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Automotive

Toledo caters to car shoppers

Auto show patrons can browse at a leisurely pace

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    Dick Corado and his wife, Nathalie, of Oregon examine a 2015 Jeep Cherokee at the Toledo Auto Show.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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    Cliff Ruggles of Marblehead, Ohio, looks at a 2015 Fiat on the first day of the show at the SeaGate Convention Centre.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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Dick Corado and his wife, Nathalie, of Oregon examine a 2015 Jeep Cherokee at the Toledo Auto Show.

THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Among the first visitors to arrive at the Greater Toledo Auto Show Thursday were Dick and Nathalie Corado, who were there on a mission.

“My grandson needs an automobile, he’s in the Marine Corps. We’ve got an ’03 Chrysler Town & Country and I’ve got a Dodge Journey. But he needs one kinda bad,” Mr. Corado said.

The Oregon couple would like to buy a new car for Mrs. Corado and give one of the cars they have now to their grandson.

“We have to go with Chrysler because she’s retired from Chrysler. That’s where our pension is coming from,” Mr. Corado said.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2015 Toledo Auto Show

Mrs. Corado had her eye on a new Town & Country minivan, but she also liked a cherry-red Chrysler 200.

“Our kids are grown, our grandkids are grown and the only thing is, do I really need all of that?” Mrs. Corado said glancing at all the features and options on the Chrysler 200.

Organizers of the annual event say the show is geared toward people like the Corados.

For all its glamour, the Detroit auto show isn’t the best if you’re actually in the market for a new vehicle, said Mike Rouen, chairman of this year’s Greater Toledo Auto Show.

“If you want to go look at a car it’s difficult,” he said of Detroit. “There’s huge crowds, it’s hard to park, you’ve got to drive all the way up there. What’s great about the Toledo Auto Show in my mind is it’s a more intimate setting.”

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Cliff Ruggles of Marblehead, Ohio, looks at a 2015 Fiat on the first day of the show at the SeaGate Convention Centre.

THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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Doug Deacon of Whitehouse was also there to shop Thursday, looking for a new truck or SUV to replace his pickup.

“I like to come here. You get to sit in them. You’ve got to get the feel of them. … This is such a nice alternative to Detroit. You don’t have to deal with the traffic or the crowds,” Mr. Deacon said.

Still, automakers manage to pack a couple hundred cars into the SeaGate Convention Centre for the show. A total of 26 manufacturers are represented this year. Show-goers can see everything from the Chevrolet Corvette to the high-tech BMW i3 electric.

Bill and Pat Seles of Graytown, Ohio, were there to check out the luxury cars. They took a minute to look at a stunning silver Lexus, but said Lincoln was at the top of their list.

“We’re looking at the new Lincoln MKZs. We’re Lincoln folks,” Mrs. Seles said.

“Unless we see something else,” Mr. Seles corrected.

“But we always buy American,” Mrs. Seles added.

That auto-town spirit also helps bring in the crowds, Mr. Rouen said. He noted a recent report that one in eight workers in Ohio is employed in the auto industry.

“I think [the show] is interesting to most people in our community because we’re all so dependent on it,” he said.

In addition to the cars, there are some interactive displays and contests. Guests can also buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a high-powered Cobra replica that’s being given away by the Ohio Cobra Club.

Club President George Daulton said the club has given away a car in each of the last 12 years. This year’s roadster is a Superformance 20th Anniversary edition that cranks out more than 500 horsepower. The tickets are $10 each and no more than 10,000 will be sold.

All the proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Mr. Daulton said the group has given $900,000 to the foundation over the last 12 years.

“We enjoy helping kids and having fun with our cars,” he said. “The show’s not easy to put on, it’s not easy to get the car built, but we do it, we have fun doing it. You can have fun doing something and help somebody who needs help.”

Business writer Jon Chavez contributed to this report.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134 or on Twitter @BladeAutoWriter.

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