Vehicles are on display at a previous OC International Auto Show. Car enthusiats and shoppers will be able to get in various vehicles and even test drive several. The show will be held again at the Anaheim Convention Center Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. (File photo by H. Lorren Au Jr.,Orange County Register/SCNG)
More new cars are sold in Orange County than in 23 states.
It’s that market that leads auto manufacturers to wheel out their latest concept cars and teched-out displays for the annual OC International Auto Show, organizers said.
Some 600 of the newest model cars, trucks, commercial vehicles and alternative fuel options will be on display at the Anaheim Convention Center over four days starting Thursday, Sept. 28. More than 100 cars can be taken for a spin.
“The manufactures really do things in a first-class manner,” said John Sackrison, executive director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association and director of the auto show. “We have some unique things to our show that are not offered at other shows.”
The auto show partners with several of Orange County’s luxury dealers to offer an “exotics gallery” featuring the latest from Bentley, Ferrari, McLaren and other high-end automakers.
“Those are vehicles you can really only see at our show,” Sackrison said. “Those are always kind of showstoppers. Not everyone, including myself, get to see those every day.”
A partnership with Hot Rod Magazine will fill any needs for muscle under the hood. A fast-growing selection of customized trucks and vans will offer options for contractors and others needing commercial vehicles.
Nissan, Jeep and Genesis plan to bring their cars of the future, giving an insider’s look at concepts before they ever see a productions line.
Car shoppers, or just enthusiasts, will be able to take a look at new models from 35 manufacturers – 15 of which will offer test drives either out on the city streets or on inside tracks.
A professional driver will take visitors on a test drive of Jeeps, climbing an 18-foot, 35-degree hill and three-wheeling over a faux trail pass and across fallen logs.
Sackrison said even a test-driving veteran like himself can’t help but call Jeep’s off-road track set up inside the Convention Center “exhilarating.”
“This is an exciting ride, it feels like a roller coaster,” he said.
Manufacturers aren’t just relying on the sexy curve of a hood or the gleam of chrome under spotlights to attract interest. Several will set up driving simulators and enthusiasts can explore the Jaguar I-Pace concept SUV through an interactive virtual-reality experience.
“Manufacturers spend millions and millions of dollars to create these exhibits,” Sackrison said. “It makes for a great experience for the guests of the auto show.”
The auto show isn’t intended to be a sales floor, but a survey found 51 percent of visitors will buy a car within a year, Sackrison said, adding 79 percent said the show influenced or changed their purchase.
The show, which grew in floor space by 25 percent last year, is the largest public event held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Organizers do not release attendance figures.
“This show is not designed just for those who are shopping for cars,” Sackrison said. “It really makes for a fun day out.”
If you go
When: 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28; noon to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1
Where: Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave.
Cost: $12 for those 13 and older, $10 for seniors and military, children are free
The OC International Auto Show has plenty for car enthusiasts, but organizers said those without driver’s licenses won’t be left bored sitting on the curb.
Here’s a few things that should entertain families:
- The California Highway Patrol will have officers and the department’s signature Dodge Charger on site Thursday-Saturday.
- Kids can search the auto show floor in an interactive scavenger hunt with a prize at the end.
- It is never too early to try out an alternative-fuel ride; kids can test drive electric cars on a mini track.
- Kids love selfies and along with the gleaming cars to pose with, selfie stations are planned.