Thursday, April 25, 2024

Automakers rev up for the State Fair of Texas

Inside the showroom halls, new cars are mixed with memorabilia, concept cars and special displays to appeal to auto enthusiasts of all varieties. (Photo: David Wilfong / NDG)

By: David Wilfong, NDG Contributing Writer

The Texas State Fair is officially underway. Fairgoers are already walking the promenades, riding the rides, looking at animals, sampling fried versions of just about anything imaginable, and enjoying a whole host of shows and exhibits.

They are also looking at new cars.

Since 1913 the Texas Auto Show has been a staple attraction of the state fair. All major automakers roll out the red carpet for the public. This is their opportunity to show off all the new models (as well as a few old ones and concept cars which aren’t actually available yet). With this being the State of Texas, manufacturers of pickup trucks put even more effort into the offerings.

“We think this is going to be one of the best auto shows we’ve ever had,” said Jennifer Schuder, senior vice president of marketing for the State Fair of Texas. “Obviously this is a long-standing tradition at the fair. The Texas Auto Show encompasses almost 300,000 square feet of space, two buildings, a huge outdoor Truck Zone and we think it’s one of the best auto shows in the country. Each year, between 2.2 and 2.4 million people attend the great State Fair of Texas, and over 90 percent of them participate in the auto show, and that’s a lot of people coming to see the vehicles here.”

Truck makers are looking for every edge when appealing to the Texas market. Toyota’s connection to Texas includes an investment of more than $3 billion in expanding its production capabilities within the state. 

Upgrades range from GMC’s highly adaptable tailgate, which can be formed from a staircase setup for easy bed access to the standard model for quickly loading cargo. Along those lines, towing capacity is a big bragging point as well. Ford is rolling in a display of its Super Duty lines towing 37,000 pounds, represented by large concrete numbers on a towing bed.

Consumers are looking for fuel-efficiency in these days of a volatile global oil market. Ram and Jeep, both owned by Fiat Chrysler, are pushing their “Ecodiesel” line, which offers a heightened fuel economy. Chevrolet boasted that one of its pickup lines can get as much mileage out of a tank of gas than some available four-door sedans.

The Texas Auto Show at the State Fair of Texas puts a big emphasis on trucks, and automakers pull out all the stops to make their models stand out. (Photo: David Wilfong / NDG)

Then there is the drive for improved technology. The inside cabs of today’s pickup trucks are “smarter” than ever before. Touchscreen displays, Bluetooth compatibility, and enhanced sensors to keep drivers in tune with their vehicle’s performance. Chevrolet also touted its available camera system, which even offers a feature to create an “invisible trailer” for improved towing safety. Nissan has invested heavily in creating enhanced sound performance in its Titan series of trucks.

While the Truck Zone gets the most significant emphasis at the Texas showcase, lovers of the sedan and compact car won’t be disappointed. Within air-conditioned interior show halls, the latest automobiles of all varieties are showcased as well. Whether currently shopping for a new vehicle, or simply wanting to keep an eye on industry trends as a whole, auto enthusiasts is to get an eyeful at Fair Park while the Texas Auto Show lasts. The State Fair of Texas runs for 24 days, concluding on Oct. 20.

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