Strong weekend for Auto Show, producer says

Posted: January 22, 2013

Attendance at the 2013 Philadelphia Auto Show was strong over the long holiday weekend, with 86,838 visitors through Monday night - the second best three-day start in its 112-year history, show representatives said Tuesday.

Part of that can be credited to the aging of the American fleet and the gradual turnaround of the U.S. economy, said Kevin Mazzucola, executive director of the show's producer, the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia.

"The fact is that the vehicles in everyone's driveway are older than ever," Mazzucola said. "Interest rates are at their lowest, and credit is more available."

This year's show overlaps with the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. And while competing with that top-tier event has left a few models out of the Philadelphia mix, Mazzucola said, the media buzz generated by it actually should help draw visitors to the local event.

The average visitor to the Philadelphia Auto Show stays for about four hours and walks a lot of miles. This year, the show covers more than 15 acres.

Mazzucola's numbers indicate that about 55 percent of visitors are there primarily to shop for a new car; about 30 percent of the 250,000 people who attend in a typical year will buy new cars within the next 12 months.

Yet that suggests that nearly half the visitors don't come to shop for a new car and will not be buying one in the next 12 months, by a two-to-one margin.

And though the emphasis is on the latest the automakers have to offer, plenty of history is on display at the show, too. A new entry in that arena is the Mustang-Camaro Face Off! event.

The longtime-rival muscle cars compete in opposite rooms in the bridge leading into the show's main concourse. Sixteen Mustangs and 14 Camaros depict the models' history through the present day. Visitors can vote on which display they like better; a tally is being kept on the show's Facebook page.

As of noon Tuesday, the iconic cars were in a deadlock, show officials reported, with Mustang ahead by a mere 28 votes. Fans can vote through Sunday; the winning muscle-car club will have $2,500 donated in its name to a local child-related charity of its choice.

For those who prefer cars from even longer ago, historic vehicles are on display from Allentown's Concours d'Elegance of the Eastern United States, the LRA Auto Museum in Bristol, and the Simeone Automotive Museum of Philadelphia.

Among the featured cars are a 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS, a 1948 Tucker Torpedo, a 1963 Series 1 Jaguar XKE Roadster, and a 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Two-Door Convertible.


Contact Scott Sturgis at 215-854-2558 or ssturgis@phillynews.com.

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