Amy and Brett Bethel pushed two strollers through the maze of vehicles at the 2009 Greater Toledo Auto Show yesterday.
They were smiling, and the kids - 2-year-old Kennedy and 6-month-old Keaton - were content. But a familiar feeling of fleeting youth hung over the young couple.
"We're looking for what will be best for our family, since it's grown. The lease on my Jeep Liberty is up in September, so we're looking at either a bigger SUV," said Mrs. Bethel, pausing, "or a minivan."
The Bethels were among scores of people who came through the doors of the SeaGate Convention Centre yesterday afternoon to amble through a crowded field of sedans, coupes, pickups, crossovers, minivans, SUVs, and hybrids at the show. More than 200 vehicles fill the floor of the downtown center, including several 2010 models.
Ken Foster of Perrysburg Township carefully looked over one of the automotive industry's newest models, a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado dual-mode hybrid, for several minutes before passing judgment with a shrug.
"It's OK. But that to me is the real star of the show," Mr. Foster said, pointing across the room to a stylish new Buick sedan.
Mr. Foster said he passed on attending the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week in favor of the show in Toledo because he said the local show better represented the community.
"Toledo is a little more laid back," he explained. "It's a nice show. It gives you a look - the oohs and aahs, the things you can't afford - without someone bothering you."
The hybrid pickup Mr. Foster was checking out was one of several dual-mode vehicles on display. Once confined to the Toyota Prius, the technology that allows an automobile to be powered by electrical current instead of an internal combustion engine has migrated to other makers, and other types, of vehicles.
Michael and Shirley Couch, though, weren't so much interested in new drivetrain technology as they were new styling. The Toledo couple roamed the show floor for the first time ever, climbing in and out of vehicles and appreciating their aesthetics.
"I'm looking for something eye-catching," explained Mr. Couch, who said he owns a 1975 Chevrolet Corvette. "I really like that Jeep [Compass] over there. It's different."
Also yesterday, Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner held a press conference urging Toledoans to support the domestic auto makers by purchasing a new automobile.
"It's time for us to put the American worker - and the American economy - first," he said.
The show runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and tomorrow, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Seagate Centre downtown.
Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: