By January 24, 2014 Read More →

Technology on display at Charleston auto show

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak Guests mingle among the cars during the opening night gala for the 2014 West Virginia International Auto Show, which opens to the public at 10 a.m. Friday and runs through Sunday. Several hundred new vehicle models, along with some 2015 prototypes, are on display as part of the annual show.

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Bob Wojcieszak
Guests mingle among the cars during the opening night gala for the 2014 West Virginia International Auto Show, which opens to the public at 10 a.m. Friday and runs through Sunday. Several hundred new vehicle models, along with some 2015 prototypes, are on display as part of the annual show.

By Jared Hunt

Charleston Daily Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Voice activation, built-in Wi-Fi, high-definition displays, motion sensors and 360-degree cameras. No, these aren’t the features of the latest gadget from Apple, but what you’ll find in new vehicles on display at the 2014 West Virginia International Auto Show.

From the entry-model Ford Focus to the new Mercedes S-Class — starting at “just” $92,900 — today’s cars offer all the benefits of a smartphone, home entertainment center and even a masseuse all on four wheels.

They’ve come a long way from the days when Henry Ford wrote Model-T buyers could get “any colour he wants, so long as it is black.”

“The industry as a whole is just really booming as far as what’s out there for the consumer,” said Ruth Lemmon, president of the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association. “That’s one of the great things about the show, people can come out and check out all the latest things manufacturers have to offer.”

While we’ve yet to get flying cars, automakers have now improved cars to the point that vehicles do everything but drive themselves. (And Detroit is still working on that.)

“They’ve got so much automation now that, except for the driving, they do everything for you,” said Richard Stephens, vice president of Stephens Auto Center and member of the dealers association’s board of directors.

The 120,000 square feet of the Charleston Civic Center are packed with hundreds of new and classic model cars this weekend as part of the 2014 show.

All of the major brands sold in West Virginia are represented at the show. The latest models, and a few pre-production prototypes, will be on display for visitors to hop in and inspect during the three-day show, which opens at 10 a.m. today…

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