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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


It’s showtime

Each February in Spokane, potential buyers, car buffs and those simply seeking that new car smell are lured to the Spokane County Fair and Expo center.  There, they’ll get to view, sit in and drive new vehicles from American and foreign manufacturers.

A year of new car buying is kicked off mid-January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  After that, similar shows occur across the country like the one coming up in Spokane February 9th, 10th and 11th.

The Detroit show serves an introduction to manufacturer trends and offerings for 2018 and foreshadows what local dealers will be featuring in Spokane.  Along with Ford’s pace-setting F-series pickups, the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 form a collection of trucks that showcase some of the most sophisticated technologies each manufacturer has in its arsenal.

Concept cars like Lexus’ LF-1 Limitless and Infiniti’s Q Inspiration are shown in Detroit, hinting at designs coming in the near future.  Interest is fueled for upcoming new model availability, like the revival of Ford’s Ranger and Bronco for 2019 and 2020.  News of China’s Guangzhou Automotive Group making firm plans to enter the United States market in 2019 was confirmed with their presence in Detroit.  For movie-car followers, a new tribute version of the famous “Bullitt” Mustang that battled a Dodge Charger in an iconic chase in the 1968 movie of the same name (Bullitt).  The Detroit display even showcased the recently-found-intact original Mustang that was driven by Steve McQueen in the movie.

Such bonus features are common at new car shows, such as the appearance of Batman, the Batmobile and a NASCAR simulator car scheduled for the Spokane show.

Mainly, though, Spokane attendees will marvel at the design, colors and features of the 2018 product lineups.  The systems being developed for self-driving cars are now commonly appearing in new models.  Adaptive cruise control, automatic lane departure warning, automatic lane keeping (with steering assist) automatic braking, automatic parking and sign recognition are just a few autonomous features you can buy on new cars now.

The 2018 Spokane Show theme is “Super Cars with Super Powers.”  With the computerization, driver assist, mechanical technology and lightweight materials incorporated into new models, that theme has merit.

While not yet considered mainstream, electric and hybrid (gas/electric) vehicles are slowly making their way into the mix, with the future looking very bright for both.

Our show is not as spectacular as Detroit’s, but with an abundance of styled metal, rubber, leather, and shiny paint, it stirs the marketplace with excitement nonetheless.  My experience tells me that the car-buying bug will bite both attendees and non-attendees of this local event. 

The Spokane show will feature dozens of models representing most of the makes for sale here.  It will be evident that whatever your needs and wants may be — SUV, crossover, luxury sport, economy, truck or hot rod — something will fit, as the manufacturers have all the bases covered, causing me and others to feel like kids in a candy store at the annual event.

Local Spokane dealers sponsor the show.  Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for senior/active military, and free for kids under 12.  A ticket is good for all three days.

So, if you are in the market or even just “kicking tires,” the glitz of a new car show promises to be an effective cure for the doldrums of winter.

Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at