Upcoming Auto Shows Slated in Various Cities

Article excerpt

DETROIT (AP) _ The North American International Auto Show, part auto expo, part media extravaganza, opens here next week, giving thousands of people their first look at automakers' new models.

The Detroit show, along with similar exhibits in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, is the auto industry's showcase for its new cars and trucks. But before the public gets in, thousands of reporters will preview the show today through Thursday.

"We really run two shows: an international show for the auto press and a regional show," said Dan Hayes, executive director of the Detroit Automobile Dealers Association, which organizes the show.

The Detroit expo is a big deal for the media. Show officials say last year's press badge tally was nearly 2,500, including 28 TV networks, who listened or took photos as executives regaled them with hors d'oeuvres, technical talk and even a few sound bites.

If the three days of press conferences don't generate enough news, next Friday provides another chance. The U.S. Big Three chief executives _ Jack Smith of General Motors Corp., Harold Poling of Ford Motor Co., and Robert Eaton of Chrysler Corp. _ will appear at the Economic Club of Detroit.

The curious likely will come out to see Smith and Eaton, who are just weeks into their new jobs. Smith became CEO at the leading automaker in November; Eaton officially takes over at Chrysler this Friday.

Last year, Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca used the Economic Club as a forum for a colorful and sometimes profane attack on Japan's trade policy.

Eaton also will give the keynote address at the Automotive News World Congress _ three days of speeches from the industry's movers and shakers _ which opens Jan. 10.

For Wall Street analysts, whose opinions help determine the financial regard for the auto companies, the show is a chance to gauge how well the car and truck makers are doing, and will do in the future. …