By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–With signs pointing to a recovering economy, the state’s car dealers are putting their best foot forward. Four hundred cars are now in place at the auto show downtown.

Mike Schuh reports on one getting a lot of attention.

At exactly noon, the first of 80,000 people began filling the Convention Center for the Motor Trend Auto Show.

“We’re going to have a strong year in Maryland,” said Peter Kitzmiller, Maryland Auto Dealers Association. “I think new car sales are going to be 12-15 percent, which is a good jump.”

Which brings us to who exactly they’d like to see at the show. Ginger and Rodger Roberts came specifically to look at the brand new Chevy Volt. It plugs in but has a gas motor, too. It gets the equivalent of 93 miles per gallon. The Roberts picked out their last car at this very auto show.

“This is as close as I’ve gotten to it,” said Rodger Roberts. “I came to get some literature.”

Well, WJZ can do better than that. As a TV reporter, Mike Schuh was offered the chance to drive the hard-to-get Chevy. He gave up his chance to the Roberts’.

The Chevy representative drove first.

“When the battery is fully charged, it could afford us up to 50 miles of pure battery driving,” said the Chevy representative.

Then much to his delight—since Baltimore dealers will not get the Chevy Volt for a couple of months– Rodger Roberts took over, a quick and very quiet spin, all on battery power through downtown.

“I was impressed,” he said after the test drive.

“I was very impressed,” said Ginger Roberts.

They haven’t owned a GM car in 30 years, but that ride put the Chevy Volt in their sight.

“It was a very good showing,” Rodger Roberts said. “I’m much more impressed than I thought I would be.”

The Roberts’ had a rare opportunity. Attendees will not be able to come to the show and test drive the vehicles.

Car dealers know that if you come out to sit in these cars, the odds are, if you like it, you’re going to go to the dealer and get a test drive there.

“About 25 percent of the people here are going to buy a car in the next six months,” Kitzmiller said.

Children under six are free. For everybody else, the cost is between $6 and $10 to get in the show. The show runs from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday.


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