Auto Show Visitors Admire Innovation

The Associated Press
Saturday, January 13, 2007; 5:38 PM

DETROIT -- Anna Kileen can't reach the new Hummer H3's pedals or even see over the steering wheel.

But if 9-year-old Anna had her way, a "shiny blue" H3 would sit at her Bloomfield Hills home until she was old enough _ and tall enough _ to drive it.

"I would keep it in my garage until then and just look at it every day," she said, after jumping down from the front seat.

Anna and her family were among the masses of visitors at the North American International Auto Show on Saturday, the first day its 69 exhibits were open to the public.

Dana Nichols' eyes lit up at the new 600 horsepower Dodge Viper SRT10. With an 8.4-liter V-10 engine, Chrysler says the new Viper can go from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds.

"I just get tingles," said Nichols, 21, of Dayton, Ohio.

One of the more popular displays was the new Chevrolet Camaro concept. James Mokszycke, 22, said his dad owns the 1969 version, on which the new Camaro is loosely based.

"He can keep that one," said Mokszycke, of Escanaba. "I'll take this one. It's more for the younger crowd."

Some visitors were in the market for more sensible vehicles.

Ed and Barb Wojcik of Lansing were "test driving" the new Honda Accord. As Barb sat in the front seat, checking out the console and dashboard, Ed perused the list of safety features.

"Safety's most important," he said. "The car is nothing, it's replaceable. People aren't."

Betty Sanford of Kalamazoo was most impressed with Chrysler's PT Cruiser, and said she will probably end up taking one home soon.

"It's a great place to look and compare," she said of the car show. "We'll be back here again."

Carmen Foote, 82, couldn't find a replacement her old Chrysler Town & Country minivan, but said she might settle for the new Nissan Murano SUV.

"There's not a lot here for an old, white-haired lady," said Foote, of St. Clair Shores.

© 2007 The Associated Press