On April 5, the 2006 Dallas Auto Show will welcome visitors to its 25th Anniversary celebration. Since 1982, this five-day event has continued to grow in square footage, attendance and popularity to become one of the premier auto shows in the nation as well as one of the most exciting events in Dallas.
"My family has been in the automobile business for more than 40 years, so I have ’grown up’ with the Dallas Auto Show," said Bobby Baillargeon, 2006 Dallas Auto Show chairman.
"I remember working for my family’s dealership at the earlier Shows, (in the mid-80’s) and how bad my knees hurt from standing all day long. I also remember walking with Rodger Meier (who loved cars and the car business more than anyone I’ve met to date) and my father through the show admiring all the new cars and trucks from the various manufacturers. It was always the best time to look at all the changes on the newest models," he added.
Prior to 1982, the auto show at the State Fair of Texas each fall was the only local outlet for consumers to see multiple line makes at the same place and at the same time. So, Lee Maas of Classic BMW, along with a contingent of other dealers including then-dealers Lyle Ozmun and Ralph Gaden, pitched the concept of a spring auto show to various dealers and manufacturers. The idea was well received, and the first Dallas Auto Show began to take shape. One hall at Market Hall was used the first year, and attendance was in the low five figures.
Two years later, all of Market Hall was filled to capacity with new cars and trucks and, in 1988 the show graduated to the larger Dallas Convention Center where 300,000 square feet of exhibit space was available. As the Dallas Convention Center has continued to expand, so has the Dallas Auto Show. This year, the show will occupy more than half a million square feet with an anticipated gate of close to 400,000 auto enthusiasts.
"The Dallas Auto Show has been successful from the start, but now it is recognized as a major U.S. Show, as far as the product/financial commitment from the manufacturers is concerned," Baillargeon said. Many of the manufacturers echo Baillargeon’s perspective on the Show. "The Dallas Auto Show provides a great venue for Nissan to showcase the enhancements we make to our vehicles," said John Spoon, regional vice president, Nissan’s South Central Region. We are constantly shifting to improve our products and the auto show helps us get that message across to consumers who attend the show."
"The Dallas Auto Show consistently offers us a great opportunity to showcase our latest product," said Michael Milad, director, Southwest Business Center. "The Chrysler Group will bring several new and exciting vehicles to the show including the 2007 Dodge Caliber, the 2007 Jeep Compass, as well as the 2007 Chrysler Aspen, all fresh from their North American International Auto Show reveals. For our SUV and truck customers, show attendees can experience the spacious Dodge Ram Mega Cab or the luxurious and capable Jeep Commander."
On display at the 2006 Dallas Auto Show will be more than 700 vehicles from the manufacturers’ 2006 lineups, with a variety of 2007s and concepts showcased as well.
Some of the 2007s and concept vehicles that are scheduled to appear include: the Buick Enclave concept; the Chevrolet Camaro concept, the 2007 Tahoe/Suburban/Avalanche and 2007 Aveo; the 2007 GMC Yukon Denali; the 2007 Saturn Sky and Aura concept; the 2007 Nissan Versa; the 2007 Chrysler Aspen, the 2007 Dodge Caliber and the 2007 Jeep Compass; the 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500, the 2007 Edge and 2007 Expedition; the 2007 Lincoln MKX, the 2007 Navigator and MKS concept; the 2007 Mercedes Benz S550 and 2007 GL450; and the 2007 Eclipse Spyder and Ralliart concept.
To celebrate the Dallas Auto Show’s 25th Anniversary, teams from Dallas Independent School District high schools will build Canstruction® displays using only cans of food as their medium. Teams of students, lead by architects and engineers, will build their displays based on the theme "Past, Present and Future of the Automobile Industry." The displays will be erected on Wednesday, April 5 in front of an audience of Dallas Auto Show visitors. At the conclusion of the show on Sunday, the displays will be disassembled, with all canned items being donated to the North Texas Food Bank. This year’s "Introductory Display" is just a prelude of things to come. In 2007, Canstruction’s first Junior Division event will be held in conjunction with the Dallas Auto Show.
Also new this year to the Dallas Auto Show will be the Toyota Off Road On Site Adventure, a challenging dirt and gravel course where auto show-goers can get behind the wheel of the 4x4 Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks and put them to the off-road test. The zig-zag, off-road course will include obstacles like moguls, logs, sand pits and berms. There will be a hill climb, acceleration run and evasive lane change.
Following registration and a brief orientation, participants will be paired with a professional driver who will ride along to give off-road tips and answer product-related questions. The event site will comprise approximately 100,000 square feet, including the course, registration tent and the truck display. The off-road course alone will require 440 cubic yards of dirt and 20 tons of gravel. Show-goers must be 18 years or older to drive and have a current driver’s license. Minors can attend the event with a parent/legal guardian. There will be no additional fee to drive or participate in the event.
"At the Dallas Auto Show we’ll have all our cars and trucks on display, looking shiny and new. But we also encourage people to get our trucks dirty at the Toyota Off Road On Site Adventure," said Jim Farley, Toyota vice president of marketing. "People will have the chance to get behind the wheel of our Tacoma and Tundra and see firsthand how well our trucks perform. It’s fun, challenging and informative all at the same time."
Other highlights of the 2006 Dallas Auto Show include: autograph signings with celebrities such as three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford; classic car exhibits, games and contests from the Media, and automotive products and services in the Allied Area.