiasts who before were unable to take part and enjoy the auto show finally felt welcome to the event and attended for the first time ever. Doors opened at 8 a.m. There was no loud music, no flashing lights, and the monitors were static. Being able to be there in a more tranquil atmosphere made all the difference for the new visitors.

One of them was Emily Johns of Livonia, who is autistic. Her mother, Jennifer Jones said that crowds can cause anxiety and frustration to Emily. “This is the first time we are coming out to the auto show because we can finally do it as a family,” said Johns. “It would not be a pleasant experience if it weren’t for Sensory Friendly Day.”

Lt. Gov. Calley, whose own daughter is autistic, said “I love to encourage the inclusion of the autistic community. Inclusion doesn’t happen by accident; it happens when there is intentional effort to make it happen.” He added, “What the NAIAS is doing today is sending a clear and direct message that people with autism are welcome and that they are willing to make changes to include everybody.”

Fun Facts From The Auto Show

There were over 700 vehicles on display, including The Gallery, a collection of automobiles worth nearly $10 million, including the 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom, which made its auto show debut.

Fifty-two vehicles made their debut, seven made North American debuts and 10 special one-of-a-kind vehicles made their first appearance at an auto show.

The show had an estimated economic impact of $480 million to the regional economy, and an increase of $30 million from 2018, according to David Sowerby, the chief financial adviser, managing director and portfolio manager of Ancora Advisers.

An estimated 12,714 people attended the annual Charity Preview gala, which raised $5.1 million for children’s charities in Detroit and featured a performance by the Four Tops.

More than 5,000 journalists from 60 countries attended the press preview days.

Approximately 40,000 auto and tech industry designers, executives, developers and analysts from 2002 companies and 29 countries attended the industry preview days.

Automotive Highlights

Ford’s Live Augmented Presentation

People test the Ford Future Mobility VR Experience at the 2018 North American International Auto show
  Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Ford is showcasing new innovations at the 2017 North American International Auto Show with the company’s first-ever live augmented reality presentations, where customers can see underneath sheet metal with an interactive virtual demo.

“Think of augmented reality as the blending of virtual reality with real life,” says Garett Carr, Ford global auto shows manager. “It’s like having x-ray vision, with the power to take people deeper into our product and technology stories – it feels a little like magic.”

Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept Debuts

The new Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept car
  Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

“This is our vision for a new kind of flagship vehicle that embraces crossover capability without giving up the performance and luxury delivered by today’s top sedans,” said Kevin Hunter, president, CALTY Design Research. “The LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for the driver and passengers.”

The Lexus Black Panther Inspired LC Concept Coupe

Black Panther Car
  Tony Ding / AP Images

Worthy of a real superhero, The Lexus Black Panther Inspired LC Concept Coupe was on display at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Lexus and Marvel teamed up to combine the 2018 Lexus LC with Marvel’s superhero Black Panther. You can see them both in the feature film Black Panther, currently in theaters.