By Denise Williams
The Florida/Georgia Star
Recently on the First Coast offered residents a plethora of automobiles for the auto enthusiast as well as those who are in the market to purchase. Jacksonville has been host to the International Auto show for the past 31 years and the offering this year did not disappoint. This year’s show was sponsored by the Jacksonville Automobile Dealers Association (JADA) and produced by Paragon Group Exhibitions & Services. The Prime Osborn Convention center located 100 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL was transformed from February 17-19, 2017 into the ultimate destination for car fans.
On the 110,000 square feet of the showroom floor, one hundred vehicles were showcased for the attendees to sit in, explore the many features and compare prices. The automobiles showcased were directly from the Detroit Auto Show which featured the upper echelon in automobile technology. Of the 29 car manufacturers present, there were car representatives and dealers in abundance to answer questions and discuss financing. The environment at the show offered potential buyers a no pressure atmosphere for browsing the latest cars. Since technology has now invaded even the automobile, more manufacturers offer “smart” features. Options that were previously considered upgrades are fast becoming standard offerings. Backup cameras, Wifi connections and USB ports for charging electronics were among the popular conveniences that peaked attendees interest. Buyers are seeking a driving experience that is safer, fuel efficient and friendly to the ozone layer of our atmosphere. Dealers are catering to customers, recognizing 2017 is a buyer’s market to enhance the driving experience. In addition, potential buyers were able to learn about the most recent alternative fuel vehicles as well as obtain pricing for the many aftermarket accessories.
The Fiat 124 Spider, Lexus LC, Volvo S90 and the Chrysler Pacifica made their debut in this show. Domestic and international retailers represented their brand at this largest showing of automobiles in Northeast Florida. Participants had the opportunity to test drive vehicles courtesy of Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep RAM and Toyota. The lines to test drive the cars did not abate until the show closed at 9 pm on Friday through Saturday and 6 pm on Sunday evening.
The value of the vehicle inventory presented was in excess of 14 million dollars.