CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Thousands of car enthusiasts packed into the Charlotte Convention Center over the last four days to experience the 30th annual Charlotte Auto Show.
From SUVs to trucks and luxury sports cars, this year’s auto show in Uptown had a car for everyone, including a Toyota Corolla that retails for $21,000.
“Over $50 million sold and so this is the most popular car in the world actually,” Toyota Product Specialist Quaid McIver said.
The showroom had nearly 200 vehicles on display, from 29 different brands.
“We are just so happy that everybody is taking the time to come down and look at all of these beautiful vehicles,” Charlotte Auto Show executive director Jenn Jackson said.
Jackson says over the last three years, interest in electric vehicles has steadily grown. With more automakers coming out with their own versions, those interested had more options this year than ever before.
“We are definitely interested in an electric vehicle. We try to get good gas mileage now, but we know the change is coming. It needs to come, so we wanted to see what was here,” first-time auto show visitor Laurie Reed said.
On top of sitting and feeling potential buys, this year, visitors could experience them in action.
The show debuted Duke Energy’s EV Test Track.
“People are really curious more than anything. Maybe you are driving an internal combustion engine and you just want to learn more about EVs and to be able to actually sit in one and take one for a test drive. It’s a cool experience,” Jackson said.
The largest car show in Charlotte also happened at a pivotal time in the auto industry.
After six weeks of strikes and summer-long negotiations, the United Auto Workers union overwhelmingly ratified new contracts with Ford and Stellantis, which along with a similar deal with General Motors will raise pay across the industry, force automakers to absorb higher costs and help reshape the auto business as it shifts away from gasoline-fueled vehicles.
“Many of the manufacturers and the dealers worked ahead and planned ahead when they saw it coming, so for the most part it really didn’t affect us too much,” Jacksons said.