Monday, January 01, 2007

GM revamps auto show display

Thursday, December 07, 2006
GM revamps auto show display
Exhibit to highlight design
Sharon Terlep / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. is rebuilding from scratch its massive exhibit for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in an effort to highlight its new emphasis on stylish vehicle designs.

With about 6,000 media expected for the media preview kicking off Jan. 7 and an estimated 800,000 visitors during the following public days -- not to mention a national television audience -- the Detroit show is a critical platform for automakers to showcase their cars and trucks.

GM says the auto show display will complement its stylish new vehicle designs and showcase each of its eight brands.

The 120,000-square-foot display at Cobo Center will be about the same size as in past years, but will be sectioned off from its competitors with its own walls and ceilings -- creating a show-within-a-show feeling.

A bejeweled GM corporate logo and 26-foot-tall stainless steel ribbon will greet visitors to the exhibit's entrance, where they will be funneled into 10 separate display areas: one for the overall company, one highlighting the company's corporate strategy and one for each of GM's eight brands.

"The message we're trying to build is that GM is a design-driven organization," said Teckla Rhoads, GM director of industrial design and North American design operations. "And auto shows are the perfect venues to highlight the design story."

Each section of the GM display will feature special lighting and effects to highlight the characteristics GM wants consumers to associate with its brands.

The Buick display, for example, aims to convey comfort and luxury with an exhibit built from wood, polished stone tile and gossamer fabric black walls.

The 2007 Cadillac Escalade will sit on a stage made with frosted glass and stainless steel that features running footage of the vehicles in the backdrop, to convey cutting-edge style.

GM will feature five concept vehicles at the core of the setup, as well as an exhibit on the future of vehicle propulsion technology.

"What we're trying to go for is the one-company approach," said Timothy Peters, GM assistant director of auto shows.

Among GM's debuts at the auto show will be a redesigned 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and a new Cadillac CTS.

GM has been working hard to sell its designs, an area where it has fallen flat in the past.

This year may be the first time GM can make a credible case for design leadership, said Erich Merkle, an auto analyst with Grand Rapids-based IRN Inc.

"They wouldn't be able to pull this off showing things like current Malibu or the Grand Am," he said. "GM has come a long way in terms of their product design and the new products coming out are very attractive."

The GM display will be in the northwest corner of Cobo Center and will no longer be adjacent to the Ford Motor Co. space, auto show organizers said Wednesday.

Ford overhauled its display last year, building it around the emblematic Blue Oval logo.

Also new this year: Chinese automaker Changfeng will have a display space in the lower Michigan Hall area. It will be the first time a Chinese carmaker has had a display on the show floor.

Volkswagen gave up its space in Michigan Hall and will be on only one floor this year instead of split between two sites.

You can reach Sharon Terlep at (313) 223-4686 or

© Copyright 2006 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


Post a Comment

<< Home