5 Tips for Surviving the 2013 Detroit Auto Show (Plus a Giveaway!)

Cosmin Ghiurau, a native Metro-Detroiter who began his career at General Motors, returned to his roots this week to get a first look at what’s happening at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Below he fills us in on his experience and shares tips for navigating the show floor.

Will you be attending NAIAS this year? See the bottom of this post for your chance to win free tickets to the show!

The beginning of the year marks a magical time for Michigan and the Motor City of Detroit. It is a crowning time where a diverse set of people come together to converge on an emotional and aspirational product, the automobile. A moment where auto manufacturers, suppliers, press, both domestic and international coalesce with the true customer, you and I, to share with us their finest product, technology and dreams to come.

As someone that has lived almost their entire life in the Metro-Detroit area and for the past few years have relocated to the Dallas area, it is always refreshing to get an opportunity to come back to my home State of Michigan and especially the Metro-Detroit area. It is amazing to see the revitalization of the Detroit area during the past couple of years and how the automotive industry is seeing great signs of a tremendous comeback. The 2013 North American International Auto Show is evidence of this turnaround as it is laden with amazing new products with a clear focus on electrification of cars and a great deal of emphasis on smaller cars that fit the lifestyle of families.

Having an opportunity to be part of the Preview Week for the first time, it was great to get up close and personal with many of the new products, designers, engineers, and stories behind many vehicles. No matter what brand your loyalty is, this Auto Show will not disappoint. With an Auto Show so impressive, there were a few things along the way that I learned which helped me navigate and absorb as much as possible from every exhibit. Hopefully the following tips will help you and everyone that attends this Auto Show to fully experience the products that are on display.

To start things off, one thing is clear. Make sure to dedicate at least 6-8 hours at the Auto Show. Depending on your pace, this is a safe time to ensure you are able to take advantage of all that the Auto Show has to offer.

Tip 1 – Clothing

Before heading out to Cobo Hall, depending on the weather make sure you are prepared to leave behind some clothes at the coat check or in your car. With the combination of the cold January days in Michigan together with the long walk through the show floor, some people fail to realize is that it really requires lighter clothing.

As mentioned earlier, if you will be there for 6-8 hours, comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Most exhibits and walkways have carpeting to ease the feet; however nothing will replace comfortable shoes. While you are there, a trend is to bring your wearable technology such as the Nike Fuel band or FitBit products. This way you can measure your effort as well.

Tip 2 – The route

Once you enter the Auto Show make sure you grab a map of the floor space. Many people will first go to their favorite brand or the exotic cars that are there. Whatever the first stop is, make sure to map out the exhibits you plan to attend. If you don’t have a map, you will realize that you are going in circles really fast. One thing I noticed about this year’s Auto Show is that the brands are consolidated and the walk ways are well placed to go on a circle route and end up in the middle with the exotic and performance cars.

Tip 3 – The Food

If you will be there for most of the day, water is important to have with you at all times. There should be water vending machines throughout Cobo Hall and at concession stands. The food is adequate for this type of event, so be planned to have an appetite after all of the walking. Once again, water is extremely important so make sure to come prepared to buy enough.

Tip 4 – Your Tech

Auto Shows are a perfect opportunity to bring out your camera and video camera to capture memories. Make sure you are courteous to others as they take photos and more than likely you will get many requests to take a photo for someone. You will see DSLR Cameras, point and shoot cameras, and more and more people just using their smart phone camera.

One element I cannot stress enough is to make sure that you have a portable battery charger. Outlets are few and far in between, so I wouldn’t rely on them. For smart phones a portable battery charger is critical. These chargers can charge a smart phone battery to full capacity multiple times over. So make sure prior to arriving at the Auto Show you stop by a local electronic retailer to pick one up. Taking all of the photos and videos, will be a drain on your smart phone. As in most show floors carrier reception is spotty so this will add additional drain on the battery. A perfect companion is the portable battery charger. It is worth every penny.

Tip 5 – Pace yourself

As a final tip, make sure to pace yourself. If you are like me and want to spend a little extra time in the exhibit of your favorite brand or talking to representatives and inquiring about availability and price, pace yourself. Stop and rest. Before you know it you are walking for a few hours and you become exhausted to the point of missing out on a lot of great vehicles. Follow your route that you planned. Stay hydrated. Take time with the products.

To wrap things up, the 2013 North American Auto Show is a tradition for many in the Detroit Metro area and the entire region. It is a place where parents and kids can experience their dream cars. This Auto Show will not disappoint. Especially if you can survive it with these helpful tips and create memories for yourself and family. It truly is a unique Michigan experience that is open to all.

Mr. Ghiurau has a unique background in Business, Marketing and Technology with a Creative acumen. He is a native Metro-Detroiter who began his career in the Styling Studios at General Motors in Warren after finishing at College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He founded a Troy, Michigan based business, and has led digital and social media marketing for agencies and Fortune 500 brands. Learn more at cosguru.com or follow him on Twitter at @cosguru.

Do you want to score free tickets to NAIAS in Detroit? Simply tell us in the comments section below why you want to go to the Auto Show and which 3 people you would take with you. We’ll then select one lucky winner at random to win four tickets to the show. To be eligible, simply submit your comments (along with your email address) by this Thursday, January 17th at 11:59 p.m. EST. We’ll contact the winner Friday morning using the email address provided (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody). UPDATE: This contest has ended. The winner has been selected and contacted via email with their prize. Thank you everyone for the comments!

  • DarleneYager

    I have never been to a NAIAS, but would love to check one out. I am very disheartened with the loss Detroit has taken losing so many auto plants, but glad they are not gone altogether. I’m excited about all of the new cars that might be coming out.

    My son joined the Navy and has been away from us for much too long but will be back home just in time for the car show. He met a girl in Virginia who happens to love cars too. She will be coming up to Michigan to visit during the same time that the NAIAS will be going on.

    My son and his girlfriend would be two of the people I would want to bring to the car show, my husband would be 3 but I would love to bring my daughter and her family as well. She has two children  ages 4 and 5, and a fiance.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win the tickets. :)

  • slaumartins

    I’m hoping to the auto show–one way or another!–on the last day, January 27, a.k.a my birthday. I’m not your typical car fanatic but I do love and appreciate a beautiful creation when it’s put in front of me. When I was 13 living in Southern California it was no teen idol or rock band I had on my wall; I had on my dresser framed pictures of a 1964 Jaguar XE and some British kit car roadster. I’m taking my husband and daughter Yara, 3, and son Paulo, 8. I like how my children will see what they probably consider an ‘ordinary’ everyday object transformed in their minds into works of art. I’m looking forward to seeing the different manifestations of The Automobile and the smells and touches of them.

  • PatGondert

    I have always enjoyed going to the Detroit Auto Show with my family and friends. One of our friends was a car model so we always got at least one glamorous person in the many car photos taken. This year money is tight, but I would love the chance to take my sister Elizabeth, my daughter, Mary and her friend Anthony.  We enjoy taking photos of the cars we dream about, and plan to own someday soon. I love looking at the luxury cars and anticipating which one I will buy when I hit the lottery. It is fun to feel the excitement and energy the crowd puts out. It shows off Detroit and it’s people at their best and we would love to be part of it.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win tickets.

  • dtaylor98

    I have not been to the auto show in several years and I would like to see the new cars.  I’d take my husband, my daughter, and probably one of my husband’s friends.

  • CarolynNovingerUpton

    I would like to go to the Auto Show with my husband and 2 sons!  We have not gone in several years and it was a nice family tradition for awhile.  I used to get discounted or free tickets.  So put me in the drawing!!  Free is the best price of all!

    Carolyn

  • MaryAnastasia

    I’d love to take my boyfriend, my mother and my aunt, we always try to go to the auto show every year but this year money is really tight and it’s looking like we won’t be able to go. I love seeing all the new cars, especially the reimaginations of classic cars like the Stingray. It’s one of my favorite yearly traditions that I’d love to keep up!

  • TonyaCottrell

    I would love to take my husand, sister and brother in law.  I am from Detroit, born and raised.  I moved to Florida where I met my husband.  He is a HUGE car enthusiast and has NEVER been to the Detoit Auto Show!!  Boy has he missed out!   My sister and brother have never had a chance to go due to financial reasons.  Since we would be flying to MI so see the show, getting free tickets would be major bonus since we wouldn’t have the added expense!      Fingers crossed!!!

  • aaronstan16

    Going to the auto show this year would be a great opportunity for me to take my friend, as his birthday is tomorrow. He expressed interest in going and it would be awesome, as I don’t see him often. I would bring him, his girlfriend, and my own girlfriend.

  • RebeccaChicoine

    I have only been to the NAIAS once with my dad a long time ago and it was a great experience. I would love to be able to take him again this year. My boyfriend and I are also currently looking for new cars and this would be a great opportunity to look at many cars in one place. I am also in Dental School and this would be a nice break from studying. I would bring my dad, boyfriend and another friend. My e-mail is rchicoin@umich.edu

  • rach_3123

    I’ve never been to the NAIAS as well as my mother. I would love to take her as well as my sister, and boyfriend. He is from the Detroit area originally, residing in Grand Rapids now. My mom, sister, & I live in GR as well so it’d be a great bonding experience. Plus, the added bonus is we’d make it a mini-vacation/get-a-way while drooling over the amazing cars! We would definitely make it a great trip & would have to stop by the MGM & fingers crossed our luck continues ;)

  • JasD

    I would take my family because I have always just watched coverage on television.

  • RussellThornton

    1.) I would like to see the New Technology in many of the Vehicles.
    2.) I would like to compare the Leg Room to the different vehicles.
    3.) To check out the Renovations to Cobo Hall!!

  • AmandaHernandez

    I would love to go because my husband loves cars and we have never been before. Also, I would take my husband, sister, brother and I.

    achernandez711@yahoo.com

  • R. Kamaria

    I haven’t been to the Auto Show since 2007 and would love to take my new boyfriend and his children out for a family friendly activity in the D.

  • R. Kamaria

    I haven’t been to the Auto Show since 2007 and would love to take my new boyfriend and his children out for a family friendly activity in the D.- rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.com

  • reneem1229

    I would love to go  and take my three teenager daughters!!! Lived near Detroit all my life and have never been. Thanks so much for the chance.

  • BarbNelson

    Would love to take husband and 2 kids to auto show. Have never been to Detroit auto show and hear its fantastic! My daughter will be graduating from college and needs a car. No extra money due to injury and would love a family outing.

  • MccartBrenda

    Hello everyone, i want to use this great means to thank dr Aruvi the mouth peace of the greatest temple of our time the freemercifultemple for bringing my wife and children back to me after 5years of divorce . i was really downcast and every hard earn money and property i have long worked for went down the drain because of the divorce problems.i told a friend of my this my problem and he told me to contact freemercifultemplefor help. i do not believe in this, but i have to try my best it. i contacted him and he told me thing i have to do, and also he cast a spell of return back of love for me.after 1 week my divorce wife who never called me for 5 years called me on that day and ask me that we should see, it was like a dream to me, we meet and she told me that she still love me and want us to come back together again. and also i should forgive her for all she had done to me. it was the love spell i cast on her that make her come back to me, and also my family are now back to me finally and for ever. i want you to contact dr aruvi for the return of your love or ex boyfriend, girlfriend husband or wife back and he will bring them back to you. his email address is freemercifultemple@yahoo.com

  • linda leonard

    The auto show has always been a big annual event for my boys and me, but due to the economy we have had to cut back on extra spending. The look on their faces when we would walk into that big show room was awesome!!
    One year my son told one of the door attendants as we were leaving if they could put the charger car in a box for him and send it to his house when the show was over. His love for cars has enable him to learn to read at an amazing speed. That makes me very proud.