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Published: Wednesday, 1/21/2009

Car lovers get bonuses at Toledo show


Chris Bopery polishes an Audi A5 in preparation for tomorrow's opening of the 2009 Toledo Auto Show in SeaGate Convention Centre in downtown Toledo. Chris Bopery polishes an Audi A5 in preparation for tomorrow's opening of the 2009 Toledo Auto Show in SeaGate Convention Centre in downtown Toledo.

It's been a long time since the Greater Toledo Auto Show featured cars that auto enthusiasts couldn't see at the event's much larger cousin in Detroit, the North American International Auto Show.

But that's the case this year. Although several automakers, including Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. pulled out of the Detroit show, local auto dealers selling the company's brands will be on exhibit this week in SeaGate

Conention Centre in downtown Toledo. The show starts tomorrow at 3 p.m. and runs through Sunday afternoon.

"Nissan is here, and for the first time ever, we'll have Scion too," said Nikki Bragg, a spokesman for the Toledo Auto Dealers Association, which organizes the annual local show.

The Toledo car show, although it competes directly with the Detroit show, is smaller and more intimate, with about 200 vehicles on display, compared with about 700 in Detroit.

But this year's show will feature many of the same vehicles that are on display 50 miles north, including one of just a handful of Audi Q5 compact sport utility vehicles in the United States, and a variety of 2010 models and dual-mode hybrids from several domestic and foreign automakers.

The Greater Toledo Auto Show, "is kind of like the dealerships being closed on Sundays," said John Yark, of the Yark Automotive Group and one of the show's organizers. "It gives people an opportunity to look at vehicles in a nonsales atmosphere. It's a great opportunity for people to go see everything that's available. And we keep tweaking it to bring more and more things so that it's more of a family affair."

No car sales are permitted at the show.

This year's show will feature several 2010 models, including Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro muscle cars, Buick LaCrosse, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan, and Ford Fusion sedans, and hybrid versions of the Fusion, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, and Chevrolet Malibu, Ms. Bragg said.

The local dealers group doesn't release attendance figures for its annual show, but Ms. Bragg said she is hopeful auto enthusiasts will decide to save money by coming to the show instead of traveling to Detroit.

"We always compete with Detroit, but with the way everything's going, we're hoping to have a good turnout. We've had a lot of interest," Ms. Bragg said.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:


or 419-724-6091.

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