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Detroit Auto Show will Bring Dozens of Debuts

As U.S. automobile sales rebound, the world’s automakers are betting big on this month’s North American International Auto Show, with nearly 50 products slated to be unveiled at Detroit’s newly renovated Cobo Center.

Most of these will be global reveals — cars and trucks making their worldwide debut.

More than 30 marques will be featured at this year’s show, which is open to the public Jan. 19-27. A number of luxury brands are making their return, too, including Britain’s Jaguar and Land Rover, and Italy’s Ferrari and Maserati.

“(The automakers) are all very excited about the show,” vice chairman Bob Shuman said. “I think they’re all very positive.”

So are the world’s automotive journalists. International registrations for the media days — Jan. 14 and 15 — are up 15 percent over last year, when more than 5,100 auto writers from more than 60 countries attended.

Show organizers are promising some significant changes over last year, including the opening of a new three-story atrium that will be used for high-profile show events.

General Motors Co. is taking the surprising step of creating a separate space for its Cadillac brand away from the rest of the GM lineup. Cadillac’s stand will now be located near Ferrari, Porsche and Volvo.

“It’s mainly just an effort to place Cadillac within the context of our luxury competitors,” said GM spokesman David Caldwell in an email to The News. “That’s better for people attending the show, too — making it easier to compare and shop cars in the same segment or category.”

Ford Motor Co. is planning major changes to its stand, which this year will feature historical re-enactors and vintage vehicles highlighting the automaker’s illustrious past.

“They’re going for a Greenfield Village type of feel,” show chairman Jim Seavitt said.

Chrysler Group LLC is also making upgrades to its stand.

The show will be preceded by a gallery event Jan. 12 at MGM Grand casino featuring high-end marques such as Lamborghini and Ferrari that is only open to holders of American Express’ ultra-elite Centurion Card. But unlike last year, some of those cars also will be on the regular show floor.

The shows organizers say they have sold more tickets to the annual Charity Preview gala than they had this time last year, despite a $50-a-ticket price hike. Last year’s event raised more than $3 million for local nonprofits.

Recently, there’s been concern social media’s proliferation would undermine the importance of auto shows, but organizers say it appears to be driving more people to Cobo.

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