Attendance Zooms At Annual San Diego Auto Show
Tens of thousands of people streamed into the San Diego Convention Center on Friday for the region's largest annual car show. Lines stretched along the sidewalk as the car show got underway for second day of its four-day run.
Put together by the region's new car dealers, the auto show offers a way to see, touch and smell the new cars on the market, without the pressure of a salesman looking over a shoulder.
J.P. Paynter, chair of the San Diego International Auto Show, wouldn't share projected attendance numbers, but said pre-show ticket sales ran 30 percent higher than previous years, adding it has been quite a journey for the show.
"This show actually started in the 1920s, so we've come a long way and today this is the largest show that we will ever produce," Paynter said. "We take up the entire floor of the convention center, over 525,000 square feet — plus all our ride and drives going on outside the convention center."
Rides were also available inside. Jeep manufacturers prepared an obstacle course to show off their four-wheel drive fleet. The Center's ventilation system kept engine fumes from interfering with the fun.
Four-and-a-half-year-old Max Murphy enjoyed the spectacle in the life-size car, but it was the smaller toy version that got his blood pumping. Max said he still needs some practice before he's as good as a driver as his dad.
"I don't make the turns very good, but he will make the turns very good," Max said. "It’s part of the difference, but we both like to drive at high speeds.”
Some visitors got their own taste of high speed. A simulator offered the experience of driving over rugged terrain. But the fast lane stayed mostly in the imagination.
For many, the center offered a leisurely stroll. Johnny Moon, from Rancho Bernardo, goes to the show every year.
"I love cars," Moon said. "I kind of grew up with cars — muscle cars from the 60s and 70s."
The auto show runs until Sunday, when kids 12 and under can attend for free.