Hundreds of people flocked to the annual Arizona International Auto Show Saturday, and more were expected Sunday. It’s become a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for many families.
Joan Gonzalez, 21, loves cars. He drives them for a living. When he heard about the Arizona International Auto Show, he decided to go see his dream car – a new Toyota sports car called the 86. Gonzalez is from Puerto Rico and has only been in Arizona for a few months. He works at valet parking at Hyatt Regency Phoenix and Saturday was his first time attending the show.
“It’s friendly. I like it, I love it, and at the same time it’s not crowded, so it’s comfortable,” Gonzalez said. “It’s overall a pretty fun time.”
Toyota was among 35 different manufacturers showing off more than 500 of the newest and most cutting-edge vehicles at the Phoenix Convention Center. Sunday is Family Day – all children age 12 and under are free with an adult. Adult admission is $11, or $7 for seniors and military personnel. The show is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Knox Ramse with the Maricopa County-based Valley Auto Dealers Association said there are two types of shows,one for media and one for consumers. He said the Arizona International Auto Show is a consumer show because people can test drive, sit in the cars, ask questions and take pictures.
“About 45 percent of our show guests have said that they intend to buy or lease a vehicle within the next year,” Ramsey said.
The show is a family environment with food and games provided by some of the auto makers. There is some seating, but visitors should expect to spend a lot of time walking. Comfortable shoes are a must. And be prepared to take pictures and maybe fall in love with the new Porsche Cayman or the new 4-cylinder Ford Mustang EcoBoost.
And the show offers more than just sports cars. The new Nissan Warrior Concept sits on 37- inch-tall off-road tires and 1- inch wheels with long-travel suspension. And the Ford Raptor ran the Baja 1000 last weekend with no modifications, and then drove 400 miles to Phoenix so it could be displayed at the show.
Josh Dockery, 46, of Gilbert, enjoys coming to the show with his wife.
“We’ve been here before, but we like coming bac,” he said. “There’s a lot of cool new stuff.”