For many North Texans, Spring Break “Staycation” activities include the Dallas and Fort Worth Zoos, Six Flags Over Texas and the Dallas World Aquarium. But this year, according to Lee J Chapman, president of the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan New Car Dealers Association, the 2013 DFW Auto Show was at the top of the list for tens of thousands auto enthusiasts and families alike. So many, in fact, that Chapman declared this year’s Auto Show “the best ever” for the new Association.
“Our gate was up 10 percent over last year’s, which puts the 2013 attendance at 387,547, “ Chapman said. “Every day, the Show floor was just a sea of parents and more kids than I can ever recall seeing at one of our Auto Shows. We have always described our Show as a family event, and this year that was more evident than ever before. We are thrilled with the success of the DFW Auto Show and how it continues to grow each year.”
Many of the manufacturers even catered toward children this year providing a variety of interactive displays and other activities designed to draw their parents to their exhibits and their vehicles while keeping the kids entertained. MINI showcased a green screen-driving simulator whereby kids, even under the age of 16, could “drive” through the streets of London and receive a link to a video of their experience. Chevrolet had a flipbook photo booth built inside of a 1963 Greenbrier van, while Ford featured the EcoBoost Simulator and the Sim-Zilla Atlas concept Driving Simulator by Mannetron.
“The Ford Atlas Concept simulator debuted at the DFW Auto Show and was a tremendous hit with families. It was a thrill for everyone to see the Atlas Concept, and then have an off-road racing experience, as if they were behind the wheel of this amazing truck,” said Bill Flynn, Ford Lincoln general manager for the Central Market Area.
Also at the 2103 DFW Auto Show was The Kids’ Fun Zone sponsored by the Classic Family of Dealerships that included a bouncy house, inflatable obstacle course, art center, pre-school Grand Prix zone and a 22-foot slide. In addition, parents could register to win a variety of battery powered vehicles for their kiddos sponsored by Line-X; Texas Motorplex and Crew Kids highlighted a race car coloring contest; and the Geico gecko was on hand for pictures.
“This year’s DFW Auto Show was truly a family event,” said Don Herring Jr., 2013 DFW Auto Show chairman. “Our Wednesday and Thursday gate numbers were huge this year, and we believe that was in large part to our event being during Spring Break. Yes the Auto Show is always the perfect venue for serious car shoppers to find their ideal match, but it also was a draw for folks who just wanted a fun day out on the town. And for $5 for kids 6-12 and children under 5 admitted free, it was by far the best entertainment value in the Metroplex.”
But interactive displays, simulators and kid-related activities weren’t the only highlights of the 2013 DFW Auto Show. This year, manufacturers presented more than 20 2014 and beyond models to the public, unprecedented for the DFW Auto Show, Chapman said. 2014 spotlighted vehicles included: Acura RLX Tech Navi, Aston Martin Vanquish, Ford Transit Connect Wagon, Chevrolet Silverado and Impala; GMC Sierra, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar F-TYPE, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Lexus IS, Mazda CX-5 and Mazda6, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Ram ProMaster. Other exhibit highlights included the all-new 2013 SRT Viper and MINI Paceman, the Hot Wheels Chevy Camaro and the Ford F150 Atlas concept vehicle.
Also for the first time ever, all the high end manufacturers were featured at the DFW Auto Show including Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren and Rolls Royce.
“The DFW Auto Show is always a great opportunity for Aston Martin to showcase its brand,” said Kurt Fegraeus, managing partner of Aston Martin of Dallas. “And this year’s Show was exceptional. We had many people stop by our exhibit, those who just wanted to feast their eyes on our beautiful vehicles and those who were interested in possibly purchasing an Aston Martin in the future.”
After Show attendees had the opportunity to compare pricing and styling of a variety of vehicles on the exhibit floor, they could take their research a step further at the Ride & Drive event outside the Dallas Convention Center doors. More than 60 models from Ford, General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC Trucks), Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram, Kia, Mazda and Subaru were available for test drives.
Rounding out the DFW Auto Show experience this year was an appearance by Ronnie and Amy Shirley, Krazy Dave and Bobby from the reality series “Lizard Lick Towing”. Thousands of fans lined up to meet and have their pictures taken with their favorite cast members, as well as have t-shirts, pictures and other items signed.
“We had fans from Houston, San Antonio and Austin come to the DFW Auto Show just to see the cast from ‘Lizard Lick Towing,’ Chapman said. “Ronnie, Amy, Krazy Dave and Bobby certainly added a fun and exciting dimension to the Show this year.”